Dustwind is like… Fallout Tactics except they removed the whole turn-based system for a more streamlined real-time component, added the ability to kick, and allowed many to follow their furry dreams of becoming a dog. I mean… it’s basically Fallout Tactics 2, in a good way.
One of the cool things is that the game kinda just drops you in and goes, “after this wonderful tutorial in which we run you through the changes we made to Fallout Tactics’ formula, you’re going to want to experiment with character builds” – it does this in a way that if you didn’t know anything about Fallout back when Fallout wasn’t Skyrim with guns, you’d pick it up quick, and it’s a good refresher even if you’re familiar with the system. You have a bevy of abilities to choose from, and armor, ammo, and tons of other things you can pick up, all for your initial 10,000 point buy per character. There’s no actual “Campaign mode” – it’s just a series of maps that have objectives and tasks, it’s not meant to be a campaign or a world like fallout. Everyone has the same amount of points to spend on abilities and skills, meaning, you can always find a build that works for you without investing time and effort to find out if it’s valuable or not. (For example, it turns out that my “Really good at shooting people with a revolver, but bad at most everything else” guy isn’t as good as a more well-rounded character with literally any weapon.)
Definitely paying homage to Fallout in their design, the unique looks are cool, but, there are only so many combinations of things to wear and customization options. I suppose this is something that will be fleshed out more as time goes on when they have free time, and, honestly, as long as my character looks different enough from everyone else’s so I don’t lose who I am, it’s fine the way it is. I think the audio is mostly good to go, all the sounds are great except the sounds that aren’t, guns sound good and punchy, the melee attacks sound like melee attacks, but then there’s that wounded dog sound everybody hates. (You might actually feel bad for shooting a dog.)
The game play is really interesting in that it’s both real time and has a lot of the elements that are originally turn-based in nature. You start moving, you hit space to stop moving, because you won’t fire while running. This makes for interesting game play, and, if you’re in melee range, you can even kick someone over if they’re attacking with a knife or something by hitting a button. This sort of hybrid action/tactical game play is really something you don’t see everywhere. It takes some getting used to, but, it’s a really cool system and requires teammates to stick together and work slowly if you’re doing some co-op vs. AI. Multiplayer death matches are kind of a different story, but I’ll get into that. The hard part is figuring out your balance and working with absolute strangers. I’m assuming it’s much easier to work as a team with friends, but, since I mostly play things alone these days, that’s not my usual cup of tea. Playing with strangers though has been really nice, actually. Most games I have trouble interacting with people because they are just total douche bags online, but, this game? No such problem.
As far as death match goes… it’s a much different story. You aren’t sneaking through or trying to just move up enough to set up ambushes… it’s a lot of back and forth ass-kicking while somebody is playing a dog hiding around a corner somehow hucking grenades at you. (Yes, dogs throw grenades.) This whole game play style is definitely different than the AI because you aren’t going to get someone to sit back and wait in ideal sniping positions all day, but, that’s an effective tactic once you start baiting out the enemies in AI. Your opponents will just blitz you, or sneak up behind you. Most of the time, the AI isn’t going to do those types of things. At least, not multiples tactics at once. I found that in multiplayer, sometimes hunkering down was an effective way to make sure that I was in a position to succeed when enemies happened upon me, but, most of the time, it was about moving into ideal firing range and killing things before they could kill me.
It’s a great game and it’s worth trying out. I can’t promise you’re ever going to have huge swaths of people to play against/with, because, that’s the nature of the indie game market, as sad as that is to say. So far though, I’ve always had good luck using their discord and playing with random people occasionally when I just log in. So, it’s cool on that front – if a lot of us go out and support these devs, there definitely will be a lot of people playing, and, it’ll show people that this style of game is worth building. That’s good for everybody.
Another strong piece of the game is that they recently implemented a “solo” function, where you can pause the game and move a whole team through a mission. This is really great stuff, as it will increase the life of the game, as well as allow people to really hone their character customization skills. Overall, Dustwind is a great game, and I suggest grabbing a copy.
Disclosure: We received a key for free. (Through our friends over at the CFN! Check out their discord HERE)
Developed by: Dustwind Studios (Discord)