From Dust Review
The hits keep coming in this years Summer of Arcade with From Dust by Ubisoft Montpellier (XBLA 1200 MSP).
Designed by Eric Chahi, From Dust puts you in the role of The Breath, a force called upon by a nomadic tribe that's able to harness the elements to aid them in their search of the ancients.
From a first person view, you control a swirling cursor that is able to pick up earth, water and lava to deposit elsewhere. You can then create paths or remove obstacles for your tribe so they may venture to build villages or gather totems that allow protection from natural disasters or to augment your skills.
The main goal is to lead your tribe to the next gateway so they can settle on new islands, each with their own challenges and environmental dangers.
Visually, the game is stunning. Water ripples and snakes its way through earth you've created to find its way to the sea. Lava burns vegetation and forms rock when cooled. Earth falls as grains of sand and turns to mud near water. Everything has been thought out to act as a true living environment.
Gameplay can last quite some time depending on your puzzle solving. Many tasks are time based but are clearly noted on what must be done. It's sculpting the terrain that becomes tricky in aiding your tribe reach their destination or protect them from tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
Many times in my attempts to beat the clock I managed to accidentally flood my village or burn it down from lava being too close to vegetation unintentionally.
Forming bridges from cooled lava can aid or hinder villagers trying to cross rivers. They can be too steep or too low to water only to watch them carried off by the current if they try to swim ashore. It's truly the attention to detail that makes this game so unique to play in an industry dominated by more action oriented genres.
I highly recommend From Dust. In my brief playthrough I've been positioned to think in a living 3D space as either savior or destroyer in my attempts to lead my tribe on a journey to discover their origins.
Remember, you can always play in demo mode, but I'm sure you'll be quickly addicted its unique gameplay. Question is: will you be a happy god or a vengeful god?