Jan 29, 2014

[Games] Reus (PC)

With a new gaming-capable laptop now in my possession, I'm glad that I'm finally able to explore all these colorful, crazy games that I've acquired through the Humble Indie Bundle. And say what you will against DRM, there's a lot of beautiful convenience that comes with all your games being linked to a Steam account. Thus it makes it easy to travel from one computer to another.

I always had a thing for god simulation games. The very first one that I had played was Populous and one of the more memorable ones remains to be Black & White. Reus seems to have echoes of both those games, without explicitly claiming that you're a god. But it certainly touches all the right buttons as far as god games go.

And it's quite fun to watch as well.

Reus is a a game simulation game created by Adriaan Jansen as developed by Abbey Games and is their debut title. Currently the game is only available for PC and retails for about $9.99 on Steam, GOG.com and Desura.

The game puts you in charge of a barren world that you need to give life to. Your agents of change in this game are four elemental giants, each with their own powers and abilities. There's the Ocean Giant who pummels the earth in order to create bodies of water The Forest Giant is able to make trees grow on irrigated land. The Rock Giant creates pillars of stone and turns barren wastelands into desserts. And the Swamp Giant creates more exotic herbs and animals with more toxic properties.

As you shape the land with your elemental giants, human beings will create settlements provided enough resources available. They'll also start various projects that will have certain resource requirements - and only you can ensure that they get the resources that they need. When villages complete their projects, they can sometimes offer ambassadors that will ride on the shoulders of your giants and give them access to additional powers.

The key challenge in the game is mixing and matching the appropriate resources. When two compatible resources are placed side-by-side like chickens and blueberries, certain production bonuses are triggered that yield more food, wealth and such. And these will go a long way towards achieving your goals. But a village only covers a finite amount of territory so you'll need to change or upgrade your resources in different ways in order to meet the requirements of the latest project.

Thus the game has a rather complex tech tree in terms of how the different plants, animals and minerals shift from one to another. And you'll need to know which type of ambassador (based on the village that spawned it) is give to which giant in order to get the upgrades that you need. At the same time, if you give villages too much too fast, they'll feel privileged and spoiled and will eventually become greedy. You can let the humans fight among themselves or you can seed predators to keep them in check.

After you get past the tutorial, you're pretty much free to do what you want with the game.You're initially limited to 30-minute game sessions but you can get to longer 60-minute games and such provided you attain enough in-game achievements. Some involve raising the prosperity of a single village while others come given the right projects being completed. It can be a little frustrating at first, but once you have a better grasp of the strategy behind the game, you'll find yourself playing session after session in no time.

Reus is a clever game that remains quite beautiful with its quirky 2D art style. And if you need help, it always pays to spend time reading the wiki to get more insight into the various synergies. I'm really enjoying this game and I'm more than happy to rate it a full 5 out of 5.
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