Review: Dustforce

Dustforce Screenshot 1
Review: Dustforce

Platforms: PC

Game Name: Dustforce

Publisher: Hitbox Team

Developer: Hitbox Team

Genre: Side-scrolling platformer

Release Date: January 17, 2012

Developer Summary:

Clean up the world with style! As an acrobatic janitor, you are an adept force against dust and disorder. Leap and dash off walls and ceilings, and deftly traverse precarious environments. Cleanse each level swiftly and thoroughly to achieve mastery in this 2D sweep-’em-up platformer.

What We Think:

Dustforce is a typical side-scrolling platformer with a not so typical theme – I can’t recall another game, in any genre, that has used the concept of janitorial service this effectively since Roger Wilco first blasted off. If there’s one thing that Dustforce has unquestioningly going for it, it’s a sense of style. Sure the heaviest hitters in the genre are plumbers, but where the brothers Mario go for the cutesy look and spend all their time chasing after the ladies, the four poor nameless heroes of Dustforce get right down to the business at hand, with a hard-edged style all their own.

Dustforce Screenshot 1

Both the intro and in-game animation is fluid and wonderfully executed in that flat, 2D look that is often associated with Flash. A dull, muted, color palette and whimsically sombre music create a haunting atmosphere that somehow tempers the often frustratingly difficult of levels.

Dustforce Screenshot 2

When it comes to gameplay, I don’t think you’re going to find anything here you haven’t seen before. Expect plenty of double-jumping, dashing, as well as wall and ceiling running. You’ll spend all your time either point collecting by way of cleaning leaves off the ground or fighting enemies, who are all trash monsters that turn into people and animals when defeated, Sonic-style. Dustforce may not be breaking new ground here, but what it does do is very well executed.

OK, so here’s the make-or-break moment: this is the gameplay that will either have you drooling over the game, or shrugging your shoulders. The dozens of levels in Dustforce are only frustratingly difficult from a certain perspective…

Dustforce Screenshot 3

…In Dustforce getting to the end of a level is usually fairly easy, because that isn’t really the objective here. What you really want to do is collect every scrap of trash that you can, in the shortest time that you can, without breaking your combo meter. If you hate wall-jumping or repeating a level over and over to try and get your completion and finesse scores up to SS doesn’t sound appealing to you, then stay our of this trash heap. But if Super Meat Boy gets your saw-blades spinning, you’re the kind of person that might play a game they’ve already beaten in order to collect every scrap of dirt in every level and Dustforce will have you in nirvana.

Dustforce Screenshot 4

If I had a complaint, it might be that there aren’t enough levels and the muted colors tend to make them all look similar, but at least some of that problem is alleviated by the addition of a comprehensive in-game level editor, allowing you to build and share your own levels, via posting them on the website. Loading custom levels from the site can be a little tricky, but they’ve at least given you the option to download and install them manually.

Visit Dustforce – the official site

Get Dustforce on Steam

[xrr rating=”4/5″]