Cleaning up was never so much fun – or challenging.
I’d like to think that there aren’t a lot of things that would make me lose my cool. I want to believe that should I feel close to losing the plot, I can tap into a zen-like state of mind that will bring me back to a serene sense of being. But after spending some time with Dustforce on the PC, I can safely say that I’ve not only used up whatever zen I had, but I’m ready to beat up anyone holding a broom.
Dustforce takes platforming games to a whole different level, thanks in part to its excruciating difficulty. I’m not kidding here – I consider myself to be a pretty good gamer, but this game has some serious qualms about getting a perfect score. The objective is very simple – you pick one of four janitors and run around various levels sweeping up dust and dirt. While this may not sound quite thrilling, the janitors are able to move with surprising grace and poise, and end up pulling off some ridiculous stunts such as running up walls and ceilings. Maintaining your momentum is the key to getting through the level – if you break your concentration or run into one of the level’s many hazards, you have to start that section again and attempt to rebuild your combo. While the initial levels casually introduce you to combos and keeping your momentum, the later areas really are a test of concentration and skill as they ramp up in difficulty.
What makes the game even more challenging is that in order to truly finish a level and obtain a key to unlock future levels, you have to obtain a perfect score. This involves cleaning up all the dust in a level as well as doing so within a given time limit. If you don’t, then you simply have to redo the level again until you succeed. At times this hardly felt fair, as I was so close to finishing a level before I plummeted to my doom or missed out on a speck of dust hiding somewhere in the level, and had to replay the entire thing.
Apart from its rather strict difficulty, Dustforce is at its heart quite an enjoyable platform game. I did find it a bit cumbersome to play the game with the keyboard, but I think after some practice most gamers will be able to work out the game’s rhythm and how it controls. The game’s cartoon-esque presentation also works out in its favor, with the janitors blurring as they zip and move through the level. But by far the game’s audio is the show-stealer here, with serene beats helping you to keep your cool in often frustrating times.
Dustforce is a game that you will stop playing and then want to play again to get that perfect score. It’s not for everyone, as some gamers will find the difficulty a bit too strict for their liking. Still, if you’re looking for a game that isn’t afraid of challenging your skills, then Dustforce is the one for you.