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Hands On: From Dust

From Dust arrives at the end of this month on PC, PSN and Xbox LIVE and to be honest after playing it for the first time today it can’t come soon enough.

The premise behind From Dust is to guide your tribe through their lives, helping them to survive in the harsh environment and the problems this brings along with it. Although our time with the game was limited and we had no sound to guide us through, we still got a good feel for the game and its addictive nature.

Being a Populus style title, From Dust gives players a first person perspective of the action, which allows you to get a good overview of the environment from above. In the first level on show, we were tasked with guiding our tribe between totems, where they would build a village before moving on. The main twist in this level was that in between totems there were rivers which the tribe could not cross. Here is where you come in. Your task is to  manipulate the environment by sucking up the sand, before dropping it onto the water to create a bridge, in turn allowing them to cross to the other side. Later in the level you are also able to suck up water in order to un-flood an area.

This first task was fairly simple and the controls were easy enough to pick up, although this was obviously the calm before the storm, quite literally. As you may have guessed, the second task was not so easy, as here the clock was ticking. This task basically gave us three minutes to build two bridges, with the consequence of failing meaning that our tribe would be forever lost under a Tsunami.

In order to win the task it was necessary to lift sand from one area and place it over a fast moving river; the problem was, that as we placed the sand down it was being washed away, therefore figuring out the path our tribe would take and acting fast was essential. Thankfully your tribe are pretty smart in this respect, as once you choose a waypoint you will see the path they intend to take. This makes it a lot easier to decide where you should build your bridge and certainly helps you shave essential seconds off the time it will take them to get to their destination. In the same respect, if for some reason you have blocked of their path, they will generally alter their route in order to get to where they need to go.

Manipulating the land is not always an easy task, taking sand away from one area may then cause that area to flood, since the sand you take may have been holding in a different area of water. Since you are being timed this makes things even more difficult as you try not to panic as the clock ticks closer to zero. In this particular level most of the tribe where drowned by me before the Tsunami got a chance.

Unfortunately there was no happy ending as just when we finished the last bridge the time ran out, resulting in a rather impressive cutscene showing our tribe being washed away. Shame really.

This was about all we managed to play of the game, however we understand that the longer the play, the more the land and your powers will evolve. This means that Lava, Rock and all other manner of environmental hazards will appear for you to manipulate and save you tribes from. There are also no doubt a lot more varied and difficult missions to challenge you along the way.

So we failed the demo really, and our chance of a bit of glory. Still, from what we played this one certainly let us wanting more, and that’s all you can ask from a game really.

From Dust is out starting July 27 for PC and Xbox LIVE. The PSN version will follow at a later date.

Remember, you can save money on the game by purchasing your LIVE points and PSN credit here.


Edited On 14 Jul, 2011

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