Dust and Neon: Review


This game was reviewed on PC.

Reviewed by:  Raven

Dust and Neon is a twin-stick roguelite shooter that has a wild west theme. It is developed by David Marquardt Studios and published by Rogue Games, Inc.

Although Dust and Neon is a fun game, it suffers from poor mechanics, a lack of detailed balancing, and a price tag that is extremely steep for the content that is offered in the game.

A Fun Game With A Clean Theme

Dust and Neon is a fun game. The wild west theming is perfect, and the characters are authentic. I enjoy Dust and Neon for what it is but I have some issues with the game that I hope are addressed in the future.

The wild west theme is one of my favorites! The developers, David Marquardt Studios did an awesome job setting up the atmosphere. The soundtrack is pretty great for what it is as well, though I wish there was a little more variety in the music. 

Lacking Gameplay Mechanics

Dust and Neon has the player relying on the cover mechanics a little too much. Going behind the cover feels like a punishment, and the AI is not responsive enough to make good use of any of the cover.

The Weapons are Fun, Mostly.

The weapons in Dust and Neon are fun! You'll be choosing revolvers, sniper rifles, and shotguns. Eventually, the weapons will start to feel extremely similar. The biggest difference between all the choices at their base level will be the range of the weapon.

The reloading mechanic is extremely fun and I highly suggest keeping it on. You will have to mash the reloading button to put your rounds in the weapon. If you don't like the mechanic you can turn it off in the settings menu.

Finally, the weapons are too expensive if you buy them before a mission. Getting weapons before leaving was a mistake each time I tried it before a new mission. I had more success picking weapons up as the mission was going.

Bad Balancing

Dust and Neon have bad balancing. Some of the enemies hit too hard for what level you're supposed to be: Nothing about this is a problem but as you go through the various levels it feels like the game wants you to take a hit.

Leveling up your character is uneventful, for example, the defense tree has health upgrades that do not give a proportional amount of health to what the upgrade costs. I went from looking forward to a level up to dreading it. The XP gain per mission feels abysmally slow.

The Good

Dust and Neon is a fun game despite having major flaws with balancing and leveling. Shooting the various robots as they come at you is a blast and the boss fights are challenging but fair if you grind ahead of time.

The music is right on theme and the sound effects are superb. Running through each level is fun just because you can hear the bullets hit the various bots.

The level design will start to blend but because of the art style, it is more tolerable than other games. Finally, the mechanics for reloading are a breath of fresh air! Seeing a new mechanic is always nice.

The Price is Far Too Steep

Buying Dust and Neon right now is a mistake. Despite having a slick art style, cool characters, and a rad premise the gameplay needs to catch up on many levels.

Lack of Basic Menu Options

Dust and Neon does not have the following menu options.

  • Keybinding: At the time of writing this review you can't change the keybindings. I find this to be unacceptable.
  • You can't turn off some of the post-processing settings: These settings would help make the game more comfortable to play if you could turn them off.

A Gameplay Loop That is Bland

Dust and Neon has a bland gameplay loop. It gets tiring to run through the same set pieces repeatedly. It feels like no thought went into the player experience.

Breaking Down The Stars

Dust and Neon is going to get 3/5 stars.

  • For the atmosphere, the music, and the art style Dust and Neon will get one star.
  • For the theme of the game Dust and Neon will get one star.
  • For the rest of The Good, the game will get one star.

Unfortunately, with the lack of basic menu options and the abysmal amount of thought that went into the gameplay balancing I can not give the game more stars. The price point of $29.99 is far too high for the game in its current state. 

Reviewed by: Raven