Game stirs up the Dust

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH - MIKE WIL­COX mike@ hy­per­ac­tiveg­ames. com

FROM clas­sics such as the Metroid Prime se­ries and re- re­leases of

Castl­e­va­nia, to more mod­ern ti­tles such as Shadow Com­plex, gamers can’t seem to get enough of the tried and true role- play­ing game for­mula.

This new down­load­able gem joins the ranks, with one key dif­fer­ence . . . it’s been cre­ated al­most en­tirely by one man.

Dust: An Elysian Tail suc­cess­fully com­bines slick com­bat and light role- play­ing el­e­ments with all the ex­plo­ration and back- track­ing that fans of the genre crave. What’s more, it does so while telling an en­gag­ing tale and look­ing stylish.

De­spite the game’s en­tire cast be­ing in­spired by a Satur­day morn­ing car­toon se­ries, the voice ac­tion is cred­i­ble. Add in a stir­ring or­ches­tral sound­track and a plot that is far more the­mat­i­cally evolved than the vi­su­als sug­gest, and the gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is mostly sat­is­fy­ing.

Dust jug­gles equal parts com­bat, plat­form­ing and ex­plo­ration flaw­lessly, with sword play at the cen­tre of the game­play. Like any mem­o­rable ac­tion game, the ba­sic me­chan­ics are easy enough to grasp but re­quire pa­tience and prac­tice to mas­ter.

Sadly its in­tended high points – the boss bat­tles at the end of each new area – are not as much fun as sim­ply plough­ing through mind­less hordes of min­ions dur­ing the rest of the game.

But Dust pro­vides the usual ex­pe­ri­ence points and lev­els up with new abil­i­ties and cus­tomis­able fea­tures, while a ba­sic craft­ing sys­tem lets you as­sem­ble more power gear, if and when you have the right ma­te­ri­als.

Ul­ti­mately though, whether you fo­cus on magic, or hack and slash­ing, the com­bat is flashy, fu­ri­ous fun.

This one- man- made game may not be en­tirely orig­i­nal in con­cep­tion but it is the com­plete pack­age, fea­tur­ing re­ward­ing com­bat and ex­plo­ration, pol­ished vi­su­als, an en­gag­ing story, and a sur­pris­ing amount of con­tent when you con­sider the bud­get price tag.

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