TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Dust & Neon’

TouchArcade Rating:

Coming in a wee bit after the normal batch of weekly new releases this week, Dust & Neon from David Marquardt Studios and Rogue Games has done something we don’t see all too often. It has launched on mobile at the same time as on PC and console, and it comes to mobile courtesy of the Netflix Games library. It also brings a unique spin on a very well-worn roguelike looter shooter genre, and it’s a formula that I actually think works the best as a game on the go.

Sure, with Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch I guess technically you can “game on the go" with all the platforms Dust & Neon is currently available on, but there’s only one platform that you can literally stick in your pocket and it’s the iPhone that feels like the platform this was meant to be played on. Also it doesn’t hurt that the mobile version is basically “free" if you’re a Netflix subscriber, rather than the $20-30 it’s currently going for on PC and Switch.

But enough jibber jabber, what of the game itself? Well Dust & Neon is a roguelike looter shooter, kind of like an offspring of a Borderlands game and a Space Marshals game. The isometric viewpoint and overall sci-fi cowboy theme feels very Space Marshal-y, as does the much more tactical gunplay. Most games of this type are run ‘n gun blast fests but Dust & Neon actually plays much closer to a cover-based shooter.

You’ll need to utilize cover in the environment and wait to pop off shots when it’s clear, and if you get caught out in the open against multiple enemies they can make quick work of you if you aren’t careful. It’s not quite as tactical as a Space Marshals game and there’s no stealth elements or anything, but I do appreciate it for doing something a bit different in this particular genre.

The other hallmark of this type of game is the loot, and Dust & Neon doesn’t seem to disappoint here either. You only really have 3 main types of weapons–Revolver, Rifle, and Shotgun–but there are dozens of variations of each that you’ll find out in the field, from boring Common stuff to kick ass Legendary stuff. Then you have a huge upgrade tree to fill out for your character, and plenty of different things to unlock and upgrade at your home base, too.

Basically if you enjoy the core gameplay loop in Dust & Neon there should be plenty here to keep you busy for quite a while. I’m not sure how it will all hold up in the long run, and these games do tend to get kind of grindy in the late game, but right here and now I’m having a lot of fun with this one.

  • Dust & Neon

    Available exclusively for Netflix members. Load 'em up, Gunslinger. Find the loot, kill the boss. You're a Wild West cy…
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