Dust: An Elysian Tale

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Dust: An Elysian Tale Game Poster Image
Pretty side-scroller has mild but frequent violence.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

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

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 & Representations

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.

Violence

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.   

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult 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 p... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byKai Wu September 25, 2013

GOOD GAME WITH CUTE BUNNY GENOCIDE

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
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... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

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