Dust: An Elysian Tail
Dust feels like it’s taken the mechanics of a modern, 3D action RPG (maybe even something less RPG-esque like The Legend of Zelda due to the whimsical style) and molded them into loveable 2D. The game is made up of several 2D, multi-level towns and “dungeons” rife with secrets you won’t always have immediate access to. Unfortunately, the story here is pretty cliche, and the protagonist’s voice can be a bit grating. The supporting characters, on the other hand, are done well and add some comic relief, and the overall atmosphere reminds me of a Miyazaki film. This really is a beautiful game. I don’t want you to think I’m hung up on the graphics alone, though. What makes Dust so engrossing is the exploration element of it, the drive to find better equipment and see every new area as soon as you’ve gained the right skills. It’s not often I make an effort to do all of the side quests, if that tells you anything. Hint: it means it’s really fun. Near the end of the 10-hour adventure, the simplified combat does start to grow repetitive, but this still gets a definite thumbs up from me.