Game Reviews

Dust: An Elysian Tail - A great game with a few problems

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Dust: An Elysian Tail - A great game with a few problems

Dust: An Elysian Tail is gorgeous. But then we knew that already. It was gorgeous when it first came out over three years ago.

It's a fluid, chaotic cartoon, beautifully animated and with more charm in one of its gently flapping capes than you'll find in a handful of the cookie-cutter arcade games on the App Store.

But some of the mania of the combat system does devolve into full-blown flobby nonsense in this touchscreen version. And while that's not the end of the world, it means this isn't the definitive edition of Dust's story.


The game is a stylish side-scrolling hack and slasher with some RPG elements. You control your attacks with on-screen buttons, and slide a finger around to move.

You can change how the inputs work, adding more buttons if you'd prefer, but each method has its own confusions and constraints.

For the most part it works, but some of the moves you're trying to pull off can be a bit fiddly. And the lack of button response means bashing out the intricate combos is a bit of a pain.

On the lower difficulty settings that's not much of a problem, but with the challenge cranked up you'll be cursing at the scheme's failure a little too often.

That's not to say there isn't a lot of fun to be had here. The fast-paced violence is a real sight to behold, and the clever twists it adds to the action RPG template will put a smile on your face.

But when the timing of button presses is so key, and you sometimes find yourself just poking empty parts of the screen to no effect whatsoever, you will end up grinding your teeth.


The controls aren't a deal breaker though. Yes they're a bit annoying, but there's enough sheer frenetic energy in Dust: An Elysian Tail, as well as a strong enough story, that you'll plough through regardless.

It might not have the precision of its console counterparts, and that's a shame, but if you only play on mobile, or you don't have any other device to play the game on, it's still well worth a look.

In the end this is very much a game reshaped to fit on a platform it's not really designed for. And while it's not perfect, it's a pretty good attempt.

Dust: An Elysian Tail - A great game with a few problems

There's a great game here, and while it is a little hamstrung by the controls, it's still worth checking out
Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.