I laughed. I cried. I raged until I was blue in the face.
Dustforce is a game revolving around the storyline where you play one of four ninja/kung-fu master/gravity defying janitors on a mission to save the world from dirt, grime and a heck of a lot of leaves in various 2-D levels. It’s a game centered around accuracy and speed; you’re graded on your combo streaks which are maintained by constant cleaning of the environment, how quickly you can clear the stage and how much of the mess you remove from the level. Earning an “S” rating for both your “Completion” and “Finesse” are your tickets to opening the other locked stages- so for the sake of your gaming peripherals’ safety I hope you have a lot of patience.
At its core Dustforce is a simple game. The arrow keys are used for your basic movements, CTRL is dash, Z is jump, light and heavy attacks are X and C respectively and V is taunt (you tell those wads of leaves, you tell them good). Compared to most titles the control scheme is a little wonky but it can be changed in the options. The first change I made was rebinding jump from Z to space, because after all this time there’s no way I can wrap my head around space *not* being jump. You should have seen the fiasco when space was sprint in Mass Effect 2. It wasn’t pretty, friends.
Dustforce is fast, furious and infuriating. As much fun as I had (and there was a lot of fun to be had)- there were limits to how much abuse I could take. A single mispressed, or ill-timed key can ruin a fantastic streak and leave you abusing the restart option. As the game carried on, there came more and more levels I just wasn’t willing to put the time and effort into perfecting my grade. I have to admit I found the smallest bit of relief when the laptop I was using would suddenly slow to a near crawl while I was playing. The game is so unbelievably fast paced at times that some of my best grades came from those slowed down moments due to my laughably horrible reaction times.
It’s a deeply frustrating game, but there is hope! It was, at times, painful to have to retry a level over and over again but I did wind up getting into the swing of things. By the time I fully completed a level with perfect grades, I was flowing through with ease. That being said- I would move onto the next level and have my ego put right back into its place. It was borderline cruel.
The levels in Dustforce are gorgeous. There’s a good number of different environments you can explore from a park, to a lab to a mansion and each level within the separate areas are engrossing. Running through the levels at high speed does make it hard to really appreciate how nicely everything is designed, I do recommend anyone playing take a moment to look around. Nothing is overly complex and the simplicity compliments the levels. There are very few lines in the artwork and most everything is made up of solid blocks of color. It gives the atmosphere a basic, but very eye popping look.
After finishing my Postal III review, Dustforce was a wonderful and welcomed experience. Postal III or not, this is a game that can’t be missed for the $9.99 price tag. It’s cute, fun and innovative title that will provide hours of gameplay. I can’t guarantee every moment spent playing Dustforce will be “fun” because it can be downright infuriating, but the joys of this game far outweigh the horrific moments of pain and agony. There’s really a lot of game here for those who wish to perfect their approach and unlock new stages and there’s also local multiplayer modes. Keep an eye out for the upcoming level editor which will certainly add to an already worthwhile game.
You can’t say I didn’t warn you about the frustrations, though. I hope you all have healthy blood pressures. Please consult your family physician before playing. -chuckle-