Dust: An Elysian Tail Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 59 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 136 Ratings

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  • Summary: Immerse yourself in a hand-painted world on a search for your true identity. As the mysterious warrior Dust, you must master the ancient Blade of Ahrah to battle dozens of enemies with an intuitive combat system, take on a variety of quests, discover powerful upgrades throughout the massive, open world, and uncover the story of an ancient civilization on the brink of extinction as you fight to uncover your own past. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 59
  2. Negative: 0 out of 59
  1. Aug 21, 2012
    It's a great, 2D experience that harkens back to the popular Metroidvania sub-genre of adventures games, but manages to blaze its own path and stand out as a wholly unique experience. There's certainly little like it on XBLA, and I highly suggest picking it up.
  2. Aug 15, 2012
    A refreshing experience, one that reminds us of why people make games-and why we, in turn, play them. Combining quaint, charming elements with highly executed gameplay, Dust would be an impressive adventure even without the fascinating story behind its development.
  3. Sep 6, 2012
    One of the best Live Arcade of 2012. A gorgeous, lengthy Metroidvania like adventure, with a lot of contents, incredible graphics, an addictive combat system and brilliant level design.
  4. Aug 13, 2012
    Sure, the RPG elements could have been stronger, and the boss battles are a bit of a letdown, but if those are the worst things about your game, you're in pretty good shape. An Elysian Tail is a rare example of artisanal game craft. Conventional wisdom says that can't happen anymore, but Dust proves otherwise.
  5. Sep 23, 2012
    You'll get bored before the end, but Dust's fantastic characters, brilliant combat, engaging platforming and beautiful visuals will keep you smiling for the majority. [Issue#89,p.89]
  6. Aug 19, 2012
    The game is a cohesive and stunning effort that keeps you coming back for more.
  7. Aug 24, 2012
    Visually stunning, with roughly 12 hours of gameplay, Dust remains quite spectacular, especially knowing it's the work of only two people. But after a charming start, one doesn't take long to witness a gigantic shortcoming: there's no challenge whatsoever and the heroes don't benefit from any sort of evolution over the course of the adventure. The game design thus becomes void, when all you need to do is to press four buttons continuously to finish the game.

See all 59 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 29
  2. Negative: 2 out of 29
  1. Aug 30, 2012
    It is one of those games that captivates you from the moment you see it. Dust: An Elysian Tail to my opinion, is the best game to come out on Xbox Live Arcade to date. RPG, platform, action, a combat system that is not boring, otherworldly visuals. In short, by 1200MSP can play a game that easily surpasses many physical games that have flooded the market these days. Expand
  2. May 3, 2014
    One of the best arcade games on Xbox Live. Beuatiful 2D graphics and fantastic combo chain system makes the gameplay lovely. Also the story is addictive. Expand
  3. Sep 8, 2012
    First and foremost, this is the most beautiful game I have seen on any console. As the game starts, I felt like I was inside a Disney cartoon. The game play is great. It has a good mixture of challenging (not throw the controller at the wall challenging) platforming and combat. Dust is a genre all to its own, bringing RPG elements to a side scrolling fighter in a whole new way. There are side quests, different cities to explore (which have very decent sized maps), loot to gather and new abilities to unlock. The story is decent, actually great for what you may expect to see on XBL. All of this is even more impressive, since it is the work of one person (minus the music and voice acting). In closing, you must buy this game. Expand
  4. Aug 19, 2012
    I had been anticipating Dust: An Elysian Tail since I found out it won Microsoft's Dream.Build.Play back in '09. After a long wait, it finally received a release date of August 15, 2012, during Xbox Live's Summer of Arcade. Every year, there has been a memorable SOA release that really stands out--Braid, Shadow Complex, Limbo, and Bastion, just to name a few. So is Dust: An Elysian Tail this year's inductee into the Summer of Arcade Hall of Fame?

    The short answer is a resounding Yes.

    Before I even state everything that makes Dust an amazing game, I am well aware of some people disregarding it, on the fact that the game contains anthropomorphic characters, or "furries", as some may call them, which may not be everyone's fancy for reasons that may or may not have some bias behind them. It's those people I feel sorry for, because they will be missing out on one extraordinary game.

    Dust: Any Eysian Tail is the work of creator--and by creator, I mean ONE creator. Yes, this game was made by pretty much one guy--Dean Dodrill, as his love letter to old-school Metroidvania-style games. And if one guy could make this game, imagine what could come to light if he had a team.

    First and foremost, Dust is a beautiful game. The hand-crafted scenery is beyond incredible; it really looks like something that came from a team of professional illistrators, not one guy. And the movements of the characters themselves looks nicely down.

    Speaking of the characters, they are lovable. The close-ups we get of them during cutscenes and the emotions they protray during certain dialogue is all nicely portrayed. The voice-acting is top notch as well, even though the lip-syncing can be off at times. There may be moments where characters can become cringe-worthy, but these moments are few and far between. Being put off just because these characters are anthropomorphic shouldn't even come across for anything. And the music of Dust is really good as well. Almost like you're always listening to a live orchestra. The story follows the character of Dust, an amnesiac who wakes with no knowledge of his past. He is met up with a sentient sword known as Ahrah, and its flying fox guardian, Fidget. It is Dust's journey to re-discover his past and save the future. Yeah, I know it's very vague, but for a Metacritic review, you have to believe me when I say the story delves into such an addictive narrative, that at the end I was extremely satisfied. Fidget also happens to be my favorite character, and her funny dialogue throughout the whole experience kept a smile on my face.

    When it comes to combat, this is more than your typical hack-and-slash game. Dust has variety of moves, but the one that really stands out is his Dust Storm ability. It can cause some serious damage on its own, but combining it with Fidget's "weak" powerball attack, it will spread her attack into a multitude of damaging attacks that will hit everything on the screen and boost a heavy combo chain.

    Throughout my entire playthrough of the game, if there was one thing I had touch upon that could have been better, it would have to be the boss battles. At times, the bosses can appear to be easy pushovers, almost to the point where some enemies themselves where harder to defeat. That may appear to make the game too easy, and honestly, at times, it is. Thankfully there are a multitude of difficulties to choose from, so none of this was a real bother for me. But I can see why it may bother others.

    You can get through the main story of Dust in about 6-10 hours, depending on playstyle. However, there are side quests, arena challenges, and so much exploration to be done, that playtime can easily be doubled. Only once or twice did things appear to get a little repetitive, but since there are always new areas, enemies, and even cameos to discover, this hardly seemed like a tidbit to bring up.

    In summary, Dust: An Elysian Tail is an amazing game. This game is, not only the best Summer of Arcade release this year, not only one of the best Summer of Arcade releases ever, this game is one of the best Xbox Live Arcade games . . . of all time. I would like to thank Dean Dodrill for making such an amazing piece of art with his own blood, sweat, and tears. Because this game just earned him a lot of respect in the video game industry.
  5. Jan 22, 2013
    This site has been a part of my daily life for years, but I never felt compelled to join until I finished this masterpiece. One reviewer mentioned earlier that you can tell this game was made with love, and it cannot be said any better than that. Every aspect of the game pulses with energy, joy, and intensity, and most of all, total refinement. The core gameplay tools (combos, dashes, and such) are introduced pretty early on, and are not expanded upon in any real way after the first few hours. At face value, this appears to be an area where the game lacks. But the more I played and became comfortable with the controls, I realized there are more than enough ways to dispatch your enemies in an incredibly satisfying and complex way. It's a system that rewards creativity, practice, and skill. For instance, if you kill an enemy by simply using the standard sword combo (mashing the x button), you will not be rewarded with anything extra. Here is just one example of an alternate route to combat. Slide attack an enemy to get him into the air, hit the dash button and backflip past him to where you started, and slash the airborn enemy once, and then launch him further into the air with a stylish upward slash. Upon meeting him in the air, enter an dangerous torpedo mode, slashing past the enemy, back and forth, several times before unleashing a couple more airborn sword attacks. Cap it off by grabbing the (most likely dead) enemy and pile drive him into the ground, and watch the force of it send surrounding enemies flying through the air. You will be rewarded with a hefty experience bonus. Very rarely does a game come along where you feel this powerful, this capable of single-handedly wiping out hordes of enemies. That's not to say that enemies aren't formidable. Sure, you can go through the game mashing the x button the whole time, but on any level beyond the default difficulty, this is not possible. I highly recommend playing one level beyond the default difficulty. It is difficult, but always fair. You will always feel that you deserved to die because of your own mistakes, and you will understand almost immediately what you did wrong. This is not an easy balance for games to find, and it significantly increases the game's already hefty longevity.

    Moving along, this is perhaps the prettiest game I've ever seen. That doesn't mean the graphics are great. There's a very big difference between good graphics and thoughtful artwork. The amount of organic detail in the environments is completely staggering. There was not one moment where I thought the visuals lacked in any way. The bulk of the time, I was in awe.

    Other aspects of the presentation are spot on. I've played probably a hundred rpgs in my life, and this is one of the best soundtracks ever. There was a moment during one of the dungeons where a couple specific cord changes, coupled with the epic combat going on, was emotionally overwhelming to me. That is not something that happens in videogames. That is reserved for only the best television and film productions. I'll add that I am normally a pretty detached person, but this moment I just mentioned was the apex of the potential of videogames.

    The story's writing is emotional and heavy. Most importantly, it generally respects its audience. The voice of the talking cat, fidget, is probably the worst thing to happen since the holocaust. Thanks for reading.
  6. May 3, 2013
    Though you'd think differently reading the other reviews here, but this game brings nothing new to a genre that had it's peak sometime about when Schwarzenegger and Van Damme were considered actors,
    the 2D shoot-it-all, and though the game brings very responsive controls and nice enough creatures to kill, it's just the same old blur...might as well play frogger with your frying pan.

See all 29 User Reviews