Developer: Abbey Games
Publisher: Abbey Games
Release Date: May 16, 2013
Reus is a side-scrolling god game from Abbey Games which lets you take control of nature through the hands of mighty giants you control. It is beautiful to behold, simple at heart yet a very complex strategy game once you get into it.
Giants brought to life
When the gods of old awaken from their slumber, the planet is nothing but a lifeless sphere of barren rock, just waiting to flourish once more. It is time for you to start shaping the planet: its trees, plants, animals and beasts, caverns and minerals, the whole ecosystem through the Giants. There is only one thing that you do not control: Mankind, with all it’s virtues and all their vices.
In Reus, all of this is done through four different giants and their various abilities. The Rock Giant can create Mountains, Deserts and Minerals while the Ocean Giant can create Oceans and Domestic Animals and so on. Oceans enable other giants making Forests and Swamps. So each giant has abilities that can cause different kind results in other giant’s creations.
Everything you create has aspects such as food, tech, and wealth which can be evolved into stronger forms with the help of symbiosis and different kind of upgrades. The giants can bestow aspects on resources that allow them to change into completely different beings.
One of the nice mechanics in Reus is symbiosis and interaction with your creations. In short: Your creations interact with other things created. For example, one area of domestic animals will provide a fixed number of food resources but if you place berries in near proximity to those animals, the animals and the plants will work in symbiosis and provide more food because they have a symbiotic relationship with each other.
This kind of system just screams experimentation and it really gives Reus a lot of more depth and possibilities to achieve better and more prospering villages.
Mankind: It’s needs, It’s greed
you have the power to destroy their village with no effort at all
When you build a habitable land, human settlements will soon appear. In Reus, humans are both dependent on your power while challenging it all the time. In the heart of humans, lies greed and the more you build and impress them, the more they require. When the greed turns unbearable they turn angry and attack nearby villages and even you regardless of the fact that have the power to destroy their village with little effort.
But you don’t want to crush them (at least not all the time). You want them to prosper and this is the reason why in Reus, you can also create dangers for human settlements to keep the greed in their hearts at bay. In other words: danger will help you keep peace. You’ll be placing dangerous animals to your village borders because of that.
As the settlements start to grow, each settlement undertakes different kind of projects that will help their villages to prosper. These projects have different kind of requirements you must fill in order them to succeed and usually they come with a time limit.
Such project can be building a granary with a requirement of certain amount of food in use for the village. This means, that you have to alter the land and its resources, within the villages borders, so that the amount of food is exceeded and the goal is met.
If you succeed, you’ll get an ambassador from the village that can be placed on one of your Giant’s shoulders. Ambassadors provide giants with different kinds of abilities based on the type of town they are from (or more precisely the terrain). The ability they provide is different for each giant so you have to choose carefully to suit your needs.
It is a delicate balance working with your people. You need them to provide new abilities to do better, but provide the people too much, too quickly and they grow too greedy for their own good which will cause their downfall. It is an interesting mechanic that gives lots of appeal to this game. It really makes you feel in control of the fate of humanity.
Even though my first impression of the game feels good and easy to get in, familiarizing all the different effects and symbiosis can feel a bit overwhelming. If you’re like me it feels heavy yet fun at the same time. The game does emphasize experimentatiton and “learning by doing” mechanics and I think Abbey Games made a good call on that.
Beautiful graphics along with a good soundtrack gives this indie game a nice feel and players who enjoy other simulation games like Populous and Black & White should really feel comfortable with this 2D-sidescrolling God game. At least I did.
Reus Review Score:
|8.0||Why so high?
Easy to get into, depth, beautiful to behold
|Why so low?
Hard to memorize everything