I woke up this morning, and I decided to check out the final release of Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade - Dust: An Elysian Tale. I found myself interested in this game because of the story behind the game itself. This is a game that was made by a single man, Dean Dodrill. He coded and did the art for the game entirely on his own, and only got outside help to do the music. He actually had to learn how to code to make the game, as he was an animator previously. His first go at it was so impressive that he won Microsoft’s Dream-Build-Play contest in 2009 to help fund his project. I can tell just by playing the first few hours that this game must have been a labor of love for Dean. The thing you notice first and foremost are the visuals and they are some of the best visuals I’ve seen in any game, period! The animation and the artwork just moves so seamlessly throughout the world. Once you start playing the game, though, everything comes together. He does a good job of keeping the game play simple, but complex. It uses basic hack and slash game play but mixes in some simple combos to flesh out the game play. It also follows in the footsteps of the MetroidVania-genre where you explore the map trying to get the top percentage and finding every secret. In that vain, there are parts you can’t get to until you get different powers giving the game a lot of longevity. Overall, I am really enjoying playing this game, and the only downside is there isn’t much to the story. However, I’m still early on so we’ll see if that picks up. My personal feelings are if you like the MetroidVania style game, and want to see a unique take on that buy it and support this dude. You won’t be disappointed.
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