It’s time to look at another Limited Run game. The company’s been on a roll with their releases. Asdivine Hearts has probably been my favorite thus far and even holds its own against most AAA rpgs. Dust certainly ranks very highly as well though as it mixes the classic 2D platforming with some good sword gameplay. Throw in a solid plot and you’ve got a winner.
The game’s premise revolves around a reign of tyranny that has enveloped the planet. Moonbloods are hunted by the evil empire across the planet and most have been exterminated. That’s where the main character steps in. He has complete amnesia and is unsure of how he got here. Based on his uniform it seems like he was a member of the villains but of course he can’t know for sure. This character meets up with someone named Fidget who decides to call him dust. Dust then meets up with a legendary sword that can talk and seems to know more than he lets on. Together with his new companions, Dust sets out to find the answer to his past as well as to stop the empire. Can he pull this off?
Right away you’ll see how there is a lot of heart put into the game. We have full voice acting and even some hand drawn cutscenes which was pretty cool. Additionally the graphics were pretty solid throughout the game as well. The character designs are on point and the levels are all very striking. There’s a good amount of variety to be found here. If anything, it’ll make you miss the minor characters like the first boss who had an awesome design but of course did not appear after that. The music throughout the game is also pretty nice. While the themes may not be ones that you’ll automatically remember as you finish the title, they’re all pretty original and fit in with the gameplay.
Dust isn’t afraid to be an emotional game either. Most of the bosses are characters who are being mind controlled by the main villain. Alas, it is tough to break this spell and Dust doesn’t even know about it at first so there is at least one casualty. The ending is also pretty intense and I’d say it wraps things up quite well. I’d certainly be down for a sequel. There’s definitely a lot more that can be done in this universe even if the empire plot wouldn’t return.
Meanwhile the character cast is strong. As I mentioned, the one shot bosses are pretty solid. Then you have Dust who is pretty similar to Link. He may not remember his past but that doesn’t stop him from jumping in to try and help everyone else out. He’s very skilled with a blade and his design is good. Fidget is not quite as exciting as the other characters, but she’s actually helpful which is good. For the little sidekicks like herself, the goal is always to try and have them support the main leads. That means Fidget should be strong enough to be helpful while still being weak enough where she doesn’t overshadow Dust. The game achieves the balance well. If anything the sword is the weak link here. He basically knew everything from the start, but plays dumb for the duration of the game. I question how he knew everything and I could see that being a plot for the next title. He probably has some dark secrets of his own.
The main villain is also pretty decent. His name is General Gaius and he leads his fleet to conquer the world. The game plays him up to be a bit more sympathetic than you might expect, but at the end of the day he’s definitely still a villain. He’s the kind of antagonist who doesn’t really see himself as being evil, but evidently he stepped down the wrong path at some point. The final boss fight is definitely a challenging one as he keeps on getting up no matter how many times you put him down. I had to go back and train for a while although I probably overdid it because when I came back he was a breeze. It’s why grinding pays off in these titles.
As for the gameplay, I’ve already talked a bit about it. Dust really shines with how fast paced the gameplay is. You can really choose how to approach a match. You can run into the enemies and go for big combos or you can blast them from afar. The larger the combo the more exp you get though so try not to get hit. Obtaining EXP is pretty easy here so if you’re ever stuck just go back to fighting minions for a while and then you’ll be fine. The toughest part is deciding which power ups to go for. The game does force you to keep the stats within reach of each other but you still have some control from within. I personally liked upgrading attack the most as beating enemies quickly is the best, but of course that does hurt your combo chances so it’s a double edged sword.
The main story will take you around 7 hours so it’s a pretty reasonable length. There are also a lot of side missions you can do and you’re certainly welcome to continue leveling up your character as well. There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here after the initial adventure, but if you did everything on the way to the ending then that should buy you a few extra hours. You’ll probably be extremely overpowered by the end if you get the best equipment and max out the level.
Overall, Dust is definitely a very fun game. I would definitely like to see more 2D platformers where you use a sword instead of the classic buster. This one shows how you can do it effectively. The story was also pretty engaging and having voice acting always helps push the title into the next level. If you haven’t played this game yet then I definitely recommend changing that. It’s a title that I would recommend to any and all gamers. You just don’t want to miss out on this one. It’s another big hit for the Indie circuit. I’ve had pretty positive experiences with them so far and expect that to continue.