One Fell Sweep

A part of me wants to open with a long winded joke about how Dustforce will force you to wipe your Vita free of the dust that wraps it. You know, start the blog off with a chuckle.

Fortunately, while “the internet” would have you think otherwise, the Vita does in fact have games, and is likely on its 18th recharge from the days you’ve poured into OlliOlli.

So while you may not be hard up for Vita games, you need to make room for Dustforce (perhaps in a literal sense, those memory cards fill up fast).
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There’s little that rivals the feeling of growth, of feeling stronger as a game progresses. I’m not talking about a game handing over a bigger gun in its last chapter, but of knowing your skills have improved. Think of something like Punch-Out!!; from the start and through to the end the protagonist has the same skill set. As the game progresses, you improve. Dustforce operates in much the same way. You can’t level-up or enhance your Hoover wielding hero, but in the hands of a seasoned player you’ll see movements you never thought to be possible.

How Dustforce pulls this off is with a simple control scheme. Players navigate the levels as they would any platformer; there’s no trick to running, jumping, and attacking on display here. The trick is where you can run, which turns out to be anywhere. Dirt and grime resides anywhere and everywhere, and in turn the Dustforce crew is a nimble bunch. Should there be any mildew on the ceiling, players angle the analog stick upwards and the protagonist continues their route. Momentum only carries the player so far before they fall, so its important to see your next destination and continue your duties.

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With this simple control scheme comes a lot of flexibility. It isn’t long before you’re twirling that tiny Vita nipple around like an actor would in a required “bonding with child through video games” scene. The game’s progression ties beautifully into this system. While I’ve made my qualms with content gating known, Dustforce unlocks stages based on your performance, not trinket retrieval.

Once an area has been cleaned, you’re given a ranking based on thoroughness and style. The better the ranking the more points earned toward obtaining a key. The key is used to open up the locked stages you find in the hub. What all this means is the harder levels become available when you’re ready for them. While you may need to go back and improve your scores, it’s all to better your abilities. It eases frustration and makes sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew.

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I’m really happy with Dustforce. Going back and improving my scores isn’t something I tend to enjoy, but being able to see my abilities improve is such a treasure. It’s not from grinding out XP from a batch of slimes, but from a want to keep playing such a terrific game. I can’t put the game down, which means I’m getting better, which unlocks more for me to play. Do your best to give Dustforce a shot.

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