STAFF REVIEW of Dustoff Z (Xbox One)

Wednesday, November 11, 2020.
by Heather Webster

Dustoff Z Box art Grab your guns and grab your ammo, it's time to hit the air in your makeshift chopper so you can rescue zombie apocalypse survivors and gather supplies. Dustoff Z is a sequel to the Dustoff Heli Rescue games from developer Invictus. Even though you can play this game with two controllers, it is a single player sidescroller with a layout that you might expect from a mobile game.

The scene opens onto a picturesque view of a city in a graphic novel style cutscene. You see a dilapidated police station with the letters falling off the building. Two police officers are hanging out at their helicopter and then a zombie mob approaches. They quickly fly into action and grab their guns; it’s zombie killing time.

The first apocalypse survivor you meet is Betsy, whom will teach you some tips on how the game is played. After the first level you’ll rendezvous with her at the survivor’s camp. Your job is to pilot a makeshift helicopter made of salvaged parts, to rescue survivors, collect supplies and data, and of course kill some zombies. All in a limited amount of time though.

Dustoff Z is easy to get into and spend several hours playing, while at the same time retaining the fun laid-back approach of a mobile app, meaning that it’s also great if you only have a few minutes and can limit yourself to one or two levels before you have to do something else. Dustoff Z is fun and challenging as you fly your chopper on a 2D playing field, with the appearance of a full 3D world, without a background wall like some other sidescroller games. You fly over and under powerlines, busted bridges and damaged buildings while destroying zombies that are also hell-bent on killing you, all in the hopes of completing your mission one after another.

Combat is easy enough since you just need to pull the Right Trigger to fire your weaponry and you control your chopper with the Left Stick. Missions will become much easier once you figure out how to manage everything related to your chopper. This means you’ll need to get a hang of just how much ammo you are carrying, how close you are to the safe zone, where you get refilled with all ammo fuel and health and a few other minor things.

Upgrading is the way to get along farther through the game as the levels get more challenging with each mission. The Helicopters are upgraded with coins and cogs to get better speed, armor, and the amount of ammo it can carry onboard. With your shooters you’ll be able to upgrade their accuracy, their rate of fire and their damage with coins and beans. All are gathered either in level or by getting stars from completing levels, so it pays to work for the best outcome you can for more upgrade materials.

Dustoff Z seems like it could be a multiplayer game but unfortunately it's strictly a solo affair. While it could be fun played as a challenge with a friend or family member seeing if they could beat your score in a specific level, I would have enjoyed the inclusion of a multiplayer platform to play alongside with someone as well.

When I first checked out Dustoff Z, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this game, as I had never been introduced to the Dustoff line of games previously. The first time I played Dustoff Z though I got so caught up in it that I played it for about 4 hours before I had realized that much time had went by. It has enough of a challenge that I can continue to play and not get bored, but I also get frustrated because I can't get past a certain boss until the chopper and shooters get a bunch of upgrades, so there’s a bit of grind to it. That being said, after playing for a few days and losing a handful of hours playing it, it dawned on me that I rather enjoyed Dustoff Z more than I expected.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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