Guest Author - James Shea
A two-dimensional "god game", Reus is a game about creating a thriving planet with the help of four elemental giants.
In "Reus", you play as the personification of a planet. By issuing orders to four giants - Forest, Mountain, Ocean, and Swamp - you can change the surface of the world and creating thriving ecosystems. Humans will be attracted to the resources you create and make towns near them. The goal of the game is to help the humans create thriving communities by optimizing their ecosystems for maximum resources.
Every session of "Reus" is time-limited; at the end of the session, the current state of the world is counted, and achievements are unlocked based on the things you've accomplished. This allows for the use of new resource types, which can create even more optimal resource chains. However, it's not as easy as making plant x connect to mineral y - in addition to managing resources, it's also important to manage the humans themselves. While you can't directly control the humans, several factors will influence the way they behave. Humans who get access to a great number of resources in a very short time will become greedy, making them more likely to attack other towns or even attack your giants. While it's possible to attack armies or towns in order to subdue them, sometimes it may be necessary to simply wipe out a town entirely.
Every session of Reus unfolds in a fairly different way - there's some randomization with human towns, and as you progress through the game, your giants will become upgraded in ways that allow for new developments and new options. However, choosing some upgrades will lock you out from other ones, and it becomes harder to upgrade as you progress. As such, mastering the resource system is a must for advanced play, since you essentially have to squeeze as much as you can from every plot of land.
The game's graphics are somewhat simple, but still aesthetically enjoyable. The "2d world" provides an interesting sense of scale, as do the towering giants tromping over human settlements (one aspect I enjoyed was the citizens of greedy towns begging and making demands of the giants as they pass by). There's enough characterization to get the player immersed in the setting while still being engaged with the basic mechanics of what's going on. The in-game music is somewhat lackluster, but the Princess Mononoke soundtrack perfectly fits the "feel" of the game, so I ended up using that instead.
Overall, Reus is a solidly made game, especially for its price. Engaging and charming, Reus is definitely worth a buy.
We purchased Reus via Steam with our own funds in order to do this review.