The second offering in 2011’s Summer of Arcade came out this past week, and like Bastion before it, the materials I saw before release intrigued me enough to pick it up. I am speaking, of course, of From Dust, the environment-manipulation game from UbiSoft.
In From Dust, you control the Breath, a deity of sorts that has the ability to manipulate the landscape. You can pick up anything from water to lava with the left trigger and drop it with the right. At first you’ll just be using earth to make bridges over water, but later in the game things get more complex as you’ll be sculpting the land to re-direct lava flows or using wind to part the seas.
No god would be complete without people to worship it and From Dust supplies you with devotees in the form of the Men. These little guys are your responsibility as they seek out to populate the land and rediscover connections to their ancient heritage. For the most part the Men do what they will, you only command them what to do when you want to recover an artifact, found a new village or move on to the next area.
From Dust is a little different from other games of this type because it puts you under a lot of pressure in the later stages, forcing you to move fast against the overly-aggressive nature of the world. Erosion happens very quickly and lava can overwhelm your poor Men if you’re not careful. You’re not omnipotent here, the Breath has a very defined set of powers and it’s up to you to work within those limitations as best as you can. The only problem I’m experiencing with From Dust so far is the controls; they’re a bit too loose for my taste, requiring a lot of compromise on your part as you’re not able to fine tune your movements with the analogue sticks.
Other than that, though, From Dust is a very interesting game and carves out its own niche in the Summer of Arcade. God games are something we don’t see a lot of on the consoles (or even on PC anymore), so if you’ve been missing those types of games, I recommend checking this out.
Has anyone else grabbed From Dust? Are you waiting for the PC/PS3 releases? What are your thoughts?