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So I last made a post on here over a year ago and I thought it was time to take it up again, so here we go, an attempt at a review of From Dust! Lets do this.

From Dust is an adventure/simulation game from designed by Eric Chahi who made some games I’ve heard of but never played. This first caught my eye on an episode of Inside Gaming where they briefly mentioned it and I was instantly hooked in. So I followed it’s release date until it appeared for pre-order on steam, happy days! Release day rolls around and I log in to install it but tragedy strikes when I realise the release has been pushed back 3 weeks to make way for the console releases. This is probably the only REAL bad thing I have to say about From Dust, this game is AMAZING.

Lets start with the gameplay. You are ‘The Breath’, effectively the hand of god, and your goal is to help this tribe of villagers found villages to allow them to control the elements and follow the footsteps of their ancient ancestors to find their memories and a promised land. You do this through the manipulation of earth, water, and lava in order to alter the landscape to create paths through obstacles or protect villages from disaster. The latter of these is perhaps the most entertaining part of the game. You can find yourself altering the pathways of streams of lava and water to create elaborate streams that guide these forces of nature away from villages, however the dynamic and evolving environment frequently thwarts these attempts. One example I can think of is a level halfway through the game where I diverted a water spring to protect a village from a nearby volcano, however the result of this was the wall of rock formed by the cooling lava diverted the water stream straight into another village, washing it into the sea. Did I care? No, I just sat there thinking ‘holy crap, that was awesome’. There are some minor control issues on the PC, with The Breath being very much a console orientated being, the camera is moved by moving your cursor around and centres on it, requiring smoothing of the camera movement, resulting in some awkward moments where it takes a few moments for you to correctly aim your giant ball of lava which will occasionally cause some frustration.

It helps that the game looks fantastic, volcanoes form mountains which teem with life, streams carve paths through the earth, forming all the river features you learnt about in primary school. And all this unites for form amazing looking landscapes in which you become thoroughly invested. I found myself playing a level for far longer than I needed to simply to see how the landscape would change if I diverted a stream through some hills or built a wall of rock at the bottom of a lava flow.

The result of me trying to create a lake through blocking a river.

The only problem I had with the game was it was a little too easy, that is, up until the penultimate level. I completed each challenge without having to restart or spending too much time, up until the final level, where it took me around 10 goes to even figure out how to last more than 10 minutes. However, the game rewards you significantly for this final effort by allowing you to “make the world in your image”, giving you the power to create land, spawn lava flows and water springs, and do whatever you want with a blank slate. Trust me, experiment, press every button it says you can to see what you can make, I’ve already spent as much time on this level as I did on the rest of the game.

There is some extra play time to be had in the challenge mode too.

All in all, this is a damn good game. It’s a little short and the control issues can be infuriating, but for £11 I had a damn good few hours and would recommend it to anyone. It’s really refreshing to play a game which doesn’t involve explosions, no matter how much I love explosions.


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