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Dust: An Elysian Tail Now Free via Games With Gold Until May 14

by William Schwartz

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Microsoft’s Games With Gold promotion has been met with mixed reviews so far. The most common criticism of it has been using older games for the service and not always picking top-tier stuff. Well, the first freebie for May is a little on the old side having come out nearly two years ago, but it’s also a must-play game. Dust: An Elysian Tail received a lot of love when it came out, and has gotten even more since its PC version added more features and increased the graphics. Still, without the Xbox 360 version doing well, there would be no PC version. Now, this side-scrolling action RPG/platformer hybrid can be yours at no cost until May 14.

This visual stunner was developed by just one man, Dean Dodrill, and it’s clear a passion project. He created the game’s concept, the characters, programmed it, and animated it. Three and a half years after development began, it finally saw release and blew everyone away who played it. Even now, it’s hard to find an XBLA game that looks this good. It’s also got a fantastic soundtrack, and it’s one of the smoothest-playing platforming games on the 360. Even with the original d-pad, it’s a breeze to move around with ease. If you’ve never played it and have an active Xbox Live Gold account, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a shot.

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