From Dust (Review)
This article is pending translation
I have never before wanted to be a shimmery, dusty, omnipotent, and ever nurturing spirit snake until now. My deformed and miniature humanoid babies seem to like me.
I had also never thought that I’d able to see my birth through the power of song and dance, but From Dust, the XBLA Game — part of Xbox-Live’s Summer of Arcade 2011 — gave me exactly that. And as this wondrous child of the ether, born of the twisted-skull-mask-wearing tribe, I was forcibly advised to defend my children from the deadly elements of the outside world they found themselves in. Not an easy task for a new parent.
Luckily, unlike most children, my brood seemed to listen to all the orders I gave them, telling them to walk over there, pick up the stone, worship the sacred icon, and make sure you stay away from that volcano. Interestingly, I wasn’t expecting to learn whilst parenting these virtual children... but not only did I acquire the knowledge of how sedimentary rock is formed, and how the changing of tide gathers and removes soil in this thing called erosion, I also learnt the power to make jelly water, to deter tsunamis, and how to make the sun burn brighter and evaporate all moisture on the surrounding land.
Unluckily, however, it seems that the world I had been sent to defend my tribes from doesn’t make parenting easy. Fortunately for me, there was a timer for every natural disaster, and a way of preparing for each encounter with nature. Unfortunately, I seemed to drop the ball on a few occasions and had to suffer the audacity of not only hearing my children scream and gargle in the salty water of the relentless ocean, but also witness the ‘GAME OVER’ sign.
Being a parent of some immature, short, weird-faced people was very tricky at times. I had to carry thousands of tonnes of earth at one point to try and redirect a leaky volcano away from their villages. Though it was very satisfying (after the hard work was completed) to just sit back and watch the vegetation grow like an unmaintained weed: the plant life spreads like, well, wildfire, which once vast enough then attracts strange, almost bug-like leviathans who seem small and strangely cute to you, but almost definitely huge and terrifying to your children.
And speaking of wildfire, plant life with the addition of lava is not a very good combination for you, or your children. If — like me — you were just enjoying the view when one of kids fell off the swing, in this ongoing metaphor, then you will know the guilt that follows and no amount of apologies, spiritual offerings, or level progression will remove that underlying hatred as your children grow into their teenage years. Thankfully, as your tribal offspring mature, so do the plants, and your almighty powers! The plant life seems to evolve to incorporate the threat of forest fires and will make watery plants to put them out, leaving just one less thing for you to worry about.
I’m quite sure the thrill of world sculpting, combined with the loving admiration — and sometimes hatred — of your danger seeking, ugly-cute brood certainly makes the experience of being a shimmery, dusty, omnipotent, and ever nurturing spirit snake more rounded, enjoyable and fulfilling. Though needless to say I’m sure other people are better parents than me.
Though, saying that, other people don’t often have to contend with tsunamis, volcanoes, and forest fires every five minutes or so.