God-mode simulations are always enjoyable and interesting, given the different takes that developers utilize. For example, in some games, you have the ability to influence and create cities and civilizations to your liking. In other games, you play actual gods that can perform miracles while raising a giant creature. In Reus, you take on the role of the planet. Though still a god-like, simulation game, Abbey Games has provided us a fresh and interesting take on the genre.
Playing as a mass of land might seem uninteresting or bland but having control over four elemental giants makes the experience quite enjoyable. The four giants represent their respective biomes: Ocean, Forest, Rock, and Swamp. Utilizing these giants will shape the planet and the people that live on it. Through the use of the giants’ abilities, the planet is shaped to your liking, influencing the species and plants that grow in certain areas, which in turn influence the people living in them. When the people get greedy, they will fight each other, and even your giants. That is when you get to lay down the law utilizing skills such as Earthquakes and Musk Bombs.
“Playing as a planet might seem uninteresting or bland but having control over four elemental giants makes the experience quite enjoyable.”
The game features a relatively short tutorial mode, but the game does teach you all you need to know to get started. From there, you are free to shape your planet in various modes such as timed modes or a free play mode. Overall, the game is initially fun; however, the game can get very complex, very fast in terms of resource management and numbers-wise. For those interested in simulation games, Reus is definitely complex enough for those looking to optimize their planet. However, the game at times felt more like a numbers game than a god game.
Reus features a great amount of replayability as players are able to play in the aforementioned timed sessions where they can focus on various aspects, or take on free play mode where time is not of the essence. With regards to the timed modes, players should not expect extremely long sessions where crafting and advancing civilizations are the primary objectives. The beauty of timed mode is that it allows players to have contained sessions to focus and develop villages as they see fit. Newer players can use this session to learn at their own pace while experienced players can utilize it as a sort of challenge.
The controls in the game can be a little spotty at times. Personally, I found that I kept hitting the incorrect buttons for various actions. However, when I do hit the wrong button, I quickly remember it being a different button. Furthermore, it can be a little frustrating wanting your giant to complete an action on the other side of the planet. The giants move pretty slowly, but those continually micromanaging each giant may not have that same experience or feeling.
“For an indie title, Abbey Games does a great job in developing an in-depth, complex simulation game.”
Overall, Reus’ graphical style is clean, cute, and crisp. The four giants are noticeably massive compared to the humans, though have faces and designs that do not necessarily portray them as menacing. Likewise, the humans and the environments are equally crisp, and the colors in the game are bright and vibrant. The game also allows you to zoom out and view the whole planet at once, or to zoom into individual villages while keeping the graphics sharp all the time. The game also does a good job in providing you with necessary information via the HUD, mostly consisting of numbers and resources.
For an indie title, Abbey Games does a great job in developing an in-depth, complex simulation game. Unfortunately, the game at times did not really feel like a game given the amount of numbers utilized. For a game that is focused on nature, biomes, and the like, the game felt too robotic to the point where villagers are not able to find resources unless placed nearby for them. For simulation fans who love number crunching and min-maxing, you will feel right at home with Reus.
*** Xbox One code provided by the publisher ***
- Crisp graphics
- Surprisingly in-depth
- Feels too slow