Goon Squad’s Dustwun is a third-person action-adventure meets survival-exploration hybrid. So it’s basically four different game types rolled into one. It sounds great, and the elements do have quite a bit in common; however, there are many moments where Dustwun goes a slight bit wrong.
While the survival aspect is pretty basic — you just need to worry about a hunger gauge — it does require you do things like cook the food you’re about to eat, which brings in some light crafting mechanics. This ultimately gets in the way of the action-adventure aspect. Because suddenly you aren’t exploring a planet trying to find your partner, Star Ranger Captain Echo, but running around collecting items so you can keep playing the game.
The survival aspects of Dustwun get in the way of its story and focus, and that’s never a good thing. Sure, you can have story-based survival games, but those never add in exploration and action-adventure aspects, because that’s just too much genre for any game to handle. During the demo, I barely had any idea I was supposed to be looking for anyone. I knew I had to go find food, and then go explore some ruins, but I had no idea what the purpose was.
Dustwun is an ambitious project. It’s an attempt to tie in four different game genres that seem like they should go together. It allows you to explore a vast island on the back of a motorcycle. You can climb any terrain on the planet. You can cook a variety of recipes. You can craft a ton of items to solve puzzles and stay alive. You can catalogue the flora and fauna of the planet. You even fight off pirates, ghosts, and hostile creatures with a plethora of weapons.
The combat, at least, is a little bit tricky. You can switch between ranged and melee combat, giving you some serious flexibility in playstyle, but there’s just too much variety in Dustwun for the game to feel at all centered.
Ultimately, this game is an example of a developer trying to do too much with one property. And because its currently slated for a May 2018 release, its unlikely we’ll see much change between now and release day.