When first gazing upon Legend of Grimrock, people see a game that looks old yet incredibly new at the same time. With astounding visuals, the cool, claustrophobic walls immediately remind one of dungeon crawlers of the past. The sense of atmosphere invokes tunnel vision as players find themselves transported to a uniquely foreboding and mysterious mountain. Genuine challenge in tow, the game feels reminiscent as the developers took what worked and discarded the rest — the only way that throwbacks can survive in the current competitive market. Though occasionally too easy, the puzzles are often creative and engrossing. Truly, no one can argue that Legend of Grimrock simply appeals to nostalgia.
Dust: An Elysian Tail proves that an essentially one-man operation can create a game that looks, feels, and plays like professional-grade titles such as those from VanillaWare. Couple that with HyperDuck Sound's amazing music, and you have an independently developed game that can stand toe-to-toe with the big boys. Dust: An Elysian Tail may not be perfect, but it sets the bar for independently developed games even higher than before.