Dusty Revenge is an action platformer with a wild-west inspired tale of murder, revenge and anger. Featuring the usual suspects: the completely evil bad-guy, the dead love interest, the constantly-brooding protagonist and of course the ever present Artillery Bear. All hail Artillery Bear.
Well I would hail him if the bloody git would do his job. I swear he’s the most idle guy in the world, a number of times I’ve used up one of the five assistance moves I’ve got for him to give me a bit of cover. He looks to have fired but as soon as the focus is back on me, nothing arrives. I’m starting to wonder if he ever fires at all. Don’t get me started on the sniper dog as well, for a marks…dog(?) he can’t shoot to save his life, even when the crosshair is smack on the target. Performance anxiety.
Performance anxiety seems to be a theme of the game which is a bit of a shame. From the outside looking in Dusty Revenge has some great visuals, music and the core features of what should make a strong platformer. The problem is that it wastes it’s strengths by overbalancing them with weaknesses.
The first thing I have to point out is that for a game on the PC the lack of mouse function is unforgivable. Keybinding is not an option and only two of the attacks are bound to the mouse so to actually use your full range of attacks you need to use the arrow keys and WASD to move. This is by far the most pressing thing they need to sort out before the games release.
Another weakness is the lack of balance at the moment. Regardless of the difficulty you choose, you only really need to use the heavy attack. This is an AOE attack that also stuns anybody it hits. Challenge then waves farewell with nary a backwards glance. The only time you’ll find yourself dying is through falling into a hole.
Where Dusty Revenge shines is through the visuals and the music. There is a lot of detail to be seen when playing, with a nice crisp art style. The cutscenes are also good having a graphical novel style to them, depicting the events while the narrator goes through the story.
Albeit that isn’t always a good thing. In an unusual case what we have is something trying too hard to have a story. The attempts to make Dusty more ‘badass’, or whatever they’re attempting, feel way too forced and it ends up becoming something to roll your eyes at. I can understand anger in a story of a loved one being killed, but immediate hostility to everybody you meet apart from the few who join you for the most tenuous of reason takes it too far.
What makes it worse is the voice acting. Where the script on paper is alright, some broken English but still easy enough to follow but a bit hammed up the voice acting takes it to a whole new level. Whomever did the narration was trying their hardest to put on a gruff voice that you may hear in a western film.
Regardless of faults up to now, this is redeemable. That’s the beauty of beta. Sure, the story isn’t going to improve any, it’s always going to feel like it’s trying too hard but by improving the combat, giving it more balance and of course fixing the controls and you will get a platformer with some good action and a cheesy story. We can all go for that if it’s fun.