Dusty Revenge is a 2D side-scrolling beat ’em-up with platforming elements, created by the indie developer PD Design Studio. The game focuses on Dusty, a dual-wielding rabbit, and his two companions who are bent on revenge. PD Design Studio creates a unique environment by using a Cel-shaded artistic style and a world containing humanoid furry animals.
On the surface, Dusty Revenge is a very basic side-scrolling 2D fighter, but as the game progresses it’s obvious there is a lot more depth to the experience. Initially, players start out with a strong attack (scythe), weak attack (fists), dual revolvers, and a shotgun. While these weapons can’t be swapped out for anything different, Dusty does level up as he gains experience and more complicated combos are unlocked.
Additionally, after the first few levels, Dusty’s companions also join the fray. Rondel, the rocket-launcher toting bear, is great for breaking down armor, obstacles and large groups of enemies. On the other hand, McCoy and his sniper rifle are great for taking out high priority targets. Neither one of these companions are playable characters, but they can provide support attacks for Dusty.
The combat in Dusty Revenge feels solid for the most part and can be very rewarding, but the controls could still be tightened up a little bit. It’s relatively difficult to stop a combo halfway through and some of the animations are incredibly long; not being able to cancel attacks can mean the difference between victory or defeat in many boss fights. Speaking of poor controls, the mouse/keyboard setup is incredibly clunky to play with, so a gamepad is highly recommended.
The boss fights in Dusty Revenge are where the game really shines. While the generic “bad guys” tend to get a bit repetitive, since it’s only so much fun to kill seemingly endless waves of cats, rats and moles, each boss fight offers an interesting challenge. None of the bosses feel similar, and all of them require different tactics to take out (you’re not going to approach a giant gorilla the same way as a werewolf). There is an issue with disparity between regular enemies and the bosses, though. It seems like most levels can be cleared without having to put forth much effort, but it’s possible to get stuck on a single boss for quite some time. I feel that if the normal enemies required more tactics/skill to get past then the bosses wouldn’t seem quite so overwhelming at first.
If I had to compare Dusty Revenge with any other game, I would say that it feels nearly identical to Shank, but with a few more shortcomings. Both employ the same Cel-shaded comic book feel; however, the visuals in Dusty Revenge don’t feel quite as vibrant or varied. There’s a high level of violence and gore in both games, but Shank takes it a few steps further with the decapitation; however, this can be both a positive or negative depending on each individual. The biggest disappointment, in my opinion, is the lack of weapon variety. Only having one set of weapons throughout the entire game kills replay value and makes things feel stale by the end of the campaign.
Furthermore, the story in Dusty Revenge feels very generic and the voice acting is apathetic at best. There really isn’t a ton of story content and there are quite a few plot holes; some of these can be filled in with information on the website, but the story was definitely not compelling me to finish the game. While this genre of game doesn’t require a solid story for it to be good, the poor narration just adds to the negativity. During the few, simple lines of context that exist, the narrator’s voice lacks expression.
In the end, Dusty Revenge is a bit of good fun, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. Sure, it’s a pretty good game, especially considering that it was developed by such a small studio, but it lacks a certain polish. The vague storyline and poor acting only interfere with what should be non-stop action, but that can be forgiven as well. Thankfully, the visuals and combat are great, so anyone who enjoys 2D fighters, or indie games, should give Dusty Revenge a shot.
Dusty Revenge puts its own unique spin on the 2D beat 'em-up genre, but it lacks the overall polish and creativity that it needs to shine through the crowd.