As part of my 5 hour rule, my first Steam sale pick was the Ubisoft strategy game From Dust.
From Dust started off as a project that I couldn’t help to be excited about. I have a bit of a god complex and this game is nothing but you playing god to help your tribe advance in their quest for locating all of the powers of the Ancients. Despite the premise and setup however, early reviews had me sour on the game enough that I decided to wait it out. By the time it finally hit its first Steam sale, it was a definite must buy for me.
I have mixed feelings about waiting on this title after having played it because it is definitely a fun game. My five hour criteria was met without any issues, and I can also honestly say that I got hooked on its simple gameplay and seemingly sandbox appeal.
The game’s objective for each map throughout the campaign is to activate each of four totems and then activate a final exit. The getting there definitely varies as each map tries to introduce new powers and complications. That’s where most of the sandbox elements do come in. You can choose how and how fast you want to finish a map. As a god figure, you utilize the powers unlocked from the totems and your ability to pick up sand, lava, or water, to terraform the world for your tribe’s best interests.
But From Dust is not a true sandbox game (not until the very end, at least) and I have trouble thinking of it as a strategy game. If anything, From Dust is just a really, really polished indie puzzle game. Though the puzzles have an open approach, often times the solutions are very straight forward. The setup of the game just gives you an illusion of deeper strategy and freedom.
From Dust definitely lives up to being a fun title, and for that alone it is worth what I paid. However, its potential isn’t quite realized in its utter simplicity. I would love to see a sequel one day that breaks the game out of the Puzzle mold it has put itself into. It definitely is a cool idea with a workable premise.
Sequels and potential aside, From Dust is without a doubt worth at least five hours of your time.