Dust: An Elysian Tail

Dust: An Elysian Tail

Dust: An Elysian Tail is a kind of metroidvania that manages to pull it off with little to none incentive on backtracking the world on your own. The game uses that kind of interaction as a support instrument for world-building. This takes your for a journey that is somewhat linear with a few decision forks changing only the order you’ll beat a bit more that crazy thousand hits combos out of enemy minions (or more like will try to do that).

That numbers though are actually bollocks with protagonist bearing a legendary talking sword Ahrah which makes all the job for that green amnesia-suffering anthropomorphic green rabbit. All kind of attacks granting you several digits are just tap of the button away. Mixing them in one flow can be tricky at first; but since that’s the one thing there is to figure out with this game, you’ll get better. So the digits in the counter will skyrocket like their counterparts do in Bayonetta or Devil May Cry.


Along with those combos come level-ups and equipment. And this is where it gets a bit cumbersome. Craftable armor sets and pendants pile up, but all they do is add an incremental bonus to the usual set of stats (defense, attack, critical chance and the like). It’s a minor nuisance for the player with easily obtainable crafting components and a straightforward choices of what to wear next. Not bringing anything to the table in terms of variety or difficulty this adds a sublevel of complexity. Redundant coherence of game’s levels helps with establishing a world from a separate screens. Involvement in stat increase emphasizes the empowerment of mysterious protagonist. It wouldn’t be enough if that was the only thing Dust resorted to, but thankfully it isn’t.

Slicing, jumping and projectile-shooting happens to take place in front of colorful backgrounds rich with details and looking like an according prop for a Saturday morning cartoon. So do characters. With the looks comes an appropriate comical yet faithful and friendly side-kick. An orange flying hybrid of bat and squirrel goes by the name of Fidget and is the guardian of Ahrah. The mischievous little creature opposes the calm and secretive sword with attached gloom prophecy in game’s story pacing and does so with an added tongue-in-cheek attitude and kicking a few bricks out of the fourth wall.


With the acting hero being amnesiac and all, the duet of sword and critter is the moving mechanism for the story with a good two dozens of accompanying characters. And either it’s a snatch-my-laundry quest or an actual story-advancing interaction, each voice and face adds up a bit mold pieces of the game together.

It might seem like just being cute, referencing Disney animation classic, a main source for inspiration right in the title; but the game makes up for it with a good chunk of passion. It may not be as stellar as some with its cut-scenes. Sufficiently grim plot is predictable. Being essentially a one-man-project (with the occasional help of some people) Dust can’t excel at everything. And on the whole it still is bigger than a sum of its parts.