Hitbox Team have created what is sure-to-be a runaway success in Dustforce.
Dustforce has some of the most fluid, well-drawn animation I've seen in a 2D platformer. Complementing the minimalistic, cartoony-but-not-overtly-so artstyle, perfectly. If you think the game looks good in screenshots, it's even better in motion. The opening tutorial stage quickly gets you up to speed with the movement controls and mechanics, and in playing this stage alone you'll know whether you're happy with the keyboard controls, or whether you'd rather manually setup a gamepad of your choice – there is no gamepad support right out of the gate (though I'm sure Hitbox could patch that in if there was enough demand from the community). Me and the keyboard controls couldn't see eye to eye, despite me preferring them over the gamepad controls in other PC platformers – so I opted for the latter option.
Whichever control method you opt for you're in for a level of precision in control only matched by the likes of titles like 'Splosion Man and Super Meat Boy. The emphasis here is not only on precise platforming, but on speed and conservation of momentum too. There are also basic melee controls to worry about, allowing you smack the dirt off enemies in an effort to keep your dirt-cleaning combo going. Levels can get intense very quickly, and at first you'll struggle – but once you get past that initial, admittedly large, barrier of entry, you'll get a euphoric rush upon completing a level that only the best challenging games can elicit.
There aren't as many levels in Dustforce as there are in it's competitors, however, the later levels are gated off until you get high enough grades in the earlier levels – no cruising through on B grades here. There's really not a lot else to say about Dustforce's single player, it's not a very complex game. It's a game that harkens back to the earlier days of gaming where you were just given a flimsy premise for scenarios to exist and just thrown in. There's no story here, no character development, nothing to keep you from the extremely well-designed levels and the perfectly responsive controls. There are four different characters to choose from, but it's difficult to tell what the differences between the characters are without testing each of them out, or hastily Googling in the Steam overlay web browser. There is also a level editor in-the-making, allowing the community to create and share levels themselves – bringing the usual barrage of even harder levels, and of course, levels shaped like dicks. Oh how the gaming community loves to make a level that looks like a dick.
Continued at: http://jonnyedge.blogspot.com/2012/02/passing-judgment-on-dustforce.html
(Sorry to do this, it's an easy way to see if people like my reviews!)