Review – Dustoff Z

When I first found out about Dustoff Z, my initial thought was that I was going to play some kind of spiritual successor to the classic arcade game Choplifter. A game which was all about controlling a chopper in a small 2D map, killing enemy soldiers, and properly landing near hostages in order to rescue them. Dustoff Z felt like the same thing, but with low-poly visuals and zombies. Turns out there’s a bit more to this game than what I was initially expecting.

Dustoff Z

Helicopters + zombies + videogame prologue sequences = that bad boy is surely gonna crash.

What I appreciate the most about this game is that, despite resembling that classic yet limited arcade title, it does have a myriad of elements that make it stand out as its own thing. First of all, Dustoff Z isn’t that typical arcade experience, in which you have to survive as much as possible while racking up points. There are thirty missions in here, ranging from the previously mentioned rescuing missions to convoy escorts and some boss battles. Dustoff Z is a bit more varied than what I was expecting, but that does not mean the game is particularly complex.

These missions are stupidly short and act like small levels in a mobile game, to the point they even feature the same three-star rating system whenever you beat them. The game is clearly meant to be played in small bursts, since you can actually beat it in its entirety in a couple of hours at most. It wants you to replay some missions multiple times, since you’re supposed to rack up cash and resources for you to upgrade your helicopter, as well as your gunners’ stats, such as accuracy and fire rate. Nothing too impressive, but it makes the game bit meatier than expected.

Dustoff Z

These convoy escort missions make the game stand out a bit more.

It’s not exactly a visually impressive title, since it goes for that typical low poly art style that’s all the rage in the indie scene, but I do appreciate its stupidly high and stable framerate. It does feature easy controls as well. What impressed me the most, however, was its sound department. Sure, the soundtrack itself isn’t that fantastic, but if there’s one thing I wasn’t expecting from Dustoff Z, that thing was high quality voice acting. All in all, the game does feature a higher level of polish than what I would otherwise expect from a smaller indie like this.

Dustoff Z

I don’t know if this is just a zombie apocalypse of a little teaser of what 2021 is going to look like.

There’s no need to keep on beating around the bush. Dustoff Z is pretty simple and straightforward. It’s a short but fun arcade experience that isn’t going to make a lasting impact, but still manages to be entertaining in short bursts. I don’t exactly think I would have enjoyed this game at all had I played anywhere else but on the Switch, but that portable system ended up being a perfect fit for a title like this. If you’re into retro titles like Choplifter, or if you’re one of the few people who still aren’t tired of zombie apocalypse adaptations inspired by The Walking Dead, then give Dustoff Z a shot. Unlike the zombies you’re constantly fighting against, this one is pretty harmless.


Graphics: 6.5

A low poly art style that gets tiresome pretty quickly. It does run at a very high framerate, even in portable mode, at the very least.

Gameplay: 7.0

Simple arcade controls that are easy to learn and not exactly hard to master. It’s quite shallow and repetitive though.

Sound: 8.0

The soundtrack is decent, albeit not exactly memorable, and the sound effects are passable. What really caught off guard, however, was the excellent voice acting present in here.

Fun Factor: 7.0

Dustoff Z is equally a nostalgic delight and a simple yet innovative arcade experience. It’s not very complicated and not very deep, which makes it a perfect fit for a portable. It’s best enjoyed in small bursts.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Dustoff Z is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Dustoff Z was provided by the publisher.