The lights are on
Without any prior knowledge of this
game one might assume it could be an agricultural simulator, however From Dust essentially is the answer to
Joan Osborne’s only notable song “One of Us”. So what if God was one of us? If
you have played one of the many god simulator’s around the internet or even
possibly for purchase you might think that he was a cold hearted killer who
only found pleasure in electrocuting hobo’s, but that’s not the case with this
game. Unfortunately or not, your task in the game is to guard and guide your
own personal tribe to designated “totems” in an attempt to mad dash to the
portal allowing you to progress to the next level.
The main point of the story
being “finding a suitable place for these people to inhabit”, however I find
that this clearly cannot be the case since the very first level has no natural
disasters of any sort and quite easy for them to want to live in. So what
gives? Story however is not vital to this game, although it is a nice deterrent
and adds some backdrop for why you (the breath) have the powers you do. In this
regard you don’t play god, more so you play an ancestral spirit imbibed with
inherit abilities (given the proper totems are inhabited).
So what is the daily dose of “god”
like in From Dust you might be
asking? Fortunately due to a very non-complex user interface there is not a lot
of unnecessary information being thrown at you like you might see in other
games (such as abilities or resources). Your primary knowledge is the totems
you have inhabited (along with their abilities which can be activated with the
corresponding key number), any impending natural disasters (such as tsunami’s
or volcanic eruptions), and vegetation (which is a concern for certain
objectives but mostly for unlockables).
The way you play the game is simple,
you use either your mouse or the WASD keys to move your character (which looks
like a golden snake kind of) and you use the left mouse click to pick up
resources and right click to drop them. Given this simple gameplay mechanic
your objective is also easily comprehendible, but increasingly more difficult
to carry through. At the onset of a level you will notice various obstacles for
your tribesmen to reach the totems (essentially making the game a kind of
pseudo-escort/god game) and you need to use the surrounding resources to
correct the problem. For example, say there is a lake between point A and B,
then pick up some sand and plop it right on the water to create a sand bridge.
When sand won’t work, in later levels try lava to create rock roads or walls or
even use water to douse flames and grow agriculture. The beauty of the game is
in the varied ways anyone can attempt to solve one problem, all the while
having the same objective.
The only real problem with the game
is that it is not too long to complete the entire single-player experience
(although there are challenge maps) and there is a real difficulty spike near
the last third of the game that becomes quite troublesome to overcome. Yet From Dust takes a visually and
objectively creative twist on the god game genre and is worth a try.
Note: I played PC version
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