First of all.
This is one of those games. The game where you actually believe in the adventure, where you actually feel yourself inside this world. It's a tale that goes on for a great period of time and makes you savour every single momment of it. And in the end. After dedication, amazing gameplay, character interaction. It's one of those rare games
Where you do not want the story to end.
And who wouldn't really? This game is a jewel. This game is EVERYTHING you could ever possibly want. Lemme explain it to you.
A bit of background. First of all this game was made by one guy. Dean Dodrill. Keep that in mind when I go on and say he spent four complete years on this project.
Very dedicated guy for the content he made. I assure you.
And I assure you. There is going to be more. Judging by the story content and every bit of plot it throws at you. Along with the confirmation of the developper. There is going to be more someday. Not now. But someday.
Why am I excited? Here are my thoughts during the entire gameplay.
The first thing you see when oppening the game are the graphics. A luscious rain falls on the background and as soon as you begin the game you realise something really, REALLY cool. (Sidenote This port on Computer really adapts itself well for an Xbox port. If my memory doesn't fail me you can plug an Xbox controller if you wish. But why would you do that when the Pc settings are so well ported?),
The game is hand drawn. In fact. EVERYTHING is hand drawn and well colored. The colors are flashy and memorable, including the amazing shade of blue your main character has. Every landscapes from plants to creatures to other characters, buildings. All of it is hand drawn.
It's nuts. Every thing Was designed for it to be absolutely Stunning making me gaze in awe and wonder like a 10 year old a couple of times. So when it comes to quality. It is heartwarming.
I love it. and it makes me think alot about Child Of Light and Rayman Origins which are both great.
So you begin this game and the game throws you this simple almost fairy tale like story.
You are Dust, A cloaked and straw-hat wearing swordman who has woken up in the forest, alone, who can't remember his own path, and his guided by a magical sword accross the land to repel the evil racist millitary campaign of General Gaius. And so you take on the fight along with your trusty Nimbat sidekick named Fidget to both save the land and remember who you are in the proccess.
Recapped like that it, sounds like absolute cheese. But it's not. I assure you that this very basic and simple plot holds a lot more within it than you could think. You end up caring a lot towards both the main characters within the story. Your partner, Fidget, looking very similar to Daxter from the Jak series, probably has the most adorable and well thought personality that I have ever seen. Her voice her comments her attitude, everything about this side kick is incredibly adorable. And she actually helps you along the way by providing you some of the best attacks in the game when combined with the sword making you feel like she is actually really useful. Something rare from a sidekick.
The story is one of those fairy tale stories that are meant to keep you enchanted along the way. And I absolutely love it.
The gameplay works as a 2D beat em all type of games with a, although lacking in numbers, selection of very useful combos meant for every situation. As all the combos are worth using, you do not really feel the need to add any other combos into it. There is also a great parry system included which you need to use well in order to beat certain monsters.
You also gain experience and money outside of combat allowing you to level the stats of your main character and buy items and equipments. Defeating ennemies allows you to gain ingredients from them for you to combine and create stronger weapons, rings and armor making it for a constant character progression as you wander the land.
Quests are given to you giving your new locations and purposes to do things in exchange of very very useful rewards. Some of these quests are absolutely crazy with good ideas (The box quest being one of my favorite).
Outside of combat. It is an exploration game very similar to Metroid. You search the land for secrets the map is separated into rooms and your characters gains new abillities as you advance making you feel this constant progression.
Level designs are stunning. When I said you explore the land. You EXPLORE the land. With all of it's hazards you go through forests, plains, cavers, mountains, tundra's, ghost house's, volcanoes. Giving you a lot of variety for level exploration and enviromental hazards like poisonous mushrooms and spikes, mines, avalanches, lava. Making it just a jolly good ride all the way.
I cannot find a single flaw in the gameplay except for the higher difficulties setting.
Those are only minor nitpicks. For example. Hardest difficulty setting, you are zero invincibility frames and hazards are increased in frequency. (Like poison mushrooms spraying on the floor more frequently). It makes certain environment hazard a complete atrocious pain and almost a difficulty spike in certain areas as the hazards are just shooting everywhere (You will see once you reach the cave level on the hardest setting). Another example would be that if you fell in a pile of lava. There is a good chance that on the harder difficulty setting you might get stuck endlessly in lava due to you having no invincibility frames making it a pain when.
Fighting the last boss in a volcano filled with instant killing lava where as in a lower difficulty setting, you could easily jump away after getting lava-burned.
END OF SPOILER.
That's a very small nitpick though. The rest of the game is mighty fine and challenging in the other difficulties making it an amazing experience all the way through.
And yes. For a beat em up. The game is 20 hours long on average. Which is almost twice as long than a usual beat em up.
Did i say this game was made by one person?
Should I really tell you if it's good or not? From what I said above, this game is an absolute godsend made out of gold and pristine quality.
It was so good I did not want it to end.
How many games have ever given you this feeling of pure commitment?
It is one of the rare games I will never forget and treasure in my heart forever.
So in recap
Amazing hand drawn graphic almost shimmering you blind with their beauty.
Great combat gameplay with crafting and a level up system making you feel progress all the way through.
Metroid/Catlevania exploration to the finest degrees rewarding you with both upgrades and easter eggs.
Very in depth story overall that starts off pretty slow and cheesy and slowly escalates into something great.
It's only 15$ while it could easily top alot of triple A 60$ titles on the market.
20 hours long gameplay which is a great bargain for only 15$.
Great finale along with a certainty of a sequel (More Fidget) in the future.
Unforgiving environmental hazards at higher difficulty.
A sort of slow and cheesy start when it comes to story telling (Gets way better after a while)
Boss fights are a little deceiving but great nonetheless.
Other than that, It is pure gold and I recommend you to buy it for yourself. Buy it as a gift for your friends. Support Dean Dodrill (He deserves all the praises in the world). I can't tell you how much this game has claimed such a cozy spot in my heart. Probably one of my favorite games of all time.
So get this game.
You will love it i assure you.
You will play this game gazing upong it's amazing story and gameplay. Laughing in joy.
And will slowly reach the end of your journey and more and more you will feel this anguish building up inside you.
I don't want this tale to end.