When I was asked about a week ago to cover an upcoming indie PC game called Dustforce, I was skeptical. I’m usually not very up to date on the indie scene when it comes to video games. That isn’t because the games are bad by any means, because they aren’t. I usually pass over indie games because, as our regular readers will know, I’m a sucker for story-driven gameplay, and any game that has little to no story usually doesn’t hold my admittedly hard-to-earn interest. There have been very few indie games in history that have had such addictive gameplay that I can completely look past the simple nature of the game. Dustforce is one of them.
Dustforce is a unique mix of gameplay styles between Super Meat Boy, N+ and, as odd as it sounds, Chibi-Robo. Yes, the cleaning game for the GameCube. You play as an elite and acrobatic team of cleaners armed with brooms, dusters and vacuums. Your task is to use your ninja-style reflexes to rid the many levels of dust and dirt. This means not only doing a thorough job cleaning up the ground, but up walls, ceilings, over spikes, and destroying enemies, such as my personal favorite, the DUST BEAR.
What’s cool about the gameplay is how streamlined it is. With the preview build I got my hands on, I played the same few levels for hours because it was incredibly satisfying to watch my hand-drawn character leap through the air like the very trash he was cleaning. It takes a bit of time to get used to using which controls in reaction to what’s going on screen, but once that reaction time has been optimized, the game is incredibly rewarding.
The game mixes in a combo system with how well you do with cleaning. Your combo goes up as you keep cleaning, and you lose the combo if you stand idle for a bit or get hit by an enemy. The speed at which you finish the level and how high your combo gets determine your overall score for the level.
I’m also addicted to the soundtrack. I know an indie game with an 8-bit soundtrack isn’t the most original thing in the world, but it fits very well with the art style and the gameplay.
Although I was only playing a preview build of the game, it’s clear that the final version will have a ton of levels. The level select map alone was absolutely massive. There’ll be plenty to do for those who plunk $9.99 down.
I’m very excited to check out the full game when it releases on Steam on January 17, and you should be too. And if you aren’t, I dare you not to be after watching the gameplay video below.