Game: Dust: An Elysian Tail
Platform: PS4, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher/Developer: Humble hearts
Genre: Action RPG
Describe This Game in Three Words: Samurai Bunny Metroidvania
Score: 6 out of 10
Synopsis: A young man with amnesia named Dust wakes up in the forest to find he's been summoned by a magic sword, accompanied by the sword's fairy guardian. The trio are all unsure of their purpose, but quickly decide to embroil themselves in a conflict involving increasing monster attacks. So begins a journey.
Up, Up: To be perfectly honest I've largely regretted my Playstation Plus membership. Aside from Contrast at launch and the chance to pick up Borderlands 2 for free on the PS3 it's been mostly a $9.99 a month reminder of how far behind indie gaming on consoles have been.
Dust caught my eye because it was a obviously a beautiful game executed with loving care by Dean Dodrill. The animated world has a kind of cheeky beauty that feels like you've fallen right into a manga. The voice acting is top notch, and the world you visit lush and believable.
The real win for Dust is the fight system. The combo system is a joy to play, and is extremely rewarding to the experimental player. Combat can't come often enough, in my opinion, and every fight is like being in a great samurai flick. It's the best part of the game and has the rare joy of making me want to tackle harder difficulty levels just to engage in the combat on an even deeper level.
Down, Down: The story is not exactly gripping, though Dust does a pretty good job of world building with its citizens through side quests. Even though the voice acting is extremely good, you'll find yourself skipping through very quickly.
Another slightly annoying thing at this stage in gaming is that being able to mark areas that you'll clearly need to come back to later on your map is still so rare. It would make playing the game a lot less frustrating if you could have little in-game indicators saying that you missed a treasure chest for lack of a key here and that you need a purple gem to proceed .
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Left, Right, Left, Right: For people that that cut their teeth on Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night Dust is as easy as slipping on a glove. Controlling Dust is a snap, and it this is also the game where I finally gave up and learned to love the PS4 touchpad. You won't be able to blame anything aspect of play on the control.
B, A: There's no getting around the fact that my Playstation Plus membership's free offering this month is a game that's been on PC since last year and on XBLA since the year before it. Fond as I am of Dust, it still feels like Sony is not taking advantage of an opportunity to really throw some cutting edge indie content on here in exchange for my monthly fee. The future of gaming lies in diversification and accessibility to indie content, especially for console monkeys like me.
Start?: There's no reason to not try out Dust on PS4 if you haven't played it on other platforms. It's a pretty game that combines classic sidescrolling adventure with modern day art capabilities. It's not as deep as it could be, but it's still extremely fun.