Excerpt: Let’s be honest about this. Reviewing something like Dust: An Elysian Tail should be a pain in the neck. Owing to the fact that it has been designed and developed largely by one man – a chap named Dean Dodrill – and has taken more than three years to get off the ground, any criticisms levelled against it are naturally going to seem like sour grapes. “I’d like to see you do something that good all by yourself.” will be the retort.
Summary: It has been a long, long time since Dust: An Elysian Tail first made itself known to the world. Simultaneously admired for its flowing cartoon animation and written off for being "that game for furries," Dean Dodrill's labor of love surprised many due to the fact that it was largely a one-man effort, yet looked like it was made by a full studio. Since 2009, the game has only gotten more impressive, and it's finally ready for public consumption.
Conclusion: NOTE: As of this review, player has achieved full completion in-game but is missing two achievements, both of which require a second playthrough. This note will be removed and review edited, if this changes and thoughts change over second playthrough. Note that all achievements can be obtained on a single playthrough if difficult setting is picked at start although a save file will need to be used at one decision point.
Excerpt: Dust has amnesia, an unfortunate occurrence for any man-dog hybrid but one that happens surprisingly often in the dangerous world of fictional heroes. He is soon assailed by a flying cat (a Nimbat) and a talking sword, before being told that he has to do something - save villagers, the world, baby animals, stuff like that - by a talking sword.
Excerpt: Dust has a bit of a problem. Not only does he not remember who he is and where he belongs, but his only guides to the truth are an ancient talking sword called ‘Ahrah’ and its slightly fickle, slightly strange and slightly aggressive guardian, Fidget the Nimbat (a Nimbat is a flying, talking squirrel type animal).
Excerpt: The first thing you’ll notice about Dust: An Elysian Tail is how strikingly rendered its world is. Few games so effortlessly evoke the dreamy texture of an animated film. The next thing that’ll jump out at you is just how effusive its cast of anthropomorphic animals is. All those beautiful sets would go to waste without an earnest attempt at cartoon pathos, after all, and Dust’s menagerie of talking beasts gives it their all. None more than Dust himself.
Excerpt: Amnesia: The most convenient of plot devices. Our hero is curled up on the green woodland floor. Dazzling, hand drawn flowers dance in the background as a cool wind swims between the ancient oak trees. A talking, mouth-less sword, awakens him, claiming ntw to know why it has to bring him back from his slumber, but it’s clear that this is the foreshadowing of a great event to come.
Excerpt: Sometimes when we embark on a journey, we often don't know what we may be getting ourselves into. Whether it's a journey to places unknown or one of self-discovery, people often question their own motivations when they take a voyage into realms of the past. Through soul-searching, we find bittersweet truths about ourselves that sometimes may be difficult to accept.
Summary: Arguably the best of this year's crop of Summer of Arcade games. Dust is a visually stunning love letter to gaming's past and a great Metroidvania game in its own right, and you shouldn't hesitate to pick it up.
Summary: Dust: An Elysian Tail is inconsistent, though the good tends to outweigh the bad. Missteps aside, the game is genuinely fun, and at the very least worth a try via demo. If nothing else, Dust offers an intriguing promise of things to come: if Mr. Dodrill could craft a game like this on his own, what could he accomplish with more?
Pros: Fluid, silky animation and vivid graphics bring an exceptional world to life, Combat system is simple, yet frenetic and fun, RPG elements are well-integrated and offer additional depth
Cons: Lack of depth can become repetitive near the end of the game, Plotting is uneven, and becomes a bit too heavy-handed, Certain artistic elements are of drastically lower quality than the rest of the game