ARJUN SUKUMARAN takes a look at some recent downloadable titles that give you plenty of action for your money.
Platforms: PC/PS3/Xbox 360
In From Dust, players assume the role of a god-like entity tasked with protecting and aiding a primitive tribe as they struggle to survive in a hostile world. How are you going to do that? Well, you start off with the basic ability to manipulate certain types of matter — soil, water and lava — and you acquire other powers along the way as your followers prosper.
It is a gorgeous game, and watching the interaction of the elements as you manipulate them is almost worth the price of admission by itself. Add in the catastrophic events that beset your hapless tribe — ranging from tsunamis to volcanic eruptions — and you've got a true visual spectacle on your hands.
The game looks like it might just be able to breathe fresh life into the “god-game” genre, with its clever mechanics, jaw-dropping graphics and awesome sense of scale. How many reasons do you need to play God, anyway?
(Note: It's been widely reported that the PC port of From Dust suffers from a number of bugs and glitches; so you may want to keep that in mind when choosing a platform to play on.)