Dusty Raging Fist has stylish art, but game mechanics are unfair

Up to three players can play Dusty Raging Fist together.
Up to three players can play Dusty Raging Fist together.PHOTOS: PD DESIGN STUDIO
Up to three players can play Dusty Raging Fist together.
Up to three players can play Dusty Raging Fist together.PHOTOS: PD DESIGN STUDIO

Dusty Raging Fist is a side-scrolling fighting game with a couple of interesting ideas. But the execution, especially of the combat, could be better.

It is a shame because I really like the art style. The soundtrack is also decent, though the voice acting leaves much to be desired.

Developed by local game studio PD Design Studio, Dusty Raging Fist is a prequel to 2014's Dusty Revenge. I did not play Dusty Revenge, but it seems to share some features with the new entry.

For instance, Dusty Revenge had a local cooperative edition that lets one play with a friend using another playable character, the foxy Kitsune.

Kitsune is back in Dusty Raging Fist and is joined by a third playable character, Darg. Hence, up to three players can play together in the same room, though there is no online multiplayer support.

I was looking forward to playing with my friends. However, it was a letdown because there was just too much happening on the screen with three playable characters and multiple enemies. I often lost track of my character and ended up mashing the buttons.

It did not help that the game has some sort of input lag where my character would freeze and be unresponsive to my controls for a second or so.


    PRICE: $18.20 (PS4, version tested)

    RATING: 6/10

    GENRE: Action

Where the Dusty series differs from traditional platform fighting games are the two support characters that can be summoned to snipe enemies from afar or lob grenades at them. The camera view zooms out and you aim either the sniper rifle or grenade launcher, depending on whom you summon.

However, there is a caveat here. The game does not pause while you are controlling the support character, so your main character is likely getting a beating in the meantime. That seems like a disincentive to use the support characters.

In addition, the support characters can be summoned only if the blue support bar is sufficiently charged. This can be done at certain points in the game. But charging the bar could take a while, which kills the game's momentum.

Spicing up the gameplay are the role-playing elements.

Your character can gain experience points, which can be used to unlock new special moves or combos, or to upgrade the support character's abilities.

As you progress in the story, your character can also harness powerful elemental abilities such as ice or lightning to destroy foes.

I found myself hardly using the special combos because they require pressing multiple keys - sometimes five or more - in succession.

I found it almost impossible to pull these moves consistently as getting hit by enemies will momentarily stun my character and disrupt my combo move. For some reason, you can only dodge attacks and there is no move to parry or block attacks.

As a result, I mainly used ranged attacks against tough foes, especially in fights with the bosses. Even then, because the boss would stun me with every hit it landed but my hits did not have the same effect, it just did not seem fair.

• Verdict: Cooperative and role-playing elements spice up the gameplay, but its core combat mechanics feel unfair and laggy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2018, with the headline 'Stylish game art, but mechanics are unfair '. Print Edition | Subscribe