‘DustForce’ a refreshing twist on a classic formula

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By Kristofer Hammer

When was the last time you found yourself playing a game on your computer rather than a console?

I’m not referring to in-browser based website games like Kongregate, but to the unique experience of “indie” games. It is in these smaller games that players often get the most creativity out of a developer because there is no higher company restricting what needs to be accomplished.

This is not to say that all independent games are good, high quality, or worth playing; however, some do rise above the rest. DustForce, the first in the series of indie games, falls under this category.

It is a difficult game to describe, so I suggest watching the video gameplay on YouTube to get a better idea of how it works. DustForce is reminiscent of 2D plat-formers like Super Mario Bros. but has taken its own hold on the genre. But what makes this game stand out?

Players take part in the game as a “janitor” with ninja-like athleticism. However, the caveat is that this game does not progress for those lacking the skill, determination, and persistence to truly learn and master what makes the game as fluid as the game-play video shows it to be. In other terms, levels are unlocked by getting a perfect score in the two categories of Completion and Finesse. In terms of actual game-play, DustForce is very similar to N+, which is now available on Xbox Live, but was originally a browser based game.

Obtaining a perfect score, though, is done by cleaning up everything in a given level, as well as keeping up your combo meter throughout the entire level, which you lose either when hit by an enemy or by taking too long to get to the next spot to clean.

Much like other difficult plat-formers, the key is memorizing the level layout, mastering the controls, and playing with persistence. The reward for a perfect completion is high and well worth the effort, overshadowing any previous failures.

This is not to say that you won’t have fun playing the level with a bad score, because with the fluidity of the whole experience and the shortness of each individual level, it is never a hassle to hit the retry button at the end of each attempt.

Each level is unique and fun in its own right and with four different locations, each with its own theme, there is a great variety that I personally never tire of.The game is difficult, but not due to poor mechanics, because the controls are, in fact, very tight and responsive.

The character models are all very well made and have their own personal aesthetic attributes that make them unique. Each character does have slight distinctions in how they control, mostly in their attacks, but none of them has any certain advantage over the others at any level.

I went into DustForce with little knowledge of the game and have come out wholly and completely satisfied. I highly recommend giving this game a try. DustForce is a brilliant take on a old game formula.

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