PREVIEW: Dust: An Elysian Tail

Friday, July 20th, 2012

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It’s so nice out here

Dust: An Elysian Tail is a 2D side-scrolling action-RPG created for the Xbox 360 Live market place and developed by the passionate one-man team of Dean Dodrill of Humble Hearts. In this growing explosion of indie games hitting the main stream nowadays, Dust: An Elysian Tail looks to be a very impressive title, which just happens to be very close to release after being delayed last year to 2012. During the San Diego Comic Con and PAX East convention gamers were offered a chance to finally play a demo of Dust: An Elysian Tail and the impressions where very high to say the least.

What is Dust: An Elysian Tail about you say? Straight from the Dean:

“Set in the beautiful yet mysterious world of Falana, this game chronicles protagonist Dust’s journey to liberate an oppressed village, and rediscover his past. He is aided by an ancient sword, Ahrah, and his helpful if unreserved sidekick, Fidget.”

Saying Dust looks great just doesn’t give the game justice; we are talking Odin Sphere standards of visuals here. The way the main character Dust flies around the screen combating hordes of enemies just looks magnificent in motion and with no hint of visual slow down (at least from the demo). The entire game is hand-animated and painted, the player is even treated to full character animations during dialogue conversations that really sets the mood, not to mention the “breaking the fourth wall” kind of dialogue between Dust and Fidget which makes me laugh every time.

It’s clear that Dean Dodrill set out to make a love letter to all the retro gamers out there with Dust- the game is full of retro gaming goodness like Ninja Gaiden-like combat, Metroid-like map discovery system, a level up system for upgrading character attributes (even luck), and even Castlevania logic of finding whole chickens in walls!!! (Link). But will Dust be as unforgiving as past retro games? Dean has stated that players will not have to worry about difficulty, he made sure that anybody would have fun playing Dust (even his 3 year old son) making sure the combos weren’t difficult to master. Of course you could just mash combos, however you will need skill to defeat an entire horde of enemies in a single combo chain without getting hit.

It’s safe to say I am very excited to play Dust for myself but what about the story? Dean has stated that Dust may look colorful, cute, and beautiful but don’t let that foul you, he says, the story of Dust is a lot darker then the visuals lead on. Hmm…What could that mean? Dean has been keeping quiet about the story of Dust and wants to keep it a surprise which only makes me want to play Dust even more.

O…God is this a Nightmare…

So will Dust: An Elysian Tail be another hit for the Xbox 360 live indie community or will it fall flat? We can’t say for sure yet but one thing is for sure, I will be playing Dust to find out and you should too.

Dust: An Elysian Tail is set to release on August 15th for Xbox Live Arcade for 1200 Microsoft points ($15). If you wish to learn more about Dust, Click here for the main developer’s website. Credit to NightMystic and Gamespot for Demo Footage.




  • I’ve been following this game for a while, back when it was part of an indie game contest. The fact that this game is finally seeing a release on XBLA is great. Hopefully, it’ll come to other platforms as well.

  • Ya the Game looks Amazing and It would be nice if it came out to PSN. I just hope the game is long enough for the 15 dollar purchase…

  • This game looks gorgeous. August 15th hey? I’ll have to look into it.