Out later this year, I’ve put together a Dustoff Z preview for your reading pleasure, whether you should be adding it to your wishlist and what-not.
A while back, I wrote about the game from Invictus Games, published by Zordix Publishing. In this apocalyptic zombie game, you pilot a make-do helicopter out of recycled parts that make MacGyver look redundant.
Almost like a Lego/Minecraft aesthetic, you dash about in your bastard chopper either rescuing survivors, recruiting folk to be your wingmen, escorting a convoy through zombie-infested hell-holes or even taking on oversized bosses with significant hitting power.
Dustoff Z Preview
A Steam exclusive, I loaded the game up like a dog with two tails and played on the keyboard. While you can most definitely play this in entirety with your clicky QWERTY setup, I’d recommend a controller, if you have one, as it made an impact despite the simple controls.
The controls for your chopper (heh, chopper) are up and down, left and right. That’s it. But, in practice, it’s pretty good fun, but the controls aren’t untouchable as it doesn’t flow as much as I’d had hoped.
I’d often clip a bit of scaffolding that seemed a little out of reach, or seemingly flying past a zombie horde only to have them cling to the helicopter like the hair from a German Shepherd when shedding. Yes, true story – we’re suffering from it at the moment.
Flight is swift though, and Dustoff Z plays like a console game in that load times are faster than a teen with a free week’s trial of PornHub – there’s no waiting around, whatsoever. On that basis, the levels aren’t particularly massive, but they’re very enjoyable, once you get the hang of manoeuvring the various obstacles.
You essentially play the pilot, but you can recruit a team of shooters that fire upon the zombies with ferocity. There are various weapon types such as assault rifles and flamethrowers, and you can upgrade their damage, rate of fire and accuracy from your camp.
So these shooters will sit on either side so you might have to do a bit of A-Team flying to line up a shot with your favoured weapon, but there are also automated turrets that are both ranged and melee based (buzzsaws are pretty cool for mowing down the undead).
Applying the pressure is easy as I just held down a shoulder button to shoot (shooters aren’t independent), but be warned that there are three gauges to pay attention to: fuel, health and ammo – keep shooting, and you’ll run out of ammo. Keep flying, and you’ll run out of ammo, need I go on?
It’s The End Of The World As We Know It
Kills in Dustoff Z will give drops, but there are also landing zones to refill. If you run out of fuel or health, you’re dead, but you get one continue at the expense of 50 coins – the currency for upgrading. It’s not that hard to earn coins though, so assume you get an additional continue.
Each level has three stars to win which will give you coins, parts and beans. You get the first bit, but parts are used to upgrade your chopper with armour, speed and ammo capacity (you can also change the paint if you find the respective paint pots in-game), and beans are used to upgrade your people.
Fuelled by beans.
Right, lets head to the camp. The camp allows you to recruit new staff, pending you’ve completed the individual level, and you can then upgrade their stats, but you need beans for this, and that’s only obtained through achieving each objective, so they can be quite scarce.
In addition to upgrades, you also have the option to read through the zombie bestiary of enemy units you encounter and daily challenges that award more coin. You can also replay previous levels which are not only great for levelling up but also the sheer fun of it.
The presentation throughout Dustoff Z is excellent – from navigating the menus in camp to the actual gameplay is brilliant. As I said, the loading times are super swift, though I do wish you could skip boss intros (you can skip everything else you’ve already seen).
Presentation isn’t just limited to the visuals as the sound effects and, often redneck, music is brilliant. Dustoff Z won’t blow you away with stunning graphics or unique gameplay, but it’s one of those titles you will keep coming back to, like a Sega Dreamcast title.
That would be a massive compliment if you knew my love for the DC.
As this is a preview and the game is still in development, there are a few moments where zombies will seemingly teleport onto the skids of your helicopter, which is quite annoying as they bring you down, forcing you to eat dirt. The collision with some of the buildings can be overly sensitive too, but overall, it’s an enjoyable game that I recommend you keep an eye on.
Out later this year, it has an arcade-like, charming quality to it and there’s a lot of satisfaction in repeat plays and the fun of unlocking new characters, vehicles and upgrades.
Keep an eye out for the future release and add Dustoff Z to your wishlist on Steam.