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Dust: An Elysian Tail (Video Game Review)

Summer of Arcade 2012 has featured a stacked lineup of titles that have all managed to bring something special to Xbox LIVE Arcade and leave a lasting impression on the BioGamer Girl staff. It's sad to have to see the promotion come to an end, but it seems Microsoft was saving their best for last with Dust: An Elysian Tail. Dust: An Elysian Tail combines side-scrolling action RPG gameplay that anyone familiar with the Castlevania series will instantly recognize with one of the best looking art styles to hit the downloadable marketplace for any system. The game is well worth your money, so hopefully, you haven't completely exhausted your Microsoft Points account on the month's other Summer of Arcade titles.

In Dust: An Elysian Tail, you play as a young warrior who wakes in the middle of the woods with no idea who or where he is. Soon, a mysterious artifact who calls himself the Blade of Ahrah appears, and the powerful, talking sword informs the young warrior his name is Dust and that he has an important destiny to fulfill by using the power of the blade. That's when a strange Nimbat creature named Fidget comes flying in spouting off she is the guardian of the sword despite her small stature and limited physical abilities. So, the three set off on a journey to restore Dust's memory, save the world from a series of deadly monster attacks and strange happenings and to achieve his destiny . Dust: An Elysian Tail features a grand storyline that doesn't always follow a predetermined path with plenty of choices in dialogue and several instances where your dialogue choices dictate your actions.

At its core, Dust: An Elysian Tail is a side-scrolling action RPG title, however, the game does enough things right to differentiate itself from others in a crowded genre. You'll fight your way through multiple enemies at a time while utilizing the Blade of Ahrah, the powers of Fidget, an augment for your sword, a suit of armor and accessories. You can loot more equipment or purchase them in stores, but Dust: An Elysian Tail also introduces a blueprint mechanic that allows you to build new gear with the right materials. Challenge Arenas also pop up later in the game and task you with progressing through an obstacle course like arena full of enemies in the fastest time possible while grabbing point boosts throughout. While neither the blueprints nor the Challenge Arenas are completely revolutionary, they do offer up fun breaks from Dust: An Elysian Tail's main quest and the multiple side quests you'll find throughout the game.

Despite everything Dust: An Elysian Tail does right, the game's beautiful artistic design is clearly what sets this title apart from others in the genre. The game contains a mesmerizing blend of hand-drawn characters and environments with a vibrant color display of painted images. The result is of extremely high quality that you can't help but be in awe of. Dust: An Elysian Tail packs a lot of content into a relatively small package, as you search the world over looking for treasure and even find yourself running into characters from other Xbox LIVE Arcade titles including Super Meat Boy and Spelunky. The game's voiceover work isn't perfect, but the game's main characters pull off their parts exceedingly well. A great sound design is rounded off with some nice sound effects during combat and charming music that suits the title and chimes in at the most appropriate moments.

Dust: An Elysian Tail is a treat for the eyes and a blast to play. The game instantly draws you into the fantasy world of Falana with its colorful graphics and superb narrative, and you'll stick around to see the game to its end thanks to addictive gameplay that will have you grinding out endless battles in search of the ultimate gear and to level up Dust to his maximum level. Then, you'll keep coming back to gain the highest score possible in Challenge Arenas and move your way up the Global Leaderboards and to challenge the game's tougher difficulty settings. In a stacked lineup of great titles, Dust: An Elysian Tail manages to be the best from Summer of Arcade 2012.

Dust: An Elysian Tail is now available exclusively for Xbox LIVE Arcade and can be purchased for 1200 Microsoft Points. Dust: An Elysian Tail is rated E by the ESRB for Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood & Mild Language. For more information on the game, check out the official Dust: An Elysian Tail website.

Game Features:
  • Single Player
  • Numerous Sidequests
  • Multiple Challenge Arenas
  • Content Downloads
  • Online Leaderboards
  • Achievement Support

  • Game Information:
    Developer: Humble Hearts
    Publisher: Microsoft Studios
    Available exclusively for Xbox LIVE Arcade
    Release Date: August 15, 2012

    Score: 10 out of 10
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