Have You Played… Dustforce

Rarely have I gotten better at something as swiftly and satisfyingly as Dustforce. A game about sweeping up. Except sweeping in elegantly swishy moves, in which you’ll replay levels to master the fluidity of your swooshes, mastering its pinpoint precise controls, until you get that top mark of an ‘S’.

It becomes a game about sliding along ceilings, leaping off walls, double-jumping your way to utter glory. Or failing to do so, over and over, until your fists bleed in frustration. It’s about combos, stringing together your sweeping moves with utter perfection, and seeing yourself on the high score chart above your sworn enemies.

The game measures your dust/dirt/leaf collection, the finesse with which you did it (the combos) and the time you did it in. This is then compared on the online scoreboards. And rather brilliantly, the ghost replay of any score can be watched in your game. Want to know how to perfect your time? Watch those better than you, and attempt to mimic it.

It’s a sublime game, and I worry too quickly lost to time. Definitely one to dig out, on Steam for £7.


  1. deadly.by.design says:

    Dustforce is a game that I wanted to love.

    In the end, though, I simply can’t get into it. Pretty sure I haven’t even lasted long enough to receive all four Steam trading cards for playing. Oh well. At least the developers got some support.

    • brulleks says:

      Same here. I’m looking to get a few more trading cards to flog before GTA5 comes out though, so will probably give it another go soon.

  2. dorobo says:

    I have this game but never got in to it seriously. My guess is that using a keyboard for it is a waste of a great game?

    • Klydefrog says:

      I think in the case of Dustforce it doesn’t really matter if you use a keyboard or gamepad, both work equally well and judging by reddit and youtube there’s a fairly even split among the top players. I love Dustforce but my problem was I couldn’t help obsessing over it, I spent hours perfecting the first few levels and I ran out of energy to continue playing. I think I’ll go back to it though it really is great.

      • cheesyboy says:

        “I love Dustforce but my problem was I couldn’t help obsessing over it, I spent hours perfecting the first few levels and I ran out of energy to continue playing.”
        I did much the same. To be honest, the early levels suited my ability more – was able to get a SS ranking on them and gun for something approaching a “perfect” run (not close to the top guys, mind) with a bit of practice. The harder levels are a bit too much for me. It’s a really good game, though.

        I’ve used a gamepad only, but might go back to it with keys. I experimented quite a bit to get a decent keybinding on the pad, but it never felt quite right.

    • Xocrates says:

      The keyboard controls may actually be better than controller. The movement is clearly designed with the more binary style of keyboard movement in mind.

      I did plug in the controller a few times when there was a bit more combat though.

  3. Niymiae says:

    300 hours and still clocking, one of my favourite games of all time, without a doubt.

    The article doesn’t mention it, but the game recently got a nice free update, with more than 100 awesome community made maps preinstalled, a new “main map” to navigate, new tutorials to better introduce newbies to the game, a new (insane) secret level and some other goodies and bug fixes.

    Community is small but friendly and active, mostly on IRC and dedicated subreddit.

    p.s.: Keyboard player here, working on SS’ing the (now second) most difficult level of the game, Yotta Difficult.

  4. wavedash says:

    It’s worth noting that Dustforce has a very active custom mapping team, and that the custom maps are really damn good.

  5. Jalan says:

    I haven’t since they pushed the DX update. Don’t really feel inclined to go back, despite reading that access to the “harder” levels is now more manageable for those of us who couldn’t pull off the crazy acrobatic janitorial feats required to reach them. Fun game, just not the type that would keep me coming back (maybe if I was more focused on topping leaderboards/etc).

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      It’s less that the hard levels are in easier to reach locations, more that the levels are arranged in order of difficulty. ALSO, it has a proper introductory level that actually teaches you how to pull off those advanced, “crazy janitorial acrobatics”. I had so, so much more fun with it after the DX release, and still go back just to potter around from time to time. Actually in the top couple hundred on a few of my fav maps, too.

  6. Wedge says:

    I haven’t played it much since the original release way back when (it’s really fun with an arcade stick). But the soundtrack has never left my playlist.

  7. Urthman says:

    It’s an addictively-challenging platformer, but the colorful art, the satisfying swishyness of sweeping up (the leaves especially) and the brilliant soundtrack really elevate the game into something special.

    I also appreciate that the different characters have significant differences in how they play. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to balance a level so that it can be done both with a regular double-jumping character and also with a character who can make smaller triple-jumps.

  8. Lobotomist says:

    One of best platformers ever made

  9. kiceg says:

    It’s one of my most favorite platformers of all time – at first I couldn’t grasp the controls, everything felt too slow compared to Super Meat Boy, but when I discovered what you can do with dash and what possibilities it gives, the cloyster of fun opened up. I have 60 hours played and still counting.

    Also, the soundtrack is so magical, I absolutely love this music. link to lifeformed.bandcamp.com

    Seriously, play this shit.

  10. Dragoslove says:

    So, I paid $15 and I’ve played 969 hours. If only movies were that good on entertainment for price. I just recently finished Yotta (the hardest non-hidden stage in the game) but I still have SS’s left on Zetta and Yotta. I’m still astounded at how much this game has captured me in its seemingly innocuous task of sweeping dirty places. The stock levels are great, but I think whats really done it for me is the amazing community made maps. Major shoutouts to Towlie and Meark for their work on easily accessible maps that are both beautiful to look at and a blast to play.