Aug 16 2011


I’ve let blogging slide a bit these past few days. I haven’t been able to focus on work, so I’ve been catching up on games instead!

“From Dust” is a God game of sorts. Unlike many, though, the landscape itself is alive – rivers erode and deposit earth and flop around as they do so, volcanoes erupt and lava drizzles unpredictably down the volcanic rock, tsunamis and rain can surge periodically and gradually wear down the earth.

With all of this going on, you’re mostly concerned with shoring things up for a few minutes at a time with your limited powers so your little people can achieve the next minor objective. Building bridges through water; diverting rivers and lava; putting out rampaging wildfires. It’s often a game about coping with, not conquering, a hostile environment.

In practice, that’s engaging and very physical. With the range of levels – one has the land itself sinking up and down, another is set within an active volcano, and each gives you different powers to play with – it’s fun and quite atmospheric, though having played it to death now I wish there more to it than just manipulating lava, earth and water.

I’ve also made a start on Bastion. In contrast to From Dust, which is very much built on complex simulation and clever mechanics, Bastion’s a real case of presentation over everything else. What presentation though! The narration’s constantly charming. If the demo pulls you in then rest assured the full game keeps it up as far as I’ve seen, and there’s plenty of optional difficulty on top thanks to the Shrine. I’m maybe two thirds of the way through the game now, but more than anything else it feels solid.

They’re honestly both great games. XBox Live Arcade’s library just got even more formidable 😀