“A force of good is not so easily extinguished”

Dust-Review

There are very few people in life who ever know, full heartedly from the start, that they are destined to be heroes. Even when the time does come, knowing what to do and having the ability to carry it out can be two entirely different feats; but that is all simply part of the journey.

In the indie game Dust: An Elysian Tail by independent designer Dean Dodrill and published by Microsoft Studios, you begin your adventure as an unknown swordsman named Dust. Having no previous memories or knowledge of who you are or once were, you are soon teamed up with your weapon and companion for your upcoming journey: The Blade of Ahrah, an ancient mythical talking sword and Fidget, the sword’s guardian nimbat.

dust elysian tail

Along the way, Dust seeks to remember his past while following the advice of Ahrah and helping the citizens of Falana negate the oppression and bloodshed caused by General Gaius and his army. As waters run dry, towns are demolished, and an ancient race known as the Moonbloods draw nearer to extinction, time is of the essence whether Dust is completely aware of his mission or not. However, with every new area as well as with every new friend and foe he encounters, Dust begins to learn of himself; duly accomplishing everything he sets out to do.

Dust: An Elysian Tail is a side scrolling action RPG filled with quick action combat, a vibrant cast of characters and a beautiful hand painted backdrop. Action wise, Dust slays his enemies via numerous sword combos and timed use of his dust storm ability which can also be enhanced by Fidget’s magic projectiles in unison. As the story progresses and new areas are discovered, Dust will also learn a myriad of abilities to increase his effectiveness – abilities that will not only allow you to continue forward, but to also travel back to previous areas later on in the game and explore even further into their depths.

dust combat

The core of the story itself is in many ways the generic save-the-world-from-evil plot except that many aspects involving who Dust truly is and how these events came to pass all result in an intriguing twist of events.  The main characters all bring their own unique quirks to the foray as well: Ahrah remains the ever thoughtful voice of reason, having all the answers but only revealing them in due time while giving meaningful advice to Dust and Fidget as needed; In stark contrast, Fidget  offers much of the comic relief through the tale as well as her combat endeavors; While Dust stays in a subdued cloud of angst and confusion while maintaining confidence in his skill and upholding his sense of humor throughout.

When facing a new enemy, Ahrah tells Dust to "remember what he has learned," and this is Fidget's response:

When facing a new enemy, Ahrah tells Dust to “remember what he has learned,” and this is Fidget’s response:

The game is truly an enjoyable experience that offers various difficulties as well as numerous battle challenge arenas to be discovered and mastered during gameplay. However, as in most titles, it does have its flaws. The boss encounters are probably one of the biggest disappointments as they do not offer near the difficulty you would expect from them. It has also been said that many of the RPG elements could have been more involved, though they are still present and should be utilized to the greatest of your ability to ensure success and make life easier all at the same time.

What makes this title stand out just that much more is that it was created by one solitary person over the course of three and a half years. A feat not often seen or accomplished to this extent and in many opinions has gone above and beyond what full teams have not managed to do.

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In the end, Dust: An Elysian Tail is definitely worth playing. Depending on the difficulty and completion it will likely take less than 20 hours to finish; but it holds a great amount of content for its price as well as an artistry and ingenuity that is often hard to come by.

So venture to Falana; be awed by Ahrah, amused by Fidget, and discover who Dust is and was…all while accomplishing everything you are meant to do…whether you realize it or not.

“I remember everything. AND IT CHANGES NOTHING!”

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(Additionally, feel free to check out my Twitch channel as I livestream my next playthrough of Dust: An Elysian Tail!)

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