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  1. A few weeks ago Steam had a sale from which I purchased this game called Dust: An Elysian Tail for about $7 (regular $15). The game had some of the best reviews of last year. With the exception of Fez it had been over a decade since the last time a 2D platform game with brightly-colored anthropomorphic characters caught my attention in any positive way. Having just finished Dust, I have to say I am sure glad I took a chance to buy this on sale because this game is incredible. I sunk almost 30 hours into the game and can't recommend it enough. I'd purchase this game for $20 and have no regrets. The game play is very metroidvania, using that familiar style of map progression for each location you explore and featuring light RPG elements that enable the player to build the character of Dust and collect treasure and items to enhance Dust's abilities. You have a flying companion named Fidget who has some basic magical abilities which Dust can then interact with using his enchanted sword to create storms of magical attacks. The combat is fun, varied and extremely addictive. The game uses a combo system in which Dust can combine various types of maneuvers into strings of spinning, jumping and whirling destruction. When combined with Fidgets magic attacks, Dust can achieve impressive visual onslaughts that light up the screen. Thanks to a very simple and elegant control scheme, the combo system is very easy to learn and reliably perform from one battle to the next. As you progress, Dust will gain new abilities and while most are familiar staples of platform games (the double jump, the slide, etc) they are all implemented exceptionally well. Developer Humble Hearts knows how important game control is and has built the game in such a way that playing the character of Dust is like a dream; smooth, responsive and reliable. Graphically Dust looks, plays and feels like a 2D Platform Game given the Triple-A developer treatment despite it's indie origins. Dust enjoys similar benefit of modern technology applied to a 2D engine in the vein of Mark of the Ninja. Every screen is dense, filled with animation, detail and a deep illusion of dimension. Dust goes straight for high definition in all the character, level and effects design. This is a game in high resolution with gorgeous animation and effects of a level that we all desperately wanted 15 years ago playing our Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. The player character, the NPCs and enemies all look fluidly animated and the levels and effects are given just as much attention. Locations with snow, rain, wind, fire, lava and other visually striking effects are fully realized in stunning detail, each of which have an effect on game play. Dust is also fully scalable and some sequences in the game have the frame pulled far back to display your tiny player appearing in front of beautiful, immense vistas or enormous statues in the background all displayed in sharp, high-resolution graphics. I give "Dust: An Elysian Tail" 5 out of 5. Immersive, funny, silly, gorgeous, exciting, challenging and non-stop fun: Dust: An Elysian Tail pretty much has it all. If you're interested in taking a break from all the dark, gritty and realistic modern shooters and RPGs to enjoy some lighter, addictive retro-re-imagined fun then Dust is just the game for you. Available on PC via Steam and X-Box 360 via X-Box Live.
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