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Oooo, Pretty - Dust: An Elysian Tale Now On Steam

It's like they say: Fight fire with purple spaceships that have fire painted on them.

Dust is not often a pretty thing. It’s grimy and chunky and prone to congealing in hairy globules on only the shiniest, most typically attractive surfaces. Also, it’s been locked in an eternal war with lungs since the dawn of time, and I consider myself a close ally of all things breathing-related since they keep me alive. Dust: An Elysian Tale, however, is a different story. Its hand-painted 2D stylings are utterly gorgeous, glowing with color and dancing with life. I want to play it right nowwwwww- oh, I can. Dust has piled on top of Steam, which – in addition to sounding like a physical impossibility – is very good news.

Originally, the heavy hitting hack ‘n’ slasher first showed up on Xbox 360 last August. Now though, its all ours and Xbox can’t have it back. Here’s the basic premise, for those just joining us mid-post:

“As the mysterious warrior, Dust, your action-packed journey will take you from peaceful glades to snowy mountaintops and beyond. At your disposal is the mythical Blade of Ahrah, capable of turning its wielder into an unstoppable force of nature, and the blade’s diminutive guardian, Fidget. Take on a variety of quests from friendly villagers, discover ancient secrets and powerful upgrades hidden throughout the massive, open world, and uncover the story of an ancient civilization on the brink of extinction as you fight to uncover your own past.”

Fidget, I guess, is the talking anime cat thing. I don’t quite understand how it got a job guarding an almighty monster sword that’s at least twice its size, but OK.

Combat, meanwhile, is apparently a mix of combos and air juggles backed up by deft, compulsively paced character progression. Enemies teem like ants, and you squash them like giant ants who swing swords and shoot magic and aren’t really ants at all. The wildly chaotic-looking action unfolds across a series of interconnected, non-linear stages/eye candy mountains, so think Metroidvania and you’ll have the gist.

On top of all that, the PC version gets the benefit of new control schemes (though honestly, I imagine controller still bests them with ease) and “a wide range” of graphical options. Really though, so long as the much-loved core game made the transition fully intact, I think we’ll be OK. Has anyone had the chance to try it yet?

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Nathan Grayson

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