Dust: An Elysian Tale Game Poster Image

Dust: An Elysian Tale




Pretty side-scroller has mild but frequent violence.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Themes of duty and altruism permeate the game's story. Play is largely focused on fighting, but the violence is wholly unrealistic and relatively mild compared to that of many other side-scrolling action games. The game's intent seems not to glamorize violence, but instead tell a tale in which mild, cartoonish violence plays a role.

Positive role models

Players take on the role of Dust, a young man with no memory but a compulsion to help people in need. His companions include a cat-like creature with a bit of an attitude but a good heart, and a talking sword that attempts to guide him along a path of righteousness on his journey. The three engage in plenty of fighting, but only when attacked by the game's mindless fantasy monsters.

Ease of play

Four levels of difficulty -- including a casual mode that confers no penalties for perishing -- provide players of diverse abilities a suitable level of challenge. The game's controls are pleasantly accessible, with frequent onscreen tutorials and button cues to help kids learn how to play.


Players use a sentient sword to cleave through hordes fantastical, vaguely animal-like creatures described in the game as "monsters" and "thugs." Impact is marked by a brief flash of light. Combat depicts no blood and no gore; enemies simply tumble and disappear when defeated.   

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Dust: An Elysian Tale is a download-only game available for Xbox 360 that offers up an action-packed experience suitable for older tweens. There's a good deal of sword-based combat here, but it's cartoonish and mild; the game's non-human enemies simply tumble away and disappear when defeated. The graphics in most levels are generally bright, colorful, and almost dream-like, and make a good match for the light-hearted narrative, which features a young protagonist and allies who are clearly good guys intent on helping others.

What kids can learn


Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

What Kids Can Learn

Dust: An Elysian Tale wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

What kids can learn


Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Dust: An Elysian Tale wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

What's it about?

DUST: AN ELYSIAN TALE is a side-scrolling action game available for download through Xbox Live Arcade. Players control Dust, a young man who wakes up in the forest with no memory. Dust is startled to find a sentient sword nearby that tells him he has something important he needs to do. So begins a journey through a monster-infested world. Players spend much of their time helping folks by running errands, finding lost loved ones, and protecting towns from invading creatures. Role-playing elements figure into the action, with players able to grow Dust's abilities, collect materials to craft items, and swap out their armor and accessories as they find more powerful gear. Players can hop between areas, revisiting locations once they have the power to access previously unavailable areas, making for a surprisingly lengthy adventure filled with plenty of side quests and hidden goodies.

Is it any good?


Dust: An Elysian Tale may be worth playing simply to take in its gorgeous anime-style graphics. The game begins with a run through a lush green forest filled with beautifully animated animals, including families of deer frolicking together and rabbits washing their cute faces with their paws. Things get a little darker as the game progresses, but the game's unique beauty persists.

The action, unfortunately, is a bit ho-hum. A variety of moves and attacks are unlocked over time, but most players will likely just mash buttons to plough through the game's baddies and wind up finding battles a bit monotonous. It's a shame that the imagination and care that went into the game's presentation didn't continue on through to play. Instead, Dust: An Elysian Tale is a visual feast with a mediocre core.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about violence in media. Do you think aggression depicted in violent games continues to be felt by players after they switch off their consoles?

  • Families can also discuss storytelling in games. Do you ever feel drawn to video game stories and characters, or do you just mash buttons to skip narrative scenes? Do you think games can tell meaningful stories from which we can learn things about ourselves?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Microsoft Studios
Release date:August 15, 2012
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:E10+ for Mild Language, Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood

This review of Dust: An Elysian Tale was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byQuicksandsurfer October 3, 2012

Give this gem a chance

I agree with the reviewer on most accounts, but not entirely. I played the game through to the end, and found the story had a very positive message about the protagonist. Without spoiling the game, what you learn of Dust, his journey and his personal conflict and the choices he makes at the end, really project a positive role model. At the very end, the story ties together nicely and if anything, is a gem offering children how important choices are, and doing good and helping others is. I shed a few tears at the end, it moved me so ... adults should play this game, too. It has a simple but heartfelt lesson at it's core.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written bypseudo.canadian August 21, 2015

Gorgeous hack-and-slash is close to perfect

"Dust: An Elysian Tale" is an indie, 2.5-D hack and slash/platformer made by one man. The graphics and art style are incredible to look at, and runs well on any system you choose to play it on (the Windows port will freeze occasionally though, along with very infrequent frame dips). The story is about a person named Dust, who wakes up in the middle of nowhere with a bat-like creature named Fidget, and a powerful sword by his side. Throughout the game, more and more is revealed about Dust's true identity and past, accumulating into an incredible (and sad) finish. The story is more engaging than it lets on to be, but the gameplay can get stale (and potentially challenging) in certain segments. Overall, "Dust: An Elysian Tail" is an excellent Metroidvania hack-and-slash sure to please young and old. In terms of content, "Dust: An Elysian Tail" is tame. The violence is intense and packed in every level, but combat is colorful and fantastical. There's no blood or gore of any kind. Language is absent, apart from one occurrence of "damned". Also, one character's avatar might be smoking, but it's never dwelled upon. There's no sex, drinking, or drug use of any kind.
Teen, 13 years old Written byKai Wu September 25, 2013


It's a really good game but in the story has references of genocide in one part of the story you kill the supposed last of a race
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence


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