In From Dust players
manipulate various elements in realistic ways. Lave cools to form mountains,
geysers wash away the earth and rivers can be turned away through trenches.
These mechanics all work intuitively and realistically, though naturally things
work somewhat more quickly and simply than they would in reality.
By the Player:
Players have plenty
of creative freedom in that each stage of the game is totally malleable. It's
clear that there are a few intended solutions in each case, but players are
free to ignore these as they freely transform the land. Water, lava and earth
can be picked up and relocated at any time, and as the villagers populate each
settlement special abilities are unlocked. These may allow players to absorb
matter, solidify water or instantly put out fires, allowing even more freedom.
The last stage of
the game offers players a blank slate to experiment with and new abilities that
allow them to quickly draw mountains out of the sea or sweep tsunamis across
the land. This last stage has no goal, but all of the game's mechanics and
impressive visuals are put at the player's fingers at once.
Each stage of the
game offers a handful of secondary objectives, which involve finding hidden
stones and spreading vegetation across the land. Completing these unlocks
special challenge stages, which offer more condensed tests of the player's
skill and more difficulty than is found in the main campaign.
By the Developer:
From Dust is a unique take on
the strategy genre, taking elements from various other "god games"
that give players an omniscient perspective over a population. Its focus on
manipulating the earth is unique, however, and the smoothness which it allows
players in shaping this earth is remarkable. The game's puzzles are satisfying,
constantly forcing players to use new abilities and rethink the ways they've
used old ones.
Watching tsunamis crash into volcanoes and fill lakes in From Dust is
truly impressive, and manipulating them carefully can lead to extraordinary
sights. Alongside these visuals is a unifying aesthetic style. The game's tribe
speaks in its own distinct tongue, and players unlock pieces of lore about the
tribe and its history with the various elements as they proceed through the
Business skills are not involved in From Dust.
From Dust is a single-player
game and doesn't really have any characters or dialogue, making it limited in
The terrain of each stage challenges players in new ways. The various
arrangements of streams, chunks of earth, volcanoes, explosive trees and more
makes a unique puzzle of each stage. Each requires players to simultaneously
colonize three or four villages safely, which means clearing routes to each and
then protecting them from water and fire while the others are secured. The
villages are usually spaced fairly evenly, and players are free to approach
them in whatever order they decide. Players will soon learn to note the
locations of other important elements of each stage. These include volcanoes,
geysers, trees and artifacts that will help protect the villages.
While players might at first try to rearrange the earth subtly, each stage can
actually be completed using fairly broad strokes while still leaving players
some options to work with. To save a village from an impending flood, for
example, players might use earth to raise the village up, or remove earth to
dig a trench around it. When players begin to use magma to construct walls and
explosive trees to tear them down all kinds of new options appear for the
From Dust is not a simulation
From Dust was received fairly
well. Most reviews praised its fantastic visuals and use of simple but focused
mechanics. Criticisms include the length of the game and some frustrations with
From Dust only offers a few standard options.
rated Everyone 10+ by the ESRB with a descriptor for Mild Violence.