Steam on Shuffle: Dustforce
I would consider myself a game collector, a digital connoisseur if you will. Alright, I’m a fucking hoarder. Between Steam sales and Humble Bundles A & E could film a new reality show shot on location in my hard drive. Of course while accumulating this digital library I’ve neglected the part where I actually play the games I buy. In honor of the newest installment of the Steam Summer sale adding to my batch of impulse purchases I’ve come up with a plan. I have loaded up my entire Steam library in a spreadsheet and enlisted the aid of a random number generator to start making my way through my growing back log…. heh… growing log.
First up is a game where you play a janitor cleaning up leaves, dust, and trash. They call it a sweep-em-up platformer. When the fuck did I buy this and what impaired mental state was I in? Whatever, the random number gods have chosen this fate for me so I’ll give it a shot.
Start it up and yes it really is a bunch of cleaning people. Weird ass premise for a game. The art and the music are really damn good though.
Once the tutorial starts, my entire attitude changed. This is an old school, fast paced platform game with some actual skill required. You run up walls and slide down ramps sweeping shit up to rack up combo points which will effect your ranking for that level. Get hit by an enemy, fall in a pit or spikes, or go more than 5 seconds without sweeping up or hitting something and your combo drops back to zero. To get a perfect score on a level you have to sweep up every bit of crap off the floors, walls, and ceilings plus never lose your combo. The early levels can be tough but some are just down right sadistic.
Controls are smooth, movement is fluid, and the pacing is great. It’s like the old Sonic the Hedgehog games where you can clear a level in one motion as long as you had your timing right. There’s about 50 levels in 4 different environments to keep you busy plus an option to build your own or download custom levels. One downside of course is that a good chunk of the levels are locked and require getting 100% on other levels to get keys and unlock them. That means you’re not only going to be running the same level over and over but there’s that moment when you miss a jump and lose your combo which makes it pointless to even keep playing. Those are always the most infuriating types of games to me, where one tiny mistake means you need to reset the level over and over until you get it perfect or smash your controller to bits. That awesome soundtrack suddenly becomes your enemy, it’s soothing ambient tones mocking my frustration. I will find you, background music, I will find you and I will end you.
At the start of each level you have your choice of 4 different characters, at first they don’t seem all that different but after a few runs you will pick up on the subtle advantages each has. Higher jumps, longer dashes, faster movement. You’ll need to pick the right cleaner for the job if you want that 100%.
There’s a local multiplayer mode too which is damn rare in the PC world. Up to four friends can play off one machine in capture the flag or survival modes that are a ton of fast paced broom smacking fun. Unfortunately that’s the only multiplayer, some type of LAN or online option would have been nice.
Strange concept and utter rage enduing levels aside, Dustforce looks, sounds, and plays incredibly well and will be sucking up many hours of play time from me. At least until I lose my shit and punt my monitor down the street.