“And so we have prototypes of the character walking and running, and we try the prototype, and if you feel good just walking in the game, and running in the game, then you know that’s a go sign for you to move forward.” – Toshihiro Kondo, President of Falcom, in an interview with Gamasutra
Dustforce is a game where it feels good just walking and running. Then you throw in air jumps, sliding down slopes for bursts of speed, samurai-style ultimate attacks, and running upside down on ceilings and it feels amazing.
Dustforce is a platformer with dozens of beautiful levels. There’s no story that I can see other than “The world’s a mess and as a super-powered janitor, it’s your job to clean it up!” The music is incredible (reminiscent of the water stages in the original Donkey Kong Country games) and just the thing to calm the player after they’ve messed up on a hard spot yet again. The character animations of the four playable characters (each of which has slightly different attributes) is fluid and enjoyable.
Dustforce is a score attack game. Merely reaching the ending of a level doesn’t accomplish much. To gain the keys necessary to unlock additional laters in the game requires a SS rank in each level. This is gained by cleaning everything that needs to be cleaned and maintaining the combo counter (it resets to zero if you take too long between cleaning or attacking something). Beyond gaining SS ranks, the game also features online leaderboards for each level where your completion time is taken into account as well.
Dustforce isn’t a hugely varied game. There are no boss fights and level gimmicks are rare. It’s a focused game and too much variety would ruin that focus.
Dustforce is the time trials of Mirror’s Edge turned into a 2D game.
Dustforce is a solid contender for Best Platformer of 2012 and it’s only January.
Dustforce is glorious.