Dust: An Elysian Tail is from the future, only one that never happened. A future where 3D never kicked 2D gaming to the curb. A timeline where 2D side-scrollers never vanished from the charts. Playing it feels like falling through a wormhole to some other gaming dimension entirely.

Yet here it is, as unexpected as it is irresistibly playable.

Okay, not totally unexpected. Its creator, Dean Dodrill — an indie animator who at one point worked on Epic’s Jazz Jackrabbit series — was already throwing attention Dust‘s way back in 2009, when Microsoft awarded an earlier version of the game the $40,000 grand prize in its annual Dream.Build.Play competition. Since then, Dodrill hand-built Dust all but solo using Microsoft’s XNA development toolset, prepping it for its debut on Xbox Live Arcade this month. That feat alone ought to win the guy a « stuck with it » medal.


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