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Dust: An Elysian Tail

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I recently played through Dust: An Elysian Tail and wanted to make a post here since the last thread about it was 2 years ago. I've been on a kick going through the games I have tagged as Metroidvania.

TLDR – Exploration Platformer with RPG elements better suited for kids than adults. Not a bad game, but not great either. 6.5-7/10

For starters, I think I'd classify this more as an Exploration Platformer with RPG elements more than a pure Metroidvania. It definitely ticks most of the boxes for a Metroidvania, but it's also a very linear game. In fact, there's no real reason to go back to any of the locations you've already finished other than map completion. The side quests are entirely optional with maybe one being the exception. The game points you in a single direction and you never need to really think. You'll know if you went the wrong way pretty quickly.

The graphics and animation are fantastic. It's definitely 2D game, but not a pixel art game. There tons of color and even the darker environments pop to life with color. It's very impressive considering it was done by 1 person. It's the kind of game that if you saw someone playing you'd stop and watch because it looks great. The music is also very good as well. I had several times that I just listened to the music and definitely played a few tracks on YouTube.

Unfortunately, the rest isn't necessarily bad, but it's not great either. I guess I have to start with the anthropomorphic pink elephant in the room; furries. I don't personally care about furry thing, but it's a very common criticism I see about this game. I don't think it's a problem, but it doesn't exactly have a style that's striking like other popular games (Hollow Knight, Blasphemous, etc). While playing this and watching the cut scenes, I kept thinking this felt like something out of Goof Troop; like it might be a game Goofy would buy for Max.

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The story is fully voice acted. While the voice acting isn't bad, I wouldn't call it good either. I'm not sure if it's the script just being really cheesy and the voice actors not having great material to work with or the voice actors just embracing the silliness. It had a very "dubbed anime" feel to it or again, something out of Goof Troop. One problem I did have was everyone talked SO slow and there's so much talking. I found myself skipping dialogue after reading it because I just wanted to play.

The combat is also pretty bland. Mash X or jump and hold Y to spin around the screen holding your sword out. I don't think the end boss hit me once because I just flew around the screen spinning while casting my lightning spell, which is also what I did with every set of enemies.

I can't say the game is bad, but I can't say I had a ton of fun with it, but it wasn't really a chore either; it was lightly entertaining. I realized about a quarter of the way through it felt like something aimed at kids more than adults, but the graphics and sound kept me entertained enough to want to see the rest of the stages. I wouldn't recommend it to someone who wants something more like Blasphemous or Hollow Knight, but I'd definitely recommend it to someone who is looking for kid friendly games.


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