Yeah, I understand that the starter weapon isn't meant to feel all that powerful, but unless many of the later weapons have either a homing ability to make enemies above or below the plane of fire or a much larger area of effect, I can't see there being many situations where a gun would ever be more useful than a melee hit and run tactic. Using a resource to do damage vs free damage, albeit with higher risk of damage, to me seems to favor the latter in most situations simply because there is no aim. As cluttered, cramped and vertical as many of the levels are, using a resource free attack that won't miss simply due to a incline seems like the favorable choice.
As for the dash, I don't think it was tutorialized all that well. I think putting the player in a safe situation where they're forced to use it would drive home that it's an important mechanic, because once I moved on from that section, and the fact that it was a directional input combo and not a dedicated button, I completely forgot about it.