‘From Dust’ Game Review


Online stores such as PSN and Steam have been a godsend for gamers and developers alike. They allow smaller, experimental games to be distributed onto the market at a lower cost, allowing them to reach an audience that they may never have crossed paths with. Games like Limbo, Braid and Scott Pilgrim vs The World are all powerful examples of this. The flip side of the coin is that games may not be put under the same level of trail and scrutiny before being made available, which is the case with From Dust.

Those who remember a pre-Pokemon world may have played a game called Another World (Out of this World if you’re American), an innovative and unique gaming experience. That games creator, Eric Chahi, has returned with this imaginative but sadly flawed God-simulator. It works like this: you have a little clan of mask wearing tribal types who you need to move from point to point, building villages and spreading vegetation, until they reach the exit. To do this you control what appears to be a trail of snot who can collect water, earth or lava into the air and deposit it elsewhere with different effects.

From Dust makes an great first impression. The graphics looks great and the focus has been on visual splendor. The water and lava glow and shimmer and the brilliant physics are a site to behold. Lava oozes and solidifies in contact with water, whilst the water wobbles in the air before pouring down mountains and through valleys. Plenty of time has been dedicated to these aesthetic qualities and it’s the games strongest point.

On the other hand we have the tribes AI, or the lack thereof. Your followers rate as the dumbest creatures to inhabit a video game since Lemmings and even after you’ve cleared a path for them they’ll take it upon themselves to find another route through mountains and across lakes and yell at you for not making it possible. Forget about telling them to go another way, or clearing a nearby path to put them back of course, because they’ll just stand there yelling. At times this can get so frustrating that it’s easier to start the level over. The second major gripe is in the controls and visuals. Instead of having a controllable zoom you can switch between a close view or a wide view. The close view gives you a frustratingly limited field of vision and the wide one makes it impossible to pinpoint something you want to collect. Some middle ground would’ve been nice here.

 

Combine those gripes with skittish and fiddling controls and the game rapidly goes from being enjoyable to petty frustration. There are better options for the same price. A shame, as a bit more play testing and feedback might’ve made it awesome.

THREE outta TEN