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Game Guys review - Dust: An Elysian Tail

11:39 AM, Aug 23, 2012   |    comments
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  • 'Dust: An Elysian Tail' on XBLA.
  • 'Dust: An Elysian Tail' on XBLA.
  • 'Dust: An Elysian Tail' on XBLA.
  • 'Dust: An Elysian Tail' on XBLA.
  • 'Dust: An Elysian Tail' on XBLA.
    

There are few who would argue that the hey-day of the action/platformer has long past, but that doesn't mean that developers can't try to create a new one that might be held in the regards of "Metroidvania" games of the past.  Dust: An Elysian Tail, an Xbox LIVE Arcade title from indie developer Humble Hearts, is one of those titles.

A side-scrolling 2D game, Dust is certainly not the status-quo for Xbox 360 games as it feels nostalgically like something that may had been found on a gaming console a couple of generations old.  The game, however, doesn't seem old at all.  Its cartoonish visuals are crisp, clean, and well-animated (though some might not dig the whole "furry" thing) and the game features above-average voice over work.  Furthermore, it entails modern game concepts such as a leveling up system that allows players to upgrade one of four attributes each time and a crafting system where accessories and weapon upgrades can be created from blueprints dropped at random by enemies.

Controls in Dust are responsive and easy to learn.  The mysterious protagonist from whom the game is named has a number of different maneuvers that can easy be executed ranging from simple attacks to more advanced ones.  Fidget, his de-facto partner, is also thrown in the mix with not only a weak projectile attack of her own, but also the ability to mix it with a special attack of Dust's; thus creating a rather impressive and useful combo.

Beyond combat is exploration.  While Dust may seem like a simple platform jumper at first, players realize as they go deeper and deeper into the game that there is much more to it.  First of all, there are a number of treasure chests to be found and unlocked (via a simple matching game) that contain helpful items, materials, and gold.  There are also a number of areas not immediately accessible by the player until later in the game when Dust has the correct key or ability.  Finally, the game's individual quest system provides that extra little encouragement for players to do more than just simply play through.

While side-scrolling action/platformers might seem like an archaic style of video game by today's standards, Dust: An Elysian Tail proves not only that the "Metroidvania" game isn't dead on home console, it can be one of the better options available.

Final Game Guys grade: A

(Microsoft provided a copy of this game for review.)

News10/KXTV

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