Indie Review: Dustforce
Dustforce is a 2D platformer developed by the indie studio Hitbox Team. You play as an acrobatic janitor tasked with the mission of cleaning up leaves, dust and all unwanted dirt.
- Worth The Time?Yes, the game offers enough challenge and replay value to warrant a definite purchase.
- Things LovedI loved the visuals of the game with its simple and bright colour scheme throughout which livened up the platforming and combat sections tremendously. Character animations and physics within the game were also impeccably well crafted.
- Things HatedThe only negative thing I can say about the game is in relation to its controls. I cannot help thinking that the controls at times can be a bit tricky to get the hang of. The issue being that sometimes response times with the controls can be less than satisfactory on a keyboard.
- RecommendationIf you enjoyed platformers like Sonic Generations, Rayman Origins, Braid and others. Then this is for you.
- Name: Dustforce
- Genre: Indie, Platformer
- Players: 1-2
- Multiplayer: Yes
- Platforms: Steam
- Developer: Hitbox Team
- Publisher: None
- Price: $9.99 (R80)
- Reviewed On: PC
Essentially, the game runs on combo system so depending on the amount of dust-related items you dispose of your score will be reflected as such. This also involves completing the level you’re on in as quick a time as possible because you are graded according to your completed time and your combo score. If you mess up and die your combo counter is restarted and you resume from a checkpoint within the level, similar to the checkpoint setup you get in Sonic. If you accumulate enough combo points and get a high enough score you can initiate an area effect special which rids an area of dirt with immense sweeping power.
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There are four characters to pick from: a male janitor with a broom, a female janitor with a broom, a beret wearing female janitor equipped with feather dusters and an elderly male janitor who uses a vacuum cleaner. The game offers you a range of different levels to overcome, with a few starting levels to get the dust ball rolling. They are of course all different difficulties. Completing a level with a perfect score will unlock new ones, and so on and so forth.
Levels consist of vast ramps, inclines and obstacles to overcome with a persistence of spikes, falling rubbish bags, sludge, leaves and enemies whose dirty ways you have to combat. But since you are an acrobatic janitor no feat is unattainable. Simply you have to slide down dust covered slopes of sludge and leafy matter sweeping as you go along, doing flips over obstacles and hitting dust boys, dirt ninjas and sludge shooters. You can traverse ceilings, walls and inclines with simple slides and the use of speed and momentum.
Your character of choice can dash, jump, follow through with light and heavy sweep attacks. Also, your character’s special attack obliterates enemies within your radius. So accumulating enough bonus combo points and doing it in record speed means you can dish out loads of extensive damage upon your foes. Many of the levels whilst requiring enough speed to complete the challenge may also require exploration throughout for bonuses. With over 50 levels of varying difficulty you have to be conscious of where you leap and dash off of because you might miss something, or kill your character in the process.
Multiplayer in Dustforce increases the replay value of the game immensely. You and a friend can join in a local co-op and challenge other players online. If you don’t have a friend nearby you can also play against another player on a ” 1 vs. 1″ basis which is quite challenging. In these modes, you can play as either the janitors or a selection of enemies from the game. The janitors have to clean up a level in record time. Those playing as the enemy characters have to dirty the level to combat the sweeping of the janitors. This provides a great challenge for players.
Visually, the game is simple and has a bright colourful scheme throughout which livens up the platforming and combat sections tremendously. Character animations and physics within the game are impeccably well crafted. However, I cannot help thinking that the controls at times can be a bit tricky to get the hang of. The issue being that sometimes response times with the controls can be less than satisfactory on a keyboard. This issue was somewhat alleviated by using a controller which I feel should be recommended for the game. This is due to it’s sidecrolling platformer nature and general ‘arcade’ feel. Otherwise, the game flows quite well and with the help of a punchy upbeat electronic soundtrack the game is a overall fun experience.
If you enjoy platforming games then Dustforce is a sure recommendation for the avid fan. As an indie game it really shines with it’s great flow and fluidity in it’s gameplay design. But by the same token the controls may be a bit unresponsive at times when a challenge becomes complicated. But the nature of the game itself is trial and error. So expect to die a lot as you try to get that perfect score. Dustforce itself is a great game and is good value for money. Yet it’s not the best platformer available on Steam.