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Dust: An Elysian Tail Review

See PixlBit's Review Policies On 09/21/2018 at 12:00 PM by Nick DiMola

Dust is still as great now as it was six years ago on XBLA.
The Bottom Line: A must-buy for fans of either Metroidvania games or games with stylish, fun combat systems.

Somehow it’s been six whole years since Dust originally released as a Summer of Arcade title on the Xbox 360. It’s incredible to me that it’s been that long, but though six years have passed, Dust still holds up as a great title today. Since its original XBLA release, the action-adventure spectacle has made its way to PC, PlayStation 4, iOS, and now most recently the Switch, where it feels right at home.

There’s not much to say about Dust that hasn’t already been said by JD in his original review. Metroid meets Muramasa is such a perfect description for the experience. Being a mashup of the two, it doesn’t have quite the depth of Muramasa’s combat, nor the deep intricacies of Metroid’s level design, but the fusion of both makes it greater than the sum of its parts.

It's incredibly satisfying to pull off crazy huge combos using the Dust Storm move, while also chaining in parries and dodges. Over time, the combat does start to lose its luster, but it's a great time for the majority of the game. Exploring the world and accomplishing quests for NPCs is a fun twist of the usual Metroidvania gameplay and helps give you something else to strive towards outside of just uncovering new areas and tracking down all of the fun items hidden away in the branching paths.

Collecting XP from fights and applying earned gems from leveling gives you a significant feeling of accomplishment because Dust will become noticeably more powerful or gain a non-trivial amount of extra life, noticeably easing the next big encounter. Throughout all facets of the game there are small gripes that add up to Dust's detriment, but largely this is a solid, well-constructed experience that will hold your interest from beginning to end.

Thankfully, the port to Switch is very well done and it runs like a dream on there. Not only that, but it’s perfect for on-the-go play. No longer will you need to reach a save point if you need to suddenly put the game down. You can pause it and drop the system into standby mode and pick it up again when you have a moment. Granted, save points aren’t too far apart, but this makes it just a bit more convenient, which I love.

At only $14.99, it’s an easy recommendation for Switch owners who haven’t had a chance to grab this on another platform; or for those who just want a version to have on-the-go, but don’t want to play on a phone.


Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Matt Snee Staff Writer

09/21/2018 at 02:10 PM

I've NEVER played this, but have wanted it for years. I put it on my Switch Wish List a couple days ago, and I will finally play it soon. It looks SO good. Gonna get Okami too, which I've NEVER played for some reason. 

Nick DiMola Director

09/21/2018 at 02:28 PM

If you're prioritizing one, I'd suggest Okami, but I have a deep love for that game and I think there's a lot more to sink your teeth into. That said, both are great and totally worth your time and money.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

09/21/2018 at 03:14 PM

Ok, i will do that.  Thanks.


09/22/2018 at 07:15 PM

Oh man, just like Matt I've been wanting to play this for years. It looks like I actually own this game on Xbox 360. It must've gone on sale or something a long time ago and I picked it up. Too bad it's not backwards compatible yet with Xbox One, but I just happen to be setting up my 360 this coming week. I'm going to play it yes I am. Muramasa-meets-Metroid is music to my ears. 

I also remember an interview I caught once with the developer. Yes it was one guy who did everything. Amazing. 

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