Tech reviews

Review: Dust and Neon – Movies Games and Tech

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Dust and Neon is a stylised twin-stick shooter that tries to stand out from its peers. However, this genre is saturated beyond compare and there are plenty of great indie titles to choose from. Consequently, you have to deliver something incredibly satisfying if you wish to outdo your peers. Unfortunately, I don’t think it does enough to warrant a place at the head of the table. Yet, I enjoyed it and I think you will as well.

This robotic twin-stick shooter was developed by David Marquardt Studios and published by Rogue Games, Inc. Furthermore, it has a delightful upgrade system and an array of missions to keep you entertained. Additionally, the gameplay is nicely balanced and this keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. However, it doesn’t break the mould and this will disappoint veterans of the genre.

The hero is surrounded by robots.The hero is surrounded by robots.

Dust and Neon tells a familiar tale.

A post-apocalyptic setting is nothing new! Additionally, man vs robot isn’t exactly original. Yet, I loved the smart-ass one-liners and the fast-paced action. Moreover, the blend of missions and the character upgrade system was simple but interesting. On top of this, there is an array of weapons to unlock and buy and a smattering of skills and buffs to try out. Accordingly, there are plenty of character builds to complement any play style.

The plot revolves around a mysterious gunslinger. This gruff hero will stop at nothing to rid the post-apocalyptic world of every villainous robot. Yet, this isn’t an easy task as waves of enemies and many overpowered bosses stand in your way. What’s more, death is all but assured and failure is a bitter pill to swallow. However, if you can improve your skills and arm yourself with the best guns available, you may have a chance of defeating every robot that stands in your way.

Short, sharp action.

What makes Dust and Neon so good is its casual approach. Every mission is a short, sharp affair that can be dealt with in around 5 to 10 minutes. Consequently, even if you die, it is more inconvenient than annoying. As you progress through the game, you will enjoy an array of increasingly difficult quests. Whether you have to defuse a bomb or kill specific targets, it never gets old. However, my favourite was the train-related missions. I adored moving from carriage to carriage whilst unleashing hell.

It was fantastic to flit between your pistol, shotgun, or sniper rifle. Disappointingly, though, this was the only arsenal of weapons on offer. Yes, there was a vast selection to choose from, but I’d have loved some heavy artillery to blast the crap out of my opponents. Though I stated that Dust and Neon doesn’t stand out from its peers, it does have an unusual reloading mechanic. Each time you wish to reload, you must do so one bullet at a time. Now, this may not seem a problem, but when you are chased by 10 psychotic robots, you may think differently.

This simple, but effective mechanic makes you consider every element of each weapon you carry. Accordingly, you must decide whether you wish to equip a low-capacity but high-damage pistol. Alternatively, you’ll spend longer reloading your gun, but you have more bullets to play with. Either way, you must adjust your play style to complement each weapon.

The hero is pinned down while trying to reload his weapon.The hero is pinned down while trying to reload his weapon.

Cruel bosses.

The standard missions grant you XP that can be spent on some incredible offensive or defensive skills. Furthermore, you may unlock new weapons or items to improve your chances on the battlefield. Alongside this, there are elixirs that can be consumed for temporary buffs to your character. Each of these elements is key if you wish to overcome the selection of cruel bosses that you’ll encounter.

These massive asshat robots will kick your ass repeatedly. Whether they use their replenishing shields, an army of soldiers, or their pinpoint accuracy, you will be tested. On top of this, you will need to be on top of your game as you dodge, dive, and hide from every projectile. However, if you defeat each boss, you are rewarded handsomely. Accordingly, though it is tough, the battle is well worth the effort.

Dust and Neon looks great.

Set in a dusty and ominous world, Dust and Neon looks great! The interesting level design combines vast open spaces with closed-quarter arenas. Moreover, there are buildings to explore and locked areas to access. If you then consider the range of robots you encounter and the fine selection of missions, it keeps you focused throughout.

On top of this, the audio is aggressive and interesting to listen to. What’s more, the sound effects are aggressive and uncomfortable. Consequently, every ear-splitting explosion and bullet that’s fired will resonate around your eardrum. This obnoxious approach was dramatic and wonderfully OTT. 

Time to destroy the power station.Time to destroy the power station.

Excellent controls.

Dust and Neon may not be original, but the controls were well-considered. The accurate twin-stick approach works incredibly. Moreover, the responsive inputs and intuitive UI were easy to understand and simple to master. Additionally, I loved the unique reload mechanic and the impact it had on your weapon choice and play style.

This genre is renowned for its replay value. Thankfully, Dust and Neon doesn’t let the side down. Each boss must be tackled multiple times to get the best rewards. However, each new battle is tougher and this prevents you from steam-rolling each level. On top of this, there are many play styles and character builds that can be utilised. Accordingly, you can play this repeatedly and never get the same experience.

Dust and Neon is good, but not great!

There is no shame in coming runner-up in this genre. Unfortunately, Dust and Neon doesn’t do enough to make it stand out from its peers. However, it is still a great indie title that is enjoyable to play. Moreover, there is enough depth and custom options to keep you returning for more. As such, I like it and I recommend that you buy it here! Can you destroy every robot? Grab your guns, choose your mission, and destroy every robot in your path.


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