Tag Archives: Dust: An Elysian Tail

Dust: An Elysian Tail is colorful, cutesy, and full of genocide

dust-5 early imps

From what I’ve read on the always trustworthy Interwebz, Dust: An Elysian Tail is a polarizing game. Meaning, there’s the people that love it, and the people that hate it. And from what I’ve played, which is maybe an hour and change, enough to have at least opened up the map and availability of a number of side quests, I think it all comes down to whether you are a big enough person on the inside to unabashedly accept a game with cutesy, colorful–and I mean that in two ways–characters that harken back to that era of safe, but satisfying Saturday morning cartoons. Because everything else seems solid, if perhaps a little perfunctory and possibly unnecessary in some areas. We’ll get there, kids.

Welcome to the world of Falana, which is inhabited by any great number of anthropomorphic animals. You get to see the world and its people–if you can say such a thing–through the titular main character Dust as he tries to remember his past. Yup, it’s another main character suffering from short-term memory loss; at least he’s not mute. Anyways, right at the start, Dust finds a sentient sword called the Blade of Ahrah, which will be his main fighting weapon. Ahrah’s original guardian, Fidget, a flying squirrel-fox-thing, also joins the group and is able to toss magical orbs at enemies from afar. I don’t know much more about the story, except there’s monsters and a village and I think the monsters want to kill all the talking furry folks. There’s that and trying to reconnect Dust with his surroundings.

So that’s the story…kind of. Gameplay-wise, Dust: An Elysian Tail is basically a 2D side-scrolling beat-em-up of yore. Think Odin Sphere and Shadow Complex rolled into one. Or if you want something more artsy, maybe Aquaria. Basically, you move left or right across a grid-based map, fighting monsters, building high combo counts, and earning experience points for it all. Oh, and you can also acquire loot in the form of ingredients and materials. Occasionally, at least early on, Dust acquires power-ups that permanently alter how he fights and moves, such as double jumping or being able to combine Fidget’s magic with one of his attacks for more damage. The RPG elements allow Dust to level up and put points into certain stats (health, damage, defense, magic), as well as wear different types of gear and craft new equipment. And that’s more or less everything I’ve seen so far.

Honestly, I don’t have any problem with furries, though I’m finding the story a little slow and predictable at the moment…at least until the other shoe drops in relation to Dust’s past and how he factors into all this genocide. Thankfully, the fighting is a ton of fun, even if it can quickly go wrong or become chaotic and confusing. If you know what you’re doing before you start tapping buttons, you can have total control over an entire group of enemies, much like you can in Guacamelee!, which I do need to get back to soonish. I enjoy knocking enemies up into the air, juggling them for a bit, and then pile-driving them into the earth below, sometimes hitting some other enemies along the way. It’s fun if occasionally mindless.

One aspect to RPGs of all kinds that I’m finding less and less appealing as time goes on is that moment when you arrive in a town, generally your first safe spot, and everyone under the sun has a side quest to give you. For Dust: An Elysian Tail, this happens in Aurora Village, and you can’t help but collect quest after quest as you walk left to right towards the mayor’s house. I think you end up picking up around five or six additional quests before you can move on, and sure, most of them aren’t thinkers, just asking you to collect this or that while out battling monsters, but it felt a little exhausting. I remember feeling the same when arriving at Borderlands 2‘s hub of Sanctuary, as well as stepping foot in every single Skyrim town. Quantity does not always equal quality.

This always gets talked about when I come across something Dust-related to read, so I might as well join in and mention that the game was developed by independent designer Dean Dodrill…and mostly only himself. Sure, there’s voice actors and a bunch of other stuff you might not think about, but Dodrill drew, animated, programmed, test, rebuilt, and so on. I believe it took him around four years to put a cap on his furry game’s head, and that’s one amazing accomplishment, whether the game resonates with you or not. There’s a fantastic piece over at Polygon on his plight, which I suggest y’all check out.

I’m going to keep playing for sure, as the difficulty hasn’t reared its ugly head, and it feels like the kind of game I can just chink away at over the next few weeks. Here’s to finding out what dirty deeds Dust did in his past life.

The Top 10 Videogames I Didn’t Get to Play in 2012

2012 games I did not get to play blog post

Well, here we are again. Another year has come to a close, and I’ve not played every videogame that came out in the last twelve months. I know, how shocking. And here are some reasons: money, time, sanity. I do make a conscious attempt to balance my videogaming time with my time for creating all of those wonderfully “bad” comics no one really looks at, which can be quite a dance, especially during those months where it seemed like a desirable game came out every few days for weeks on end. Like this past October through November. It was dastardly. But yeah, videogames–I don’t play ’em all.

For those curious, here’s what I didn’t get to play last year and the year prior:

Get hooked by the sad puppy picture, stay for the maddening lists. All right, enough setup. Let’s get to this year’s misses pronto.

10. Red Dead Redemption // Batman: Arkham Asylum // Batman: Arkham City // Portal 2


Basically, for the number 10 spot, here’s just a bunch of games from previous years’ lists which I’ve still not gotten to experience. You could call this cheating, and I would agree with you, but I think they all still deserve some sort of mention. So let’s lump them together. I’m sure most of you are silently screaming at me from across the screen to play Portal 2 right now, a game which I bought for $5.00 from Steam’s latest Summer Sale, but have not even gotten around to installing yet on my laptop. Swing and a miss, I guess. My landlord continues to recommend Red Dead, too. One day. One day, people…

9. Dust: An Elysian Tail


A side-scrolling, action platformer with a really vibrant look and a tale of genocide. Seems like many dismissed this game simply because they fear the Furries, but it sounds like there’s a great, emotionally-driven story and even greater gameplay mechanics to enjoy here. Also, take into account that Dust: An Elysian Tail is the product of one man’s work. Yeah, I gotta get to this at some point. Selfishly, I’m waiting for a reduced price sale, and I think I just missed my chance to get it for half off the other day. Wah.

8. Crashmo

crashmo thumb

From what it sounds like, Crashmo is both a continuation from Pushmo and also an entirely different game. In this one, gravity takes priority, with blocks able to fall when moved off other rows and columns. And you can rotate the playing field á la Fez to get a better perspective on how to climb to the top and save that little kid yet again. That said, I’d like to get a wee bit further in Pushmo‘s later (and more straining) puzzles before moving on to new mechanics that literally change how one plays.

7. Dragon’s Dogma


An open world action-RPG developed by Capcom? Huh, okay. That’s an interesting start, but throw in the addition of creating a mini army of Pawns that you can customize and make your own. Bosses are climbable like in Shadow of the Colossus, Pawns can select between nine vocations and you can trade them among friends and strangers, and the realm is yours to explore. Seems like the story is paper-thin until the absolute very end, but maybe the story doesn’t matter all that much over taking down griffins and giant heart-eating dragons.

6. Faster Than Light

Faster Than Light Linux Game

I did not back FTL on Kickstarter when its campaign was running and didn’t even really know it existed until it was released and quickly loved by many, many gamers. It’s been described succinctly as “Oregon Trail in space.” You run a spaceship and try to get as far as you can with it, surviving asteroids and pirate raids and general malfunctions. When you die, it’s done, and you have to start over. That sounds cruel and punishing, but this is the kind of game that you go back into smarter and more prepared, whether that helps you or not. Randomness is a factor for sure, but that’s the risk you take when piloting a spaceship.

5. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

Lego Batman 2

I was not a huge fan of LEGO Batman; I mean, it was fine, and much better than LEGO Indiana Jones 2 for sure, but it’s not my favorite of the LEGO videogames. Maybe that’s because it didn’t have a film to follow, and it set out to tell its own story, without words. Which is pretty hard to do unless you already know what’s going on. Now, LEGO Batman 2 doesn’t have a film to follow again, but this is where the LEGO characters began to talk, which has to help in telling a story, I suspect, and you have a huge hub world of Gotham to explore. Plus all the familiar hooks. And there’s more than Batman characters here. Maybe once I’m done running around LEGO Middle-earth I’ll give this a spin, but that could be a while. Spoiler: I’m loving LEGO Middle-earth.

4. Dishonored


I got my stealth fix with Mark of the Ninja this year, but it sounds like Dishonored does some good things too, especially with the Blink ability, which allows you to quickly travel from point A to point B super fast. It’s got a New Weird/steampunk-like setting, and you can handle missions in a number of ways, just like the Deus Ex of yesteryear. I like variety and doing things my way. At some point, I’ll get to this.

3. Mass Effect 3


This year, I played Mass Effect 2. It went all right. I found it to be an okay space-based adventure across the galaxy, but nothing astounding. In fact, I think I enjoyed Mass Effect more, as there was more to explore there, to learn about the races and planets and technology. I got through the “suicide mission” just fine, but then Mass Effect 3 came out and it sounded like a whiff for various reasons. Not interested in online multiplayer, and it seems like you can only experience the game in its true form via numerous DLC packs, released later. Think I’ll wait for a “game of the year” version, which, if Mass Effect 2 is any proof, BioWare won’t ever put out.

2. Journey


No PlayStation 3, no play. Insert a thousand scarf-wearing sad faces. Journey, from what I’ve heard, sounds absolutely amazing. And every screenshot looks like a perfect desktop wallpaper. Take that as you will.

1. Assassin’s Creed III


Assassin’s Creed III came out right at a bad time for me, with little time to play and having already purchased a few Nintendo 3DS titles to hold me over. So I had the choice of getting this or a new winter coat, and I went with the latter. So far, it’s worked out pretty well, and even though most reviews for ACIII were less than positive, I’m still curious to see what it is like to be an assassin in colonial times, as well as all the wilderness exploration. Heard it doesn’t “end” things, which is a bummer, as I think this series needs closure and then to come back as something completely new.

Originally, Telltale’s The Walking Dead was at the #1 spot, but thanks to the Microsoft’s Christmas spirit, the first episode “A New Day” is being given out for free on the Xbox 360 all week long, and so I downloaded, plopped myself on the couch next to Tara, and quickly devoured the entire thing in one sitting. It’s really good. I picked up the four other episodes for 200 MP a piece this morning and plan to see how things go for Lee and Clementine as soon as possible.

That said, naturally, there are even more games I haven’t gotten to play this year, some of which sound fantastic (Hotline Miami, The Unfinished Swan, Retro City Rampage), and some of which I just couldn’t find the energy to care about (Halo 4, XCOM: The Enemy Unknown). Maybe I’ll get to trying out a few of these in the upcoming 2013 stretch, but with a huge and growing backlog in Steam (thanks, all you indie bundles) and a New Year’s Resolution of completing some classics from my collection for the first time, I might not. We’ll see what ends up on next year’s list; one promise I can make is that I’ll be playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf the very first minute of the day it is released. I need that game like woah.

Anyways, what games did you miss out on this year? Speak up in the comments section below! And good luck in the year to come.