Reus is one of those rare games that appears easy and simple, but actually is very complex and requires great skill and choice. For those that haven’t heard of Reus before, it is a god game where you change the world through various giants and you have to manage villages through the environment. You start the game with an empty wasteland covered planet, but you then have to create various ecosystems and plant natural food and create resources so humans will come and settle in your lands. These settlers will create towns which have to be managed through various factors, like using danger and awe to stop them becoming greedy and using combinations of resources to help build the various projects they give you. If you help the towns you will get awarded with an ambassador who can be assigned to one of your four giants, unlocking new abilities. Another big feature is that there are hundreds of different animals, plants and resources which all have special requirements called symbioses, that when activated by fulfilling certain requirements, increase the worth of the resource. There are alot of other complicated gameplay mechanics in Reus, but these are the basic ones, but lets now look at how they worked together.
It has been a while since I have seen a game with mechanics that interlock as well as Reus’s mechanics do, and its this fluid connection that makes Reus so fun. First off, the symbioses feature makes strategic resource placing an important part of the game, and you need to think hard about how you place your materials because towns only collect resources within a short border, so you need to create the best combinations so your town gets all the resources it needs to finish projects.
When I was playing, there was a swamp town that needed food and technology, but it only had peppermint in its border which only provide technology. So I used the ocean giants growth aspect to turn some of the peppermints into tomatoes which give food and more technology for each resource that adds food nearby. Its this sort of balancing that adds the whole difficulty into the game, because if you help a town to much it attacks other towns and start making the giants build more complex projects. This can be counteracted by creating danger through things like deadly animals near the town, which cause greed growth to stop, but if you put to much danger then the town might get destroyed. Another way of stopping greed growth is by using resources with awe which stops greed while not having negative effects, but the only problem is that only higher level and rare plants give awe, so careful planning needs to be put into how you set up your resources.
One game feature I really enjoyed was how the playthrough’s went. They really stood out because you had a certain time limit in which to build the world and create towns, and once its over the giants fall asleep and the game ends. You have to try to get as many achievements and good villages as possible so you can unlock new resources. I found it great because you had a limit to build within and you had to plan around it, like when I wanted to get an achievement that required me to have only one village with lots of prosperity. I had to create other towns and get ambassadors from them so I could make my chosen town very powerful, but right near the end I used my giants attacks to destroy the other towns so only my chosen town remained. Another big thing in Reus that really made me happy was the lack of specific goals, because you had complete free choice on what you did, and if you decided to destroy every town for no reason you can without penalties. Its this sense of really being in control that enhances the whole experience.
So if you are a fan of god games, or want a unique strategy game, then Reus is probably a good game for you. With its fun art style and gameplay that makes you feel like you truly have power over the world, Reus will easily make it unto my top ten games of 2013. If you are interested in Reus it is currently on sale in the Steam Store. For more info check http://www.reusgame.com.