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Dust & Neon (Switch) Review

by J.P. Corbran - February 28, 2023, 9:02 pm EST
Total comments: 1


Blast robots and collect loot in this twin stick roguelike.

This generation of gaming, particularly in the download arena, could be described as “The Roguelike Era.” What was once an obscure gameplay style has seen its elements make their way into a wide variety of titles, with varying degrees of success. Dust & Neon combines that formula with another well worn idea, the twin stick shooter, but brings enough creativity to the table to stand out and feel fresh.

Dust & Neon tasks you with going through a series of wild west-themed levels, shooting robots and collecting loot. The most important thing in a game like this, before you factor in any of the details, is that those core shooting mechanics feel good, and Dust & Neon nails those. Cover can be used, and there’s a handy combat roll that helps you avoid enemy fire, but it’s mostly just moving and shooting. The one unique thing about the combat in this game is that you have to manually reload your gun, and I mean press the button to reload each individual bullet. This is a bit jarring at first, but as I went through the game I came to really enjoy this. It adds a level of tension where you always have to keep an eye out for how your ammo is holding up, and find the right opportunities to reload. In hectic moments I was running wild and hammering on the Y button to be able to finish off the oncoming hordes of enemies.

Where the roguelike elements come in is that over time you build up experience that can be used to permanently upgrade your character even after you die and have to be cloned again, as well as items that can enhance your base stats to give you better starts. While it’s accurate to call them roguelike elements, this is very much on the lighter side of that type of thing. The penalty for dying isn’t that steep, especially once you unlock the ability to rebuy the weapons you had when you died, which happens very early in the game.

Apart from those upgrade components, the main thing you collect in Dust & Neon is guns. At any given time you can carry one pistol, one shotgun, and one rifle, with many different types of each scattered around the levels and in the shop. These vary in terms of power, accuracy, chance of critical hit, and clip size, with that last one being very important given the reloading mechanic. The only problem is that once you find a really good gun, you don’t have a ton of incentive to try different things.

The levels you play through are pretty straightforward, with a handful of different objectives that can keep things from feeling too similar. There are also boss fights in each major region that pit you against powerful enemies with unique patterns that reward you with major upgrades to your base. One of these is Tonics, power-ups you can buy that are only in effect for one or a few missions that can help give things a different feel at a point in the game where you might feel like you’ve seen everything. Even with all that, though, the game does sometimes feel repetitive, as most games of this type can.

Even with that repetitiveness, the core mechanics feel so good that I really enjoyed jumping in for a few missions every now and then on a regular basis. Dust & Neon manages to combine several common game tropes in a new and interesting way, with a surprisingly fun reloading mechanic that makes it stand out in a crowded field.


  • Core shooting gameplay feels really good
  • Unique reloading system makes things exciting
  • Can sometimes feel repetitive despite different mission types and power-ups


LafayetteMarch 01, 2023

Why is this site refusing to review the new Kirby game?

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Game Profile

Genre Action

Worldwide Releases

na: Dust & Neon
Release Feb 16, 2023
RatingEveryone 10+

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