Reus

Here’s a game I’ve been wanting to review for a while now and have spent many any hours playing it so I have plenty of substance to talk about. Well not really, this game is just fun. Reus can be summed up as a god game, the first major game published by Abbey Games. But in this game you don’t control a giant benevolent hand, able to squish your people between thumb and forefinger. You control these guys instead:

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Gigantic… giants that wander around your planetoid, manipulating nature and the elements to help create the best possible ecosystems for all the villages that settle there. I’m going to call them titans since every time I play the game, I imagine these guys:

"Ah guys... Olympus is that way..."
“Ah guys… Olympus is that way…”

There are 4 titans in total, each one has the ability to create a certain terrain aspect. There’s an ocean titan, swamp titan, forest titan and mountain titan (one guess at what each one can create). They also have the ability to create plants, animals or mineral deposits. and then improve on each of them. This more of less sums up your godly abilities, but it’s the nomads that settle your planet that make this game fun. Nomads settle around area with an abundance of natural resources and then they start working on projects. Each project has certain requirements that must be met, usually by using the powers of your titans.

Resources can work in conjunction with each other as there are animals, plants and minerals that utilize each other to grant bonuses. Sometimes it’s a matter of find the right ecosystem to satisfy the great projects of the villages.

But if you give the villages too many resources too quickly, the whole village turns into a massive dick. They start making war against other villages as their greed breeds spite and they even start attacking your titans. But your titans have ways of dealing with this:

Before... and after.
Before… and after.

Reus has the qualities that make a god game great. You control awesome (literally) forces that can either help the populace flourish, or destroy them outright. You have the choice to be benevolent or domineering, punish the wicked or help them obtain their power. Some of these moral ideas are made even more interesting by having an achievement system which helps unlock further resources and upgrades in the future. There’s even a neat little idea that every time you play, you are playing through a different era of your world. After your titans fall back to asleep (where the game ends), that people eventually destroy themselves, ready to be aided by the titans again.

The interface is fairly simple and very intuitive meaning that even the tutorial is a bit unnecessary, though no less useful. Despite the game having a simple appearance, the bulk of the game play isn’t and this is where the game starts to fall short — or goes too far. There are hundreds of combinations of different resources with all of them upgrading to different types, each one having it’s own trait (like dandelions upgrading to nightshade, or rabbits upgrading to foxes). To make it more complicated, each different type of resources turns into something different in varying environments. To make it even MORE complicated, sometimes upgrades require a certain potency of a certain enhancement to upgrade in a certain way. This as a system isn’t bad. If anything, it’s a good system and incredibly involved. But sometimes it’s also a bit random as it’s impossible to remember all the different upgrades and what they do exactly and how they interact with each other.

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The titans aren’t that big, they’re actually micro-organisms wandering a grain of dirt.

Despite this, what I consider, over-complication of what could have been a slightly-simpler system, Reus is still very fun and by setting a strict time limit on each game, you don’t get carried away spending hours trying to perfect your planetoid, or trying to perfect a single village… which never happens since they inevitably get too greedy and turn on your, despite the generations of aid you have provided them. And then your swamp titans throws blobs of acid at their armies trying to attack you and your mountain titan destroys the village and you cry yourself to sleep. In the end, you are this:

godbender

Reus is currently available on their website, Steam, G.O.G., GamersGate, Desura, Greenman Gaming for $9.99 and Gamesload for €9.95. home-logo-3

Cover Image: http://techluminal.com/interview/interview-with-abbey-games-the-makers-of-reus/
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