Games I beat in 2015: #6 - Dust: An Elysian Tail
Dust: An Elysian Tail is a pile of neat ideas tossed into a stunning yet slightly average Metroidvania. The artwork is top notch. The gameplay feels a bit slow compared to some Metroidvanias as regular enemies can take a while to beat. Bosses are comparatively easy. But it was fun.
The game has a nice amount of ideas that felt fresh. It offers a crafting system where found blueprints can tell you how many bones or knuckles to use to make a new sword. Okay, that's nothing new. But instead of having to farm, once you sell an ingredient to the shop it becomes available for sale. In limited quantities, sure, but still available. I never figured out exactly what made the stock increase but I assumed it was defeating a certain number of enemies that dropped the item. It made a potentially annoying system palpable.
Save points restore HP but only up to half of Dust's max. It allows for a bit of safety, but not too safe. The save itself is the true safety net, but it felt good to get a little bit of HP back without having to use items. It was nice for making sure I had enough HP to get through a part of tight platforming deadly spikes or when I was close enough to a level up that I decided to grind through.
Not that the inventory was a problem. There was a ton of junk that I kept finding and by the end of the game there was the usual "More Money than One Could Ever Spend" issue, which meant Dust had a healthy supply of various foods that would not only restore HP but cure ailments and boost attack and defense.
The magic system felt like it broke the game. Most of the bosses died quickly to a bit of magic spam, and yet the same magic did not make the normal fights feel much quicker. Invisible barriers would often prevent moving on to the next area until a set of monsters were taken care of, so backtracking felt a bit slow at times. Heaven help you if you accidentally changed zones.
My biggest complaint was the dialogue. There was so much of it and it wasn't particularly interesting. It did try to have a few twists, but none of them were particularly shocking or exciting. Except the one time the game bugged out and played a completely silent video and then the screen was blank for a few minutes while the appropriate dialogue played. A unique[footnote]Buggy.[/footnote] way to tell a story.