Dustwind Review: Summertime Bleakness

There are some gaming fans who will tell you Fallout Tactics is one of the most underappreciated titles ever created. Full disclosure, I'm not one of them - having played the title before and enjoyed it for what it was, I never left feeling like I needed more post-apocalyptic real-time strategy in the same vein.
Dustwind Studios appears to disagree. The developer recently launched Dustwind out of Steam's Early Access program, looking to capitalize on the recent popularity of finely made isometric games while providing a niche that has very few bigger studios vying for its fans.

At its core, Dustwind is a game that is meant to be enjoyed with other people. The multiplayer combat is honed such that fielding a diverse team full of people capable of switching different between tactical roles will drastically increase a player's chance of success. That, coupled with what has to be described as a passionate adherence to the post-apocalyptic genre 's biggest yet beloved stereotypes, makes for a game that hits the mark more often than not despite a glaring lack of single-player content.

Gameplay in Dustwind is tactical but real-time, meaning players have to think on the fly. The game is designed to offer teams a multitude of different options in tackling its different gameplay modes, which range from co-op style attacks on CPU-controlled strongholds to the more traditional online deathmatches that the multiplayer genre can't leave home without. Dustwind's learning curve is fair but punishing, and although it has a decent tutorial, I felt severely outclassed tackling online play for the first several hours, which made for a rather unpleasant experience as I was routinely demolished by some of the game's better players.


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