• Allan Jenks

Review #007: Dust - An Elysian Tail (Nintendo Switch)

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

Reviewer: Allan J.

Developer: Humble Hearts LLC

Publisher: Humble Hearts LLC

Release Date: 9.10.2018


Download Dust: An Elysian Tail from the Nintendo eShop here.

Overview

You awaken to the voice of a talking sword calling out your name. You are Dust, a mysterious warrior with no memory of who you are or where you came from. The Blade of Abrah – as it refers to itself in third-person while advising you to claim it - explains that it has been summoned by you but has no idea why. Just then, Fidget, a flying kitten/fox-like creature known as a nimbat swoops in, demanding that you give her back the sword that she has been guarding. After a brief negotiation, it is decided that Fidget will allow you to use the Blade of Abrah for a while, but she’s going to come with you to keep an eye on it until you are finished with it. Together the three of you run off to begin your new adventure.


Dust: An Elysian Tail is a 2-D action RPG platformer. The gameplay follows the so-dubbed “Metroidvania” formula, with non-linear exploration, and multiple new skills to acquire along the way that unlock previously unreachable areas throughout all of the beautifully designed and illustrated levels. Each level is painstakingly detailed and thoughtfully designed. The music is subtle, but well-placed and sets the mood for the charming-yet-desolate worlds you encounter.


Controls

The controls are also well-designed, and while you can get away with some basic Dynasty Warriors-style button mashing, some well-planned combos and tactical parries will certainly benefit you more in the long run.


Along the way, you learn new moves to use in battle, one of which is called the Dust Storm. This is an attack where you spin your sword rapidly, creating a windstorm-like effect that sucks in and strikes your enemies. Combined with Fidget’s energy attack, you create a chaotic firestorm of deadly projectiles that can pretty effectively clear a room of enemies.



You pick up loot from felled enemies ranging from health items like apples and the “Mysterious Wall Chicken” – a not-so-subtle homage to Castlevania – to building supplies and gold to be used with various merchants and smiths you encounter. You can pick up blueprints for new armors and items, which can be commissioned for you, as long as you have the right materials and enough cash.


Story Mode

The story takes place in the living world of Falana, inhabited by humanoid animal folk. As you progress through the story, you meet new characters who will assign you tasks to complete for them. The non-linear gameplay allows for many side quests to be completed in the order in which you choose, though main quests must be completed in order to gain certain skills that are required to progress.

You gain experience points with each battle, and when you level up, you acquire skill gems which can be placed in 1 of 4 skill categories: Health, Attack, Defense, and Fidget. The game encourages well-rounded skill development, and will not allow your highest skill category to be any more than 4 gems higher than your lowest skill category.



Wrapping Up

Dust: An Elysian Tail looked like a fun game from the first screenshot I saw and the first mention of the word “Metroidvania.” The story is engaging, the hand-drawn and painted artwork is stunning, and the controls are well done and natural. I enjoyed everything about this game. I am hard-pressed to offer any criticisms of this game, but if I had to change one thing, I would make some of the boss battles a bit more difficult than they were. Other than that – and I still really didn’t mind the difficulty – I would say this game deserves a 10/10. I would recommend trying this one for yourself. It’s not even that expensive!


Final Score: 10/10


Download Dust: An Elysian Tail from the Nintendo eShop here.


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