Dust is an impressive game considering it was made by a single person. It's not only longer than most games (especially at this price range,) but more polished as well. While the game does have some rough edges, it remains very high quality overall, much more so than many games produced by larger teams.
The game is made in classic metroidvania style with maps made from sizable rooms and areas you can return to later for secrets once you have obtained new abilities. While the game is split up into a number of different maps, fast travel is very limited, only allowing up to 2 entrance points for most maps. This makes backtracking rather tedious, though you can buy an item from the shop that lets you exit the current map from any save point to get out faster. It's worth going back and searching for all the easter egg characters though.
Dust features some fantastic art and while I'm not really a fan of the anime-style characters, they are very well-made. The larger-sized characters shown in dialogues are obviously low resolution though for some reason which makes them stand out from the rest of the game. The game world and the different graphical effects for combat abilities are just as well done, some of the best I've ever seen even.
The story is also very well-written with a good variety of characters and excellent voice acting. It's not just another cliche "save the girl" story which is a nice change of pace. I don't quite understand why every character seems to have a different accent while living in the same village though.
The combat system is where the one-man development team shows its weakness however. While the combat looks and feels good, the controls aren't terribly responsive. Executing combos requires you to press the attack buttons much faster than the animations play so I frequently found myself attacking several times after defeating a group of enemies due to queued up actions. The main problem though is that the combat is just too easy. Dust feels like a god, able to stunlock the majority of enemies in large groups with basic attacks and block almost any attack, even from bosses, though blocking it's pretty unnecessary for most of the time. The game tries to compensate for this by making enemies hit very hard, which is a poor design choice shared by most modern games. In addition, airborne attacks will lock on and dash towards any nearby targets so it's not really necessary to aim and you also have a very powerful airborne spinning attack which helps you dodge attacks as well as doing heavy damage.
The combat system starts to show more balanced and challenging combat near the end of the game when enemies start using more varied attacks and dodge your attacks more. Unfortunately by this time you will have obtained snowballing gear and a full-screen stun attack which when combined, makes quick work of any enemies short of the last level. The only actual challenging part is the final boss fight which makes for a very sudden change from the rest of the game.
The other big weakness of the game is the loot system. The items themselves are well thought-out, though mostly direct upgrades. Some of the late-game items are ridiculously powerful though, causing a massive snowball effect which can be enjoyable, but just makes the game even easier. Where the item system really shows its weakness, however, is in the drops. I have never had such a big case of "what the hell do I do with all this money" in an RPG. Gold and crafting materials drop nonstop, and by selling a crafting material to the shop, you cause it to be stocked, gaining one in the store every couple minutes. By the end of the game there were more than 200 copies of half the crafting materials stocked. What could I possibly do with them? Later in the game, you will also find tons of blacksmithing blueprints, the vast majority of which will be useless or not craftable until after you can already buy the item.
Despite having a lot to say about the weaknesses of the game, they are only very small marks against it. The game is still fantastic overall and one I would not hesitate to recommend. Even though the combat is very easy and the controls a bit unresponsive, it's still fun. Overabundant loot and useless blacksmithing recipes don't affect the game much, though it makes me wonder how much better the game could have been if these things were improved.
As a last note I did run into a few bugs in the game. There's a persistent stutter every couple seconds while playing that seems to pop up whenever you enter a new map and clears up after a couple minutes. It's a bit annoying. The game also crashed trying to play the ending cinematic which is a first for me.