Features good graphics and music, followed by extremely difficult game play.
The levels consist of a grading system which contain two elements.
The first is completion. You must dust everything there is to dust in a level. Dusting consists of touching or attacking/sweeping the dust. There is static dust that just sits there and you simply dust by touching it in some way. There is also animated dust/enemies/items which you must dust with either a weak attack or strong attack or special combo attack. If you leave anything undusted in the level it results in a less than perfect score in the completion part of the grading system.
The second element of the grading system is finesse. Once you start dusting you cannot stop because you have a combo gauge that must be kept going by continuous dusting. If you stop dusting something for about 5-10 seconds your combo gauge drops to zero which results in less than a perfect grade on the finesse score. You also lose finesse by being hit by an animated enemy that must be dusted. So if you loose your combo or get hit by an enemy during the level you will have less than a perfect score in the finesse part of the grading system. You can also fall or touch spikes and that will result in less than perfect finesse.
The goal of each level is to get a perfect grade in both completion and finesse in order to get a key to open a new level, as you can only receive a key from the level for completing a level perfectly. Keeping in mind that if you don't complete a level perfectly you can't play more levels usually as they are all locked doors and you have to earn a key to open them.
The game begins by dropping you in front of the tutorial level door in the hub/portal world. You are in a game hub world level to begin with which you can move around in like any other level but it serves as the portal to all the levels, tutorial level, multi-player(on your computer not online) or level editor(level editor says to come soon at this time). The tutorial can also be completed perfectly(you receive no key from the tutorial level but it does use the leader board). The tutorial level teaches you the controls and basic mechanics of game play. While the tutorial level is optional it is recommended as precise timing and use of the controls is necessary to complete levels. After the tutorial level you move forward to the first couple levels that you must complete perfectly to get keys to move on to other levels.
My Score on the game out of 10:
The graphics are very well done and beautiful. The graphics are a positive and use a wide range of colors to make things look good. There are 3 distinct backgrounds, the main level you play in, a mid ground, and a back ground. These seperate backgrounds add depth to the game. The animation is fluid and lifelike. Each levels artwork is distinct and consistently varied where you feel each game level is different and lifelike. The artwork is beautiful and obviously done by someone very accomplished.
The sound is pleasing to the ears, it consists of various ranges of tones and sound that keep it from being to repetitive. The sound in the game is good and helps the game feel alive, and keeps you entertained as you try to complete the level. The sound track is varied enough between levels that it works well with the game.
The controls in the game are straight forward. You push up down left or right or diagonal to move. You have a button for weak attack, strong attack, weak and strong at the same time is a special area attack (which can be performed intermittently when you build your combo strength up from dusting), jump, dash, and taunt. The controls work good enough in the game for basic manuvers but I have found them limited many times when trying to reach ledges or if I fell I had trouble jumping as needed to get to ledges quick enough without loosing my combo. Several jumps and manuvers require precise and exact precision to pull off which is very difficult to perform with either a keyboard or game pad. I found myself fighting the controls often, even though I knew what I wanted to do, consistently getting it to work with the controls was tedious and very hard to do consistently enough to get a perfect score. The attack on enemies is basic and was often hard for me to implement without the enemies hitting me(which kills your combo and perfect score)even after I tried dozens of times to kill an enemy. I have found the attacks you have limited as to effective offense. Enemies often lunged through my attack or jumped on me as it takes several hits to dust them. What makes the controls most difficult is pulling off multiple manuvers in sequence. The keyboard and game pad as good as they are still are limited and I have found the precision required in the game that I needed to get a perfect score not achievable even after many many hours of practice. I tried several keyboard configurations and the game pad for many hours and still cannot get the game to control to my satisfaction.
Level Design: 5
The levels are designed to give a tough challenge. I've found that the levels are all about creating areas where you have to pull off very difficult use of the controls to dust something or attack enemies. Even basic manuvers and attacks are difficult to pull of in this game consistently. The levels are designed to be very difficult and I found myself resetting a level dozens and well over a hundred of time to try to complete it perfectly. I would say over a 1000+ times could be required on some levels to complete them if you ever can. The levels start out very difficult and move to extremely difficult very quickly and into near impossible difficulty from that point. It is apparent the levels were designed to ramp up the difficulty throughout the entire game. Several parts of each level is designed to make it tricky to complete which lends itself to a slip up here or there. The consistent slip ups which are inevitable because of the level design and effective use of precise controls have trapped me on the same level for many hours. From some game footage of of harder levels I have not been able to reach I would approximate I could be trapped on some levels for days if I even ever could complete them. The levels require heavy use of the basic controls, and as I said before the keyboard and mouse are limited and I cannot effectively use them to my satisfaction in the game.
The game is so difficult that I would need play the game a very very long time to finish, if I could ever finish it. The game is so hard that I will venture to say most people who purchase the game will never complete it as it is that hard. Replay value is gained by the leader board as you can always try to play a level over and over to be the top dog on the level with the fastest time with a perfect score. I find that once I have completed a level, usually after dozens or over a hundred attempts to complete it perfect that I have no drive or want to go back to that level again, even though I am not the top dog on the leader board. I actually feel like I am spending to much time playing the game, as I spend several hours just to complete a single beginner level. It all comes down to the controls which I feel cannot be effectively mastered to pull of the manuvers required by this game. The game is more frustrating than fun often for me and I rather be having fun. The game becomes repetitive because I have to play a level a ridiculous amount of times to complete it. There is some satisfaction in finally clearing a level followed for me by thoughts of why did I spend so much time playing this level and what better use could I made of my time. I do like games but not spending endless hours playing a game and accomplishing nothing.
Overall score 6.
I feel that score is a result of a lot of effort by the people who made the game to look very pretty and sound good. Unfortunately it seems they put an equal amount of effort into making the game play extremely difficulty. I don't feel the keyboard and game pad can totally be effective to control the character in the game to get the job done. I was left with the feeling of can I get lucky this time and have everything work out right. The game play is about the most difficult I have ever experienced in a game and it doesn't leave me wanting to come back for more.