Microsoft had their regularly scheduled Summer of Arcade again this year. The difference this year being that they gave you five games instead of three. One of these games was Dust: An Elysian Tail, a side scrolling platforming action game. With old school mechanics can this game keep up to today’s standards of gaming? Read on to find out.
Again, this review is going into a different style than the usual this being an arcade game. Dust: An Elysian Tail revolves around a character named Dust, a blue fox like creature. He awakens in a forest without knowledge of who he is or what he was doing. A sword calls out to him and actually floats towards him, saying that they pretty much need to go on a quest, simple fantasy stuff. A small flying creature named Fidget comes after the sword saying that it’s her peoples responsibility to protect the sword, so she become your snarky sidekick. She’s sarcastic and even breaks the fourth wall on a regular basis. For instance there is even a moment when you have to hunt down sheep and when you pick one up it goes into your “pocket” and Fidget freaks out about how you fit a sheep into your pocket; great stuff.
Dust and Fidget travel around the land doing quests and trying to regain Dust’s memory. The story is one that we’ve heard before, but the way it unravels is interesting and keeps you going. The story is also told through animated characters and models which look almost hand drawn. The entire game actually looks hand drawn and the world feels like something I haven’t seen in a game in a very long time. The world feels alive and very animated and they change just enough to give you something new to look at on a regular enough basis.
The music is also notable, not something that you’re going to rave to your friends about, but another one of those situations where the game’s music really draws you into the game. The sound effects are also satisfying, every slice and swipe sounds big and powerful. The big bonus to this game is the fact that all the characters are voiced, which is awesome considering this is a fifteen dollar XBLA game. The voices are great too, with tons of different accents and seriously good actors.
Lastly you have the action in the game, the meat and potatoes. It’s your basic hack and slash platformer. It has some nice leveling features, gain XP by doing combos and once you level you can add stats to attack, defence, Fidget, and other stats. You can collect things to craft items or to complete quests, and Dust has deep pockets. So while the combat is simple, although very pretty, there is some depth to this game.
So is this game worth the fifteen dollars that they charge on the Xbox Live Store? To me yes. The game is lengthy and the story is dynamic enough to keep me going. It’s beautiful to look at and play. This was the one game on the sale that I wasn’t hesitant to buy and if you haven’t picked this game up yet you really should.