In any other context outside of games, “S” rank being the pinnacle of grades wouldn’t make sense. But since we’re talking games here, we all know that the “S” rank is where it’s at.
I have a theory that it originated in Japanese games (where many of the great gaming traditions started) and their disregard for A being the first letter of the alphabet. Whether or not that’s true, the tradition of Capcom platforming lives on in Dustforce, which launches today on PS3 and PS Vita. Originally made by Hitbox Team and released for PC, Dustforce caught our eye because it shares a few elements of the best platformers we’ve made: challenge, design, and soundtrack.
Dustforce seems very simple at first glance, and it really is. The idea is to move your acrobatic janitor through the level as fast as you can, while cleaning all the dirt, dust, and grime. You’re given a few abilities to do this: double jumps, wall runs, dashes, etc. There are also some tricks that you need to learn, like down dashing onto a slope for max speed, or learning to dash as soon as you land to maintain dash speed. Using these tools, it’s up to you to find the optimum path that leads to all of the dust to clean, and also one that keeps your momentum and speed up.
For many platformers, the point of the game is to simply finish, or get to the end of the level. Sure, there’s coins or other currency to rate you, but that’s not always what drives the player. In Dustforce, getting that SS rank IS the point of the game, and a level just isn’t complete until it’s achieved. That means you kept up your combo by continually cleaning up dirt and you also got all of it.
If you’re like me, it’s the same thing I get when I’m playing Gran Turismo license tests. I have to get gold. Just passing isn’t good enough. If you know what Tony Hawk syndrome is, Dustforce is infected with it. So much so, that Dustforce has a Quick Restart option allowing you to restart a level in one button touch, which comes in handy when you’re gunning for an SS. Like any platformer worth its salt, it’ll take more than one try to finish any given level, and many more after to master it.
When Dustforce was released on PC, it became a beloved indie darling. A focused, tightly designed game, made by a very small team of gamers like you and me. In our transition to console, we wanted to make sure that we retained all of the hard work and creativity that Hitbox Team put into their game. That means there’s no additional balancing or “remastering.” Sure, we added a few features like online multiplayer, cross save, and cross play, but other than that, we’re making sure that the game is true to the original vision.
Dustforce is a simple and pure game whose game design lends itself to constant improvement with its addictive gameplay. We hope you enjoy it!