Dust: An Elysian Tail throws you into a world filled with wonder and questions and challenges you to explore every nook and cranny.
The game follows the story of a mysterious character named Dust, a warrior suffering from amnesia. He is woken up by Fidget, a talking flying cat, and by his side is a The Blad of Ahrah, a magical sword that also moonlights as a guide. Dust cannot recall who he is nor how he got where he finds himself. With Fidget and Ahrah by his side he sets out to uncover the truth.
As soon as Dust sets off on his journey he needs to put Ahrah to the test. He finds out that he is not just skilled with a blade, but rather a master swordsman. Combat is one of the game’s best most prolific achievements. Combining simple button controls with flashy moves makes for a lot of fun. A hit counter adds up, earning you more experience, and when you get your first 1000 hit count you’re hooked.
Dust combines exhilarating 2D combat with RPG elements. Earning levels means spending skill gems on one of four skills, increasing damage, magical damage, health or defence. Simple sword play combines with Fidgets magical attacks to deal devastating damage. Launching a simple projectile and combining it with Dust’s tornado-like attack results in a shower of magic bolts, flashes of lightning and walls of fire.
The flashy combat is complimented with the beautifully drawn world that reacts to your combo’s. You can’t help but awe at some of the scenes you come across. From dark caves filled with shining mushrooms to luscious forests, sunlight filtering through tress, Dust will keep your fingers and eyes busy. The brilliant environmental design makes it all the more sad to see the bland and uninspired character design. Characters look clichéd with the accompanying voices adding to the stereotype the developer. The butch jock sound like a dumb and the flamboyant man sounds girlish.
Despite the minor character annoyances, the important characters shine! Dust is an intriguing character, drawing you in with his meanderings, slowly exposing to you his nature while searching for it himself. You will fall in love with Fidget and learn to value Ahrah’s advice. You will not be intrigued by story immediately, but once you get halfway through you won’t be able to stop yourself: you will want to know Dust’s past just as much as he does.
As you progress through the game you will unlock new abilities which will allow you to scale the previously unscalable mountain side, allowing for further exploration. When you no longer find the items you pick up satisfactory you can craft your own. You have a smith on speed-dial (soon as you find the appropriate item) and she helps you craft armour, weapons and jewellery wherever you are in the world. As you slay monsters they drop crafting items. When you sell this item to a vendor it is catalogued and they will generate stock every in-game day. Gone are the days of playing an area over-and-over until you have enough ingredients for that awesome suit of armour.
Dust: An Elysian Tail provides an entertaining story with intriguing characters, but it truly shines in its combat.