If someone were to try and sell me on the concept of a game where you play what can essentially be summed up as dust-cleaning Janitor with the agility and skills of a Ninja…well, I’d probably offer them a quizzical look and a thought, “That will never work!” I suppose it’s a good thing I don’t develop games because that couldn’t be further from the truth where Dustforceis concerned.
Having begun its life on PC/Mac by Hitbox Team (a small group of four visionaries; Matt Bush, Lexie Dostal, Terence Lee,& Woodley Nye), Dustforce was immediately recognized as something unique, truly special, and ultimately right in line with Capcom’s abundant history of twitch-mechanic gameplay titles like Mega Man, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, etc. Now, that isn’t to sayDustforce shares anything with the aforementioned titles, aside from a relatively demanding skill level on later states. In fact, it has been compared to other indy titles in the genre such as Super Meat Boy, and most definitely N+.
Players control one of four unique members of the Dustforce, all of whom share the same move sets, but possess unique stats that effect things like overall jumping height, speed, and more. Gameplay is incredibly easy to pick up (challenging to master), with momentum based moves, running, wall-jumping & double jumps, and mid-air dashes. The overall goal is to progress through a level as quickly as possible while cleaning up dust and debris across numerous stages littered with obstacles, traps, and the occasional adversary. Upon completing a level, players are ranked on a number of factors, including Finesse. Finesse is scored by maintaining a combo meter throughout the level, maintaining speed, continuously cleaning up debris/dust, and avoiding obstacles or enemy attacks. Take a hit? It affects your Finesse. Proceed through the level too slowly? That also affects your Finesse rating. Overall Finesse and completion is tallied into a final letter-based score rating from D-A, with S reserved for perfect Finesses completion of a level. Scoring higher and earning S ranks also nets players with various colored keys that can be used to unlock new levels in the overworld.
Socially, Dustforce is tied to a sense of competitive bragging rights. Level replays are stored online and can be shared, in the PS3 version, directly to YouTube.
On the multiplayer side, Dustforce features a number of unique modes for up to four players locally including Survival, and King of the Hill. King of the Hill allows players to take on the role of a Dustforce Janitor, cleaning levels against rival players that can lay dust/debris throughout the level. The console editions will also feature 150 of the top-rater user created levels;sadly, the level editor is not included from the PC version. The PlayStation versions also support platform specific features such as Cross-Save & Cross-Play, however Vita owners looking for a little Cross-Buy love will have to look elsewhere.
Dustforce is available now on the PlayStation Store for $9.99 (PS3 & PSV), and on the Xbox Live Marketplace for $9.99. If you like your action platform games with easy to pick-up gameplay with the challenge of retro games you may have played from the 80’s/90’s, then Dustforce is just what the Doctor ordered. Pick it up today and get cleaning!