Dustforce DX (2012)

by Christopher
8 minutes read


Dustforce DX is an indie platformer that shines with its original cleaning-themed gameplay and acrobatic precision. Its engaging mechanics, beautiful visuals, and captivating soundtrack make it a must-play for fans of the genre, despite its challenging difficulty curve.


Dustforce DX, released in 2012, is an indie platformer game that marries the art of acrobatic movements with the unlikely theme of cleaning. Developed by Hitbox Team, it is a game where precision, timing, and aesthetics converge to create a uniquely satisfying experience.


“Dustforce DX” is a platform video game developed by Hitbox Team, released in January 2012. The game is set in a world where filth has corrupted the creatures that live in the area. The player controls one of four janitors who are attempting to sweep away a world corrupted with dust and filth.

The game has been compared to games such as Super Meat Boy and N+, where fast-response timed actions are considered necessary to complete the game. The player uses a number of acrobatic skills, such as double jumping and wall jumping to progress through the game’s fifty-some levels, cleaning sections covered by leaves and attacking filth-covered creatures to score and progress through the level.

The player’s performance is ranked based on time and completion, and access to certain levels requires near-perfect runs of earlier levels. The player controls an agile sweeper as they clear away leaves and defeat creatures across the landscape. After the player selects a level, they pick one of the four Dustforce members, who all share the same moves but have slightly different statistics, such as jumping height.

Within the level, the player must maneuver their character to the end goal using acrobatic tricks such as double jumps, wall jumps, mid-air dashes, and clinging to the ceiling. Along the way, the character will automatically sweep up any debris on the walls or floors. The player can also initiate regular and super-attacks against filth-covered creatures to restore them to normal.

The end goal of a level typically requires reaching a final area and defeating foes waiting there. Should the character run into any hazards such as pits or spikes on the level, the player will have to resume the run from a previous checkpoint. Upon completing a level, the player is ranked based on “finesse” and completion. Finesse is determined by the combo meter, which is reset if the player takes a hit or proceeds too slowly, and completion is determined by the amount of debris and enemies cleaned.

The ratings, evaluated separately, are based on a letter-grade scale, with “D” through “A” reflecting increasingly better performances, and an “S” grade, representing a perfect combo, or full completion. An overworld provides access to more than fifty levels, though about half are initially locked to the player.

“Dustforce DX” is a kinetic platformer that challenges you to find the most efficient route through its winding stages. The game is a tranquil world with some seriously tough platforming. Dustforce has a strict economy of movement. Running and jumping are easy enough, but there are restrictions on how many times you can dash or jump again while in midair.

The simplicity of Dustforce’s early stages also helps ease you into your new role as ninja custodian before the game quickly ramps up the difficulty. Each of Dustforce’s four heroes controls a little differently. After you finish a stage, the game judges you on completion (did you sweep up all the garbage?) and finesse (did you sweep up all the garbage stylishly?), as well as noting your time.

Each stage has its own leaderboard where you can compare your best time against others. You can also watch runs from other players through the leaderboard, which is an especially useful way for improving your own times on the more difficult stages. Completing stages rewards you with gold and silver keys that unlock more advanced stages, and those behind the gold doors are no joke.

Spikes, bottomless pits, and numerous enemies test every ounce of your platforming skill. Dustforce involves equal parts planning and execution, and feels at times like you’re playing a puzzle game. The developers have an optimal path laid out for you in each stage. All you have to do is find the path, and walk it. It’s an enjoyable challenge, and successfully mastering a stage is very satisfying.

“Dustforce DX” is a game that mixes a tranquil world with some seriously tough platforming. The music has a calming, trancelike effect akin to that of inMomentum and Mirror’s Edge. The game provides a comprehensive tutorial that quickly brings you up to speed on how to maneuver through this world. The war against dust, grime, and general untidiness rages on.


The game features four main characters, each with their own unique abilities and attributes. These include the nimble Blue, the balanced Red, the strong Green, and the swift Purple janitor. Players can choose their preferred character to navigate through the game’s intricate levels.


Dustforce DX’s gameplay is centered around its platforming mechanics, where players jump, dash, and sweep their way through levels. The goal is to clean up all the dust in the level while performing stylish moves and combos for points. The game also includes a global leaderboard, challenging players to improve their cleaning times and scores.


Dustforce DX is a testament to the creativity and potential of indie games. It combines a unique premise with tight platforming mechanics to offer a challenging yet rewarding experience. While it may not cater to all due to its difficulty, it remains a memorable and standout title for those who embrace its challenge.

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