Monday, August 1, 2011

From Dust Review

Score: 8/10
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade Only
Length: 8-10 hours

Many people played the game Black & White that let you take on the role of a god. As a God you were responsible for your tribe of worshipers and could manipulate the landscape and cast powers to help or hurt your villagers. People appreciated the creativity in game design and unconventional gameplay. From Dust follows closely in the footsteps of Black and White.

In From Dust, the player is a God like being that must protect a small band of tribesmen from the environment.  To win each map you must have the villagers settle villages on all the totems on the map (there are a max of 4). Getting your villagers to the totems involves redirecting lava flows, damming rivers, using dirt to create bridges, etc. Some of the maps are quite challenging and require a lot of thought and planning to safely get your villagers to the totem spots. The totems once settled will sometimes grant the player a powerful god power like turning all the water on the map into gel for a short time allowing a path to be made through a raging river. After settline all the totems a gateway opens allowing passage to the next map. For anyone worried about controls, I personally played through the entire game just fine with the controler and had no issues. 
From Dust is one of the most beautiful arcade games you will ever download. A high level of polish was placed into making the environments feel natural and alive. From the way the water flows to how the lava gushes out of the volcano you get a feeling of realism. The Xbox 360 does an impressive job of rendering the graphics on the 6 year old hardware and gives one a sense of wonder as to how stunning the PC version will be.
From Dust was a beautiful unique game that was an absolute joy to play. It was refreshing to play a game that didn't involve scores, killing, or anything you typically see in most games. My only issues with the game were a little lack of complexity and depth due to the limitations of the Xbox Controller and a lack of a sandbox or randomly generated map mode. Even without those features this game is still a wonderful piece of art and a fun game. If you're looking for a clever, challenging, and different game to play I highly recommend From Dust for only $15 (1200 points).

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