Reviewed by Bryan ‘Sil3nt eck0Padayachee.

Developer: Humble Hearts
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
If we had to give it a numerical score: 9.0 out of 10

What I liked:

  • Dynamic and vibrant styled visuals
  • Music, sound and voice acting are brilliant
  • Gameplay is fluid, fast and dynamic
  • Puzzles are fun and addictive

Not So Much:

  • Hack and slash tends to get a little repetitive after a while

Honestly, before playing the game, I had low expectations about Dust: An Elysian Tail. Little did I know that I was soon to be amazed. Humble Hearts have created a little gem of a title, which will have you playing for hours on end and wanting more.

You start off as the protagonist, Dust, who wakes up in a forest with no memory of his past.  He soon meets a talking sword known as the blade of Ahra, which becomes Dust’s primary weapon and conscience during the game. Ahra believes that Dust is meant for great things and that is why he was lead to him. You also meet Fidget – a cute and mischievous creature that is apparently Ahra’s keeper. Both of these companions offer you great insight and help in the form of combos, advice and humour.

Dust and his companions head out into the world to try and retrieve the lost memories and put the pieces of the puzzle together, but soon find that the once peaceful and beautiful land of Falana has been overrun by a source of evil and that’s when the story takes a deeper, darker turn. You traverse through each town, gathering information and quests, all the while finding people that need help with various tasks. You also find vendors across Falana from whom you can buy various items such as armour, trinkets that boosts stats, upgrades for weapons and material that you can use to forge new weapons and armour.

The land of Falana is beautiful. With a hand painted style of graphics and dynamic weather system, it was really something to behold. The combat is fast, fluid and energetic. Combos are fun and diverse, where you are not stifled to one sort of attack at any given moment. I easily got an 1100 hit combo on my first challenge on a larger enemy. This was while using the sword, aerial and Fidget’s attacks all at once. Boss fights are also challenging and very satisfying.

There are also many challenging puzzles that you need to complete to achieve certain objectives or find treasures, which become very addictive indeed. The arena challenges are also very intense and fun, where you have to kill all enemies within the time limit and also accomplish certain objectives to get a four star rating.

I was really glad to have experienced this game as it was a truly memorable experience. The characters, combat, scenery, story and humour were all put together perfectly. The thing about the game that really makes it a must-play is the fact that it has an innocence about it that is reminiscent of the arcade games of old, and while paying you can’t help but take a nostalgic trip down memory lane where things were easy and life was only as hard as the next level’s challengers!

Dust: An Elysian Tail is a great game that’s refreshing and highly recommended if you are looking for something just a little different.