by Mariana Morales
previewed on X360
And Then There Was Dust
From Dust is a game in which you manipulate the grand scale of nature and have the world at your finger tips. Essentially playing God in Ubisoft’s strategy simulation, you are tasked with protecting your tribe of followers from the cruel way of the natural world. Originally called Project Dust, the game is influenced by the volcanoes that creator Eric Chahi (Another World) enjoys so much. He wants the players to feel like the place you create actually exists and has conducted thorough research in order to achieve this. He went atop an actual volcano and witnessed the lava flowing over the earth. From this experience, his understanding of the world was changed.
Rediscover Their Past
The story in the game follows tribes who are seeking to rediscover their past. You help them recover their lost memories. The travellers explore the map creating villages and ancient totems making history as they go. The tribe people wear masks that encapsulate their identity. As they find unique masks on their journey, they will experience a vision of the past upon wearing it. With the powers you have, you can control the natural forces on the Earth; manipulating lava, water, sand, and vegetation.
Even if you create some kind of barrier, the people will find a way to get there. By clicking on an objective you can set a waypoint that your tribe will travel to, and if there are any problems on the way a red line will appear to indicate that your interception is required. There is also a meter on the screen that indicates how much land you have made into a forest, and if you achieve various goals, you can make wildlife appear. There is also a meter that indicates when the next natural disaster takes place.
One of the main objectives is to guide the tribe to elemental stones that grant them elemental powers that can protect them. Once they get to these totems, they must travel the dangerous path back to their village so you must watch out for the dangers that lie ahead. Once they come back to the village, they play an ancient song that summons the new power. There are also a number of natural disasters that will occur, from which new powers for the player can be earned upon successfully safeguarding your village. Such disasters like tsunamis can destroy villages that you have created so it is your job to find a way to protect the villages at all costs.
In From Dust, you will gain more powers as you progress. You have the regular powers to grab objects and drop them anywhere you want, experimenting to see the effects of this action will be vital. You can take lava and drop it in the water to cool it. Or drop lava on a forest to watch the flames rise over the canopy. That probably won’t help you but at least you can explore the possibilities, whether good or bad. You can even unlock a power that turns water into jelly but these kinds of skills are time limited so you should only use them when you need them.
The challenges at first are basic to allow players to discover their powers; bringing the worshippers across water by covering it with sand to create a bridge or drain the water out of an area are amongst the first. However, as you progress further the challenges will become more complicated and consequently more interesting. The progression of time in the game is sped up, so you can sit back and watch the landscape change dramatically. Perhaps the biggest spectacle will be the eruption of a volcano, which will occur all of a sudden; you may want to stop staring and get back to your protecting duties at this point.
Pulling The Strings
From Dust looks to be a fun way to create a world filled with water and volcanoes. I can only imagine how the soundtrack will match the mood of this game. I am personally excited for this title, because it's something very different to try out. I will be given god-like powers, and I will finally be in control!