Review: Dustoff Z (Switch)

Take on a zombie apocalypse in an attack helicopter!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 11/02/2020 21:10 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Fun arcade-like gameplay; ranking and upgrade system will keep players coming back for more; lots of sharpshooters and helicopters to choose from and upgrade; wonderful low-poligonal visuals
Poison Mushroom for...
Objectives can start to run stale over extended periods of play; soundtrack is okay

Anyone out there who played Invictus Games’ Dustoff Heli Rescue will feel right at home with Dustoff Z. The spiritual successor to that game, Dustoff Z takes the core mechanics of that game but polishes them up and adds everyone’s favorite horde of the undead into the mix. Attack helicopters and zombies are a surprisingly winning mix; if you’ve been looking for a unique action experience on Switch, Dustoff Z is a great game to consider.

The premise is simple: humanity is being overrun by zombies and is fighting to survive. Dustoff Z makes no bones about utilizing a tried-and-true narrative setup. The story here is window dressing; basic details to set the stage for the action itself. Dustoff Z has a very arcade-like feel to its gameplay, so the minimalist narrative works. Plus, there is a bevy of different shooters to recruit who add some personality to the mix, which helps keep things interesting.

Dustoff Z is reminiscent of many mobile games in that each mission is ranked with a three-star system at the conclusion. Unlike titles such as Candy Crush Saga, which never ends, Dustoff Z is home to 30 missions, each with an adjustable difficulty level. For those who find themselves baffled or overwhelmed by a particular situation, the difficulty can be lowered at the start so that the player can proceed to the next mission and return later to try and get a better score. Alternatively, those wanting a stiffer challenge can up the ante straight away. It’s a solid progression system that should please players of multiple skill levels.

There are a number of things to do while out piloting an attack chopper. Gameplay takes place on a 2D plane, with players piloting the craft left and right in order to complete objectives. At either of the open side doors of the heli are positioned shooters. These marksmen can be recruited between missions as well as upgraded. They’re critical to success as they’re the only defense against the frenzied crowds of zombies on the ground below. Finding the right crew, especially with some of the more intense encounters later on, is key to surviving.

The helicopter itself is also subject to enhancement. There are multiple different builds (with many being outright hilarious, such as a school bus) and paint jobs to choose from, each with different styles of control. A chopper’s winch is one of the tools at the player’s disposal; with it, players can position supplies, pick up zombies, and even utilize it as an offensive weapon. What’s more, the aforementioned sharpshooters are controlled by the player. Watch out, though, as fuel and munitions are finite. Hitting save points is crucial for staying loaded and airborne, and the scramble to get to one before running dry is a real rush.

The low-poligonal visuals are a perfect fit for Dustoff Z’s tone. The design is reminiscent of the visual style in Hotshot Racing; it draws from the best of the days of consoles like Nintendo 64 without being overly slavish, instead opting for greater fidelity and detail. The graphics are punchy and bright, perfectly mirroring the arcade-like qualities of the gameplay itself. The soundtrack is more of a mixed bag; I found it to be somewhat grating over time. The music isn’t terrible by any stretch, so judge it for yourself.

If there’s anywhere that Dustoff Z falls flat, it’s that the objectives can start to become a little stale after long stretches of playing. The addition of some verticality to the gameplay would go a long way towards spicing things up, possibly. However, Dustoff Z is really at its best in bursts of play. The missions can fly by, and repeating them for higher rankings is an integral part of the experience. Working to upgrade shooters and helicopters is also very engaging, which in turn makes replaying missions worthwhile.

Dustoff Z is a straightforward arcade-style flight game. Tackle missions, eradicate packs of zombies, and complete objectives, all in order to continue upgrading the multitude of choppers and crew members. It’s a well made loop that will suck in players and have them coming back to hit a three-star rating, especially on the tricky, higher difficulty levels. Don’t let this one slip under your radar!

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In 0 points Log in or register to grow your Ninja Score while interacting with our site.
Nintendojo's RSS Feeds

All Updates Podcast
News Comments
Like and follow usFacebookTwitter Friend Code Exchange + Game with Us Join the Team!