Dust: An Elysian Tail
10 cert, Microsoft Studios, Xbox Live ****
Arise, gamer and face your fantasy-genre clichéd destiny! Glib comments aside, Dust: An Elysian Tail is an attractive role-playing game (RPG). Amazingly, it’s mostly the work of one person; Dean Dodrill (aka Humble Hearts). Two things immediately distinguish this game: The 2D, side-scrolling game-play (all too rare these days) and the adorable painterly animation. Every area, from the woodlands to the villages and caves, moves elegantly, as leaves float, animals gambol and trolls stalk. When our hero, Dust, awakens in a forest, he’s not sure how he got there. Thankfully, he soon discovers a talking sword and cheeky squirrel-like sidekick (named Fidget) to help him find his way. Soon, Dust is on an epic journey to save a humble village from invaders, and to discover his origins. The game-play is satisfying hack-and slack combat (more sparkling and less bloody than the description suggests) mixed with exploration and cut-scenes. Maybe it’s a little twee for some and the dialogue could be better, but Dust: An Elysian Tail is a distinctive, accomplished and graceful fantasy RPG.