Dust: An Elysian Tail Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Humble Hearts LLC

Publisher: Humble Hearts

Release Date: Out

Price as of Article: $14.99 USD, £11.69 GBP

Rating: E

File size: 1051.72 MB

Story

Your story as a warrior named Dust starts rather… familiar. At least for you – the player – as you probably enjoyed one or two similar titles with the same start to the plot. The protagonist of Dust: An Elysian Tail suffers from severe memory loss and both of his companions cannot help him with gaining it back immediately. Otherwise, this story would be a rather short one!

It does not take long to discover a sword with the name Blade of Ahrah. This special weapon can also talk to you and, judging from its voice, it seems to be that of a wise man speaking to the young Dust. The trio is not complete without Fidget, a cute flying creature. She acts as a sort of guardian for the sword and is not ashamed to share her insights from time to time. Of course, she is eager to help gain back the memory of our cat-like hero as well.

Remembering your past will not be the only objective along the journey. Strange monsters appear and start to threaten the various villages in the fictional world called Falana. The evil General Gaius is responsible for oppressing the good people of this land. No need to ask twice, Dust and his friends lend a hand to save the day.

Will the defeat of the bad guys actually be the solution to gain back the forgotten memory of Dust?

Gameplay

Dust: An Elysian Tail is a fast-paced Action RPG taking place in different areas. You will fight your way in a Devil May Cry manner through deep forests, pretty snowfields and mysterious caverns. When I started my review, I used the difficulty “Tough” out of the four available options. I should have picked another…

Along your path, you are able to admire the view but you are also encountering hordes of enemies. Some of them can be frustratingly hard (again, maybe start on normal) and if you re-enter an area, all of them will respawn. To spice up the experience of not “only” smashing the skulls of your opponents, you are provided with treasure chests and cages. Of course, they won’t open without a key. You can either buy these or find them hidden in a level.

Fidget is the trusty side-kick and perfect balance to Dust’s combat style of pure force. She actually can enrich your style with a spell that can be transformed into a powerful storm of projectiles flying through the air, mercilessly hitting the enemies. Make progress further in the game and these projectiles change in variety. Experiment a bit because every projectile has different effects, like fire pillars! In fact, let Fidget show it to you by herself:

Just kidding, she actually is more powerful than that. But see for yourself in the game!

Along the way, Dust improves and will be learning special attacks. Using them in a rather freeing way would be too easy. So, Dust will actually overheat and damage himself severely if he uses the same attack for too long. Indicating him getting too overworked is him blinking red. Do not worry if he is changing colour just a bit though. You are only in trouble when he is quickly blinking in red. So be careful!

If you are not really satisfied by the combat alone and hunting for treasures, you may enjoy the RPG elements of Dust: An Elysian Tail more. The classical side quests from NPCs are more than just a few. They range from finding a missing sibling up to gathering items. They also fit into the world very well. This made the quests a bit more fun to experience because it felt like I was doing something important.

Dust Image 2

You will not run out of tasks in this game very easily!

After every battle, Dust gains EXP and by receiving enough, he is able to level up. You are then given one skill point that you can spend on various attributes like health, the support of Fidget, or defence. If you still do not have enough to do, you can even test yourself on time trials. They are like mini-games in the title and if you do them, why not see how you do on those leaderboards? Good luck!

Getting bored is almost impossible here. You can gather materials and let the blacksmith of your choice craft weapons or equipment. You can also sell them to the shops, making a nice profit. Not only that, but once sold, it is catalogued at a shop. The seller will then restock the items. A nice twist and possibility for you to take advantage of it if a source is very difficult to gather. This makes crafting less tedious and it makes it more doable.

A collector of materials and any other things possible? You are in luck since you can also gather achievements in Dust: An Elysian Tail as well. With 30 in total, it will keep you busy for a bit.

This title also uses a combination of autosaves and manual save spots. If you are defeated, the game will spawn you at what looks like a damaged shrine. This is also where you are able to manually save. Starting with the difficulty “Tough”, the combat starts rather easy but increases quickly. If you feel overwhelmed, you can go back and set the difficulty back to any of your liking anytime.

You can actually adjust a lot in this game in the settings, like “Auto Fire” and “Auto Heal”. The only thing that confused me was the inconsistency between the menus on the loading screen and in the game. For the longest time, I was convinced that you cannot change the difficulty.

One day, I stumbled upon it in the settings menu while playing the game. I only looked at it at the loading screen and while you can perfectly see the similarity there, this option was missing. It is beyond me why you can only change difficulty in the game itself instead of on the loading screen too, but the possibility is there.

A lucky discovery from my side, but maybe I was just too careless? Who knows.

*This review was written by Jennifer for switchwatch.co.uk.

Audio

The audio in the title is outstanding. Starting from music to sound effects, everything is on point and it would not make the title what it is if anything is missing. Every piece of music takes your breath away when you enter a new area. Enriching is a powerful word I often use to underline an outstanding effort of music in a game, and Dust: An Elysian Tail earns that.

Carefully translated into each and every situation, every piece of a composition by HyperDuck SoundWorks goes hand in hand with the emotions the developer wanted the player to feel.

The journey of Dust that will reveal the mystery around himself does not end with outstanding music. Mind-blowing was the voice acting though. When you are experienced and familiar with RPGs, you expect get some animated cutscenes with voices. Sometimes, they are iconic (David Hayter as Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid), sometimes a bit embarrassing (HAHAHA, Tidus) and sometimes cringy (English version of Rex in Xenoblade Chronicles 2), Dust: An Elysian Tail has brilliant voice acting from start to finish.

Yes, you heard that right, from start to finish. Every single bit of text spoken out by any of the many characters is fully voiced. Not the sometimes used “We just let him repeat sentences” or “Let her only sigh deeply”. It is always “We want our characters to show personality and emotion”.

 

Every bit that is spoken is in a high quality. From the main character to NPC; yes, they actually talk to you! Not in the cutesy (or annoying) Animal Crossing kind of made-up language. It is English and they know what they are doing too. They are so good in fact, that I often listened to the dialogue until its end instead of progressing further even though I already read it.

Visuals & Performance

Full honesty here, I did not like the art style of Dust: An Elysian Tail. This is just my personal opinion though and pushing my personal preferences fully aside, I can see the massive amount of effort put into the art.

The art style gets praised a lot and I can totally understand that. I admire the love it received. From carefully crafting the characters and NPCs, as well as the rich details you can find in the environment. Nothing feels really dead or empty, even though you sometimes continue through a forest that is more detailed and as a result, tedious to design.

Dust Image 4

Believe me when I say every stage in Dust: An Elysian Tail is detailed and gorgeous.

Hard work went into the environments and the developer should be applauded. Even the “lazy backgrounds” got a lot slapped into it to still mix up the simplistic scenery so you won’t stare too long at a white screen that is supposed to be a snowfield.

Dust: An Elysian Tail is designed as some sort of cartoonish look and though the fantasy theme always present, the realism in the environment is still intact. Monsters are various and detailed as well. It’s never “only” a wolf in three different colours like in some games.

With currently version 1.06 out, patches have been made, but during my playthrough to test this title, I have not encountered any issues. Runs smoothly on the choice of your gaming style, TV and Handheld mode.

Value

Tempted to just write three magic works here, I decided that I am keeping this section not that short at all. Although, I can tell you this: Instead of reading a long text if you should or should not buy Dust: An Elysian Tail, grab your Switch and select the eShop. Search for the title by Humble Hearts and get it. If you are curious, the three words would be this: buy it now.

$14.99 USD or £11.69 GBP is an amazing price. It actually is a steal for the high quality and amount of content you get.

*A review copy of Dust: An Elysian Tail was provided to SwitchWatch by Humble Hearts LLC.

Pros

P

Huge amount of content

P

Beautiful music and visuals

P

Great voice acting and gameplay

Cons

P

Inconsistent menus are a tiny bit confusing