Reus (PC)

By Walter Hare

Published on Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Reus is a god game unlike any other I’ve played up to this point. Considering this is basically the genre that I grew up on, and the fact that I would commit heinous acts of heretical treachery in order to bring Bullfrog back to life, it was quite the exciting experience to find what appeared to be a new entry into the god game pantheon. However, what awaited me in Reus was a little different than what I’d expected, and I couldn’t be more pleased about it.

In Reus you play as a desolate planet, willing to existence four giants representing the aspects of forest, swamp, ocean and mountain in order to repopulate the earth with life. The giants are able to summon up basic landforms according to their powers, and then further to summon up resources on that land. Humans then settle on the land as resources become available, and grow based on the way you develop them.

 Reus 1

The strategy of the game revolves around activating synergies between resource types by placing them next to each other to generate as much prosperity as possible. As villages grow and demand more resources and build special, bonus granting projects, land becomes desperately scarce, and making sure each unit of land is generating as much as it can quickly becomes a brain annihilator. Sure, it starts off easy enough. Place the chickens by the blueberries, throw some marble over here, maybe pepper the landscape with poisonous iguanas to keep everyone on their toes. But when villages soon start in on their heinous demands you’ll have to go into overdrive trying to to get more and more out of every square while fighting the time limit on projects.

Basically, Reus is a mix/maxers wet summer camp dream. And I’m talking like, Bible camp desperate wet dream here. Reworking land, replanning fields, introducing different giants into different biomes trying to discover new ways to push the edge of a village’s limits is an incredibly interesting mechanic, and gives Reus somewhat of a puzzle game feel. It’s like Tetris with statistics, fitting odd shapes together to create perfect lines of synergy as the game clock ticks down.

 Reus 2

At first, I was concerned that it would be too easy to find ideal solutions to Reus, which is a problem many games of this type suffer. However, two factors help to prevent this. One is the ambassador system. As you complete projects, humans offer to stand on your shoulders as representatives, which gives your giants access to new powers allowing them to cause resource types to evolve into new resources with completely different attributes. This means your land developing options become increasingly varied as the game progresses, with new synergies popping in and out of relevance at a rapid pace.

Secondly is the project system itself. Humans will build special structures granting resource bonuses based on how you’ve been developing them. So generally, if you’ve given an area a lot of gold early on, they will base their projects around gold. However, as projects get bigger they require not only more resources, but more resource types. This forces the player to diversify resource types in each region, increases the necessary complexity of synergy types and forcing the player to re-evaluate their plans up to that point. While ideal solutions might still exist, after many hours of play I didn’t come near to finding any.

 Reus 5

I do have a few complaints about Reus, nitpicky though they might be. As I mentioned above, giants are able to gain powers as they get more ambassadors standing on their shoulders like drab parrots. Most revolve around causing new kinds of evolution in resource types. However, they eventually gain the ability to simply build better versions of the basic resources, which then yield better evolved versions. This forces you to rebuild everything if you want the highest possible level of resource generation, even if you that means you’re just replacing every plot with identical resources. I feel that this is counter-intuitive to the resource progression mechanic. Up to the point when your giants are better upgraded, all your decisions revolve around evolution, change and adaptation, but then hit a major speed bump as you tediously replace everything.

Further, the game modes available are a tad sparse. Outside of the tutorial, you are only given the ability to choose a 30, 60 or 120 minute time limit. There’s also a sandbox but it felt unappealing since you are only able to unlock new powers in timed mode. It feels like Reus has more room to expand on this front, perhaps with scenario play or other challenge-type modes.

Reus 4

Overall, however, I find Reus to be an excellent piece of god gaming that pays homage to its divine ancestors, but does not chain itself to the conventions of the genre. It’s quick and easy to jump into, but grows increasingly challenging. The giants are cute, the statistics are satisfying and the humans are so very smite-able.

Reus is available on GoG, Desura, Gamersgate and your local Steam outlet.

System Requirements

Minimum:

Processor:Intel® Core 2 Duo or AMD Phenom processor
Memory:2 GB RAM
Graphics:DirectX10(R) compatible card with 512MB of memory
Hard Drive:500 MB HD space

Recommended:

OS:Windows 7
Processor:Intel® Core i5 or AMD Phenom II
Memory:4 GB RAM
Graphics:DirectX10(R) compatible card with 1024MB of memory
Hard Drive:500 MB HD space

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