So fucking Matt came back from being dead to review one of the XBLA games we never got to check out. Just holding down the back nine as usual. Check it.
Hi there everybody, I’m back from the grave, and here to review a video game for you! As you’ve no doubt noticed, I’ve been pretty much absent from the site for a while, because I’m a busy son of a bitch with too much stuff to do. I’m sure you don’t care about my personal life though, so on with the review. From Dust is a sort of sandboxy type god-mode puzzle game from our fine friends over at Ubisoft. In the game, you play as a god-like force called “the voice”, and your mission is to shape the land in order to ensure the survival and prosperity of a nomadic tribe of wackos.
I bought this game because at first glance, it has a striking similarity to one of my favorite PC games of all time, Black and White. If you’re a big B&W fan, I’d be wary. It’s actually nothing like it at all. It’s basically a puzzle game, albeit a fairly unique and fun one. In each level, you start with a level, villagers, and a bunch of totems scattered around the level. The objective is to start a village around each totem, avoiding, controlling, and rerouting various natural hazards along the way, like tsunamis, volcanoes, and some other fun stuff. You do this with the ability to move matter. Specifically, you can move Earth, water, and lava. You can move a bunch of Earth to make a land bridge for your villagers to walk over, you can move water to put out fires, you can move lava to make rock walls to block a river or something (or to annihilate your villages, you sick bastard). After you populate each totem, you lead your villagers to the exit, and proceed to the next level.
In all honesty, From Dust is a really great puzzle game. I went into it expecting some sort of Civilization-esque world-building and customization stuff, and basically got stuck with pretty-looking picross. Did I mention it was pretty? It’s damn pretty. The graphics are incredible, and the game does a great job putting you into the atmosphere. But mistaken expectations aside, it’s a pretty great game if you’re into puzzle games.
Originality – In all honesty, this is one of the most unique premises for a game I’ve ever seen. It’s got a lot of Lemmings in it, mixed with a little Black and White and a sprinkle of Minecraft. The way the player is able to manipulate the environment is just awesome.
Graphics – This game has some damn pretty graphics. If you left it playing on your TV (after making sure your villages were safe, of course), it would make some pretty cool meta-hipster live art sort of thing. I’ll say it again, it’s a really pretty game.
Learning Curve – For such a unique concept, it’s only natural to expect some getting used to, but this game teaches the player the concepts in a way that’s fun, easy to understand, without making you feel like a toddler on a leash. It makes you FEEL godly.
Customization – I think it would be a pretty cool thing to be able to pick and choose what your villagers look like. It would also be pretty cool to have some sort of upgradable powers, along the ines of a skill tree or something like that.
Shut the Hell Up, Nomads! – Every time you use the “repel water” power to avoid a tsunami, the villagers start playing this godawful tribal beat for hours on end. Do your magic quietly, you annoying little trolls!
Take it or leave it. It’s a really solid puzzle game, if you’re a person who likes puzzle games. If you’re looking for more of a Spore-type customizable civilization game, look elsewhere. Maybe play some Spore or something? But seriously, From Dust is a really cool concept by some really cool people, and there’s a lot of fun to be had in this game. If I could do it again, I’d probably not have spent the points on it, but that’s just me. Puzzle games aren’t really my thing. But if they’re your thing, From Dust is a solid choice that will keep you entertained and give you your money’s worth.
We’re doing a x/100 rating system now?