Dustforce is an acrobatic 2D platformer produced by indie developer Hitbox Team. You play as the Dustforce, a band of the most athletic cleaners in the world. Your objective is to dash, Double Jump, Wall Jump, wall run and somersault through twisting Parkour racecourses while cleaning up all the dust that litters its obscure corners.The game is Le Parkour at its finest as you will have to pick the optimal path to take you past all the dust and use dizzying combinations of wall-running to keep you on track. The game is focused on flowing gameplay, with a scoring system that awards not only dust collected but combos, meaning you will need to use seamless platforming to avoid stopping collecting dust. Only a perfect run, collecting all the dust without stopping, will net you the highest SS ranking (S+ in the prototype).Of particular note are the dust mechanics. As well as looking beautiful the dust (or leaves etc.) clings to floors, walls and ceilings and is placed in such a way to mark the optimal path through the level. While you will still have to work out how to collect it all, you can deduce what kind of sequence of acrobatics is required to proceed.The game also features beautiful environments, smooth animation and soothing music, giving it a very airy and light atmosphere.The game was released on Steam on January 17th 2012. An extensive prototype demo was released a while back, including a set of levels and a full level-editor. Each level has a different character, with some emphasizing acrobatics, others smooth combo-building, and one showcasing some Nintendo Hard platforming. Be warned though that this prototype is out of date, running on an entirely different engine and having much more temperamental controls than the final product. You can find the prototype here.
Dustforce provides examples of:
All There in the Manual: The characters have names. You would only ever be able to find them out if you look through the game's files. For the Dustforce, blue guy is Dustman, red is Dustgirl, purple is Dustkid, and green is Dustworth. For their Mirror Boss counterparts, their respective names are Dustwraith, Leafsprite, Trashking, and Slimeboss.
Almighty Janitor: The main cast are basically some of the most literal interpretations of this trope, being street sweeping ninjas.
Animate Inanimate Object: Trash cans, books and other objects are after the player as they're corrupted for not being cleaned.
Bottomless Pits: Plenty of levels have them implied in the form of instant-death-zones below the stage, but genuine bottomless "pits" (really just the area outside of the level) can be found if you manage to make your way out of the main stage area or find an opening in the aforementioned death-zones.
Charged Attack: Collect-type. Based on combo-counts, the bar charges up to 100 at which point the attack can be activated to wipe out all enemies and dust nearby.
The bar also appears to be charged by getting hit by enemies, but this is not particularly ideal since one hit breaks your combo.
Critical Existence Failure: In the prototype, your character explodes into a cloud of dust on hitting spikes or simply falling out of the play area. Strangely beautiful when the cloud is made of autumn leaves or polygons.
Death Course: As the player progresses, the later levels are this, requiring pixel-perfect jumps to avoid spikes and hazards with little room to manoeuvre.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Frequent checkpoints mean you aren't sent back far, but dying will break your combo and thus lower your finesse rank.
Double Jump: Smashing an object restores your double jump even if you double jumped into it. Dustkid has a triple jump.
Hitbox Dissonance: A source of frustration for players is being unable to tell where exactly is the edge of a cliff of a jump with respect to the four characters while moving, causing players to waste their double jump prematurely.
Hub Level - A separate hub for each world, as well as a main hub to connect them.
Improbable Weapon User: Arguably everyone — see Improvised Weapon below — but Dustkid's weapon is weird even by the standards of the game. She uses oversized dusters that she wields like some sort of bizarre, weaponized pom-poms.
Improvised Weapon: Your characters use the same brooms, dusters and vacuum cleaners they use to remove dust to smash containers and obstacles (also made of dust).
Last Lousy Point: For the highest rank you need every single dust mote in a level, and if you miss one by fluffing a jump backtracking for it is either risky (delays risk breaking your combo) or impossible.
Limit Break: It takes the form of a multi-hit flash step attack...thingy...that you charge up by dusting.
Malevolent Architecture: Castles, streets, forests and labs usually aren't that hostile in real life as they are in this game.
Marathon Level: The latest update adds two new levels, one of which is Yotta Difficult, a combination of parts of all 7 previous Difficult levels. The first recorded SS run took about 2.5 minutes, which is very long compared to the minute or less it takes to complete most other levels.
Mirror Boss: The Dustforce has an opposing team of dust-spreaders with similar acrobatic skill sets. Each is playable in Multiplayer King of the Hill and Survival matches.
Nintendo Hard: SS rankings require getting every piece of dust without breaking your combo (or dying), which may take several minutes in longer levels. The "Difficult" demo stage requires pixel-perfect platforming to stay alive, let alone achieve this. Just take a look. And there are plenty more where that came from in the final version.
An update in early May 2012 reworked the hub levels so that it's now more difficult to get to more difficult stages. Actually reaching gold key levels to unlock them can be quite difficult, now.
Not the Fall That Kills You: In every level there is actually an invisible death zone under the stage that kills you if you fall off. If you neglect to put this into a stage you made with the editor the player will fall a very long time until they hit the edge of the huge map area and die.
One Hit Point Wonder: Zig-zagged. Falling off the course area or hitting spikes will instantly kill you, but enemies can't actually directly kill you at all. However, their attacks will knock you back and break your combo, ruining your finesse score. Because of this, players aiming for a SS score will often self-enforce One Hit Point Wonder status by restarting the level if they're ever hit by an enemy attack.
Scenery Porn: The autumn leaves in particular look very impressive.
Each level set has its own aesthetic and dust type. The dusty castle, autumn leaf valley, and tron-esque computerscapes are all beautiful, and the cityscape and laboratory have quite a few moments of beauty as well.