Have You Played… From Dust?

PC

The hand of God

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The god game genre hasn’t had many breakout hits, and it’s hard to argue From Dust is one of ’em. But despite a load of hoo-ha about DRM when this first released on PC, back in 2011, it’s probably the most meditative god games I’ve ever played. You’re not omnipotent, you see. You don’t actually have a lot of powers. You can move sand around like nobody’s business, though.

It becomes mostly a game about clever terraforming. You little flock of believers need to get to different places, and you can facilitate that. You can move the earth in a very literal sense, by picking it up and dumping it somewhere else. It feels more like you’re doing small miracles than in e.g. Black & White, where you can throw people onto your flaming prayer altar.

From dust is also quite hard, because of how limited your miracle workings are. Sometimes when you scoop up a load of sand, a big natural spring is revealed, and threatens to wash away your whole village if you don’t cover it back up again, or build a makeshift dam. It made me think of the Terry Pratchett book Small Gods. No bad thing there.

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