From Dust is one of the most unique games I have played this gen. The game basically gives you the power of a God i.e to manipulate nature and ensure the survival and prosperity of your tribe. It won’t be easy, however, since nature can retaliate and it’s up to you to devise clever ways to solve the detrimental situation. Nature makes things evolve slowly and steadily over time, but in this game you can hasten the process with the powers given to you. The game was part of the XBL Summer of Demand and was recently released on the PSN. This review is based on the PSN version of the game.
You control a worm like object called The Breath, which will be your main tool in this game. Using L2 you can absorb matter and release it by pressing R2. It’s clever and requires you to apply a little thought to the process. The main goal is to ensure that you guide the tribesmen to the Tottem’s in each level all the while ensuring their safety. It’s not going to be easy as you have to face Tsunami’s, Volcanic explosions and much more, which can easily wipe out your tribe and result in a game over screen. Whenever, there is danger, a timer appears and you have to fulfill certain objectives like sending a man to a sacred stone to learn the knowledge to repel these nature’s attacks.
In my first playthrough, I failed miserably resulting in a massive Tsunami obliterating the village I created. It looked amazing, but in a way I felt a little guilty for not doing it correctly. The graphics in the game are gorgeous with wonderful art design. You have a flexible camera here, which gives you control over the entire map. The map is a bit limited but that’s expected. When you absorb matter like sand or water, there is a big balloon like thing formed which you can carry anywhere in the map and unload it. You aren’t given a lot of resources to play with, so you got to be careful. The game starts off easier, teaching you the gameplay mechanics, which are quite simple then increasing the difficulty as you play on.
You can build a village by guiding the tribesmen to the Tottem and here is where the manipulation part comes in. Usually, it will be impossible for them to cross lands to reach the Tottem, so with the powers you have; you can build a bridge and help them cross over. As soon as the village is built the vegetation spreads to the available terrain slowly. The end result from empty sand to lush vegetation looks amazing. This is one of the most creative and thought provoking games I have played, along with good production values.
The pathfinding is quite straightforward. If there is an adequate land mass, the tribesmen can travel easily otherwise stall when they encounter an obstacle like water, which is where you come in. AI pathfinding can completely ruin the game in some occasions, especially if it is complex but here in From Dust, it is a mixed bag. They don’t usually follow the path you want them to take in the latter stages of the game, which results in annoyance.
The only issue here is that if you fail to quickly create a bridge or complete an objective in the set amount of time, the tribesmen may be unable to reach the destination and will result in a game over screen. That is one of things that you will regularly see in this game, it is more like trial and error and improving upon the mistakes to improve your timing. There aren’t many technical issues here and the game is quite straightforward once you learn the gameplay mechanics. It will keep you entertained for quite a while, giving you some cool powers to manipulate nature. For people who are interested in this unique concept, this is a worthy purchase.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
Great art design, Creative gameplay, Terrain manipulation works well
In-game timer, Pathfinding Issues
From Dust is an amazing game which challenges you to think out of the box with the powers given to you, to ensure the safety and prosperity of your Tribe. It is one of the most unique games to have released this gen and is highly recommended.