From Dust isn’t a new game but it’s one that has intrigued me for a while. First came Age of Empires (for me anyway) then Black and White until eventually I moved onto Civilization. The idea of creating civilisations and controlling those who follow you has always been a theme that I’ve enjoyed in a game so does From Dust do it for me?
Although the game is quite beautiful I have to say no to my question in the opening paragraph.. I’m going to say this from the get go and thus remove all point in you reading the rest of this review. My main reason for this is the controls. While I haven’t played From Dust on a console, on a PC it is abysmal.
The controls are awkward as the screen scrolls automatically if your mouse isn’t centred on the screen. This is incredibly frustrating, particularly if you are trying to carefully place a lava bridge. You’ll be slowly creating the bridge but the moment you move your mouse too far across the screen then you find yourself flinging lava all over the place. Even if you bring the sensitivity of the mouse right down to 2 or 3, you end up scrolling around uncontrollably. It is also particularly awkward to pick up objects such as water/fire trees or even village totems as the horrible controls mean you end up picking up dirt and sand more than you pick up what you actually want.
It was difficult for me to get past the horrible controls but once I did, the game isn’t all that bad. It reminds me of a poor man’s Black and White but slightly more serious and no pet for your people to worship. You go from world to world taking your little minions, sorry I mean men, with you. In each world you have to establish a series of villages, some of which give you special abilities such as evaporating water, jellifying water and protecting your village from tsunamis.
The abilities aspect of the game I liked quite a lot and I did like the use of natural disasters like tsunamis but it would have been a lot less stressful if my mouse actually did what I wanted it to do. The way the land can change and how the land moves according to how you place it and how you redirect water is also a nice touch that was slightly frustrating when trying to build land bridges. Although I will admit I found a perverse pleasure in drowning my villages by redirecting water.
So if you’re interested in getting From Dust please don’t do what I do and ignore all the reviews and buy it anyway. Thankfully I didn’t pay full price for it and I’m glad that I had waited until it was on sale. If you want to play a game like this but a lot better then go and play Black and White. It may be old but at least it’s still amazing.
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