Release Date: May 16, 2013
ESRB: N/A (E suggested)
A download code was provided by the publisher for this review
What is the greatest appeal of a god game? It“s quite simple - to exercise incredible power on the world. We can“t make everything go our way in reality but god games offer us an avenue to make a wealth of decisions that will affect a virtual population. Reus shows itself off as the latest god game, but it seems to be a bit different from what we“ve come to expect. The question is, is that a good or bad thing?
It all depends on the kind of gameplay style you have. The genre most befitting to Reus seems to be puzzle. You see, when you begin the game you are greeted with four powerful gods to control, but they aren“t really in control. Each god controls a specific biome (swamp, ocean, forest, desert) and these are used to generate the environment for your new world. Once you“ve set up a habitable space on the planet, a nomad will arrive and start up a village.
This is the point that you“ll realize how little control you have despite being a hulking god. Each and every new civilization will have a great deal of needs and your role is god is to be entirely subservient to them. Sure, you can switch between who you help, or choose the way in which the goal is achieved - but you are still working toward their aims. In fact, even getting more features to unlock requires completing various in-game achievements which revolve around doing good by a society.
How do players serve their people? Each god has access to their own abilities, such as changing land, planting fruits, plants, animals, and more. However, they are not corralled into these few choices. When gods interact with each other“s items, or place specific goods next to others, synergies form. This is when everything jumps into puzzle hyperdrive. Because everything the citizens want requires resources, you must simply give them enough of each. But doing so requires understanding how to place goods efficiently, as well as how to set off the best synergies.
It“s all fairly complex stuff even after playing for hours so it would make even less sense to explain in further detail here. Suffice it to say that there is an official wiki available for Reus and you will need it if you intend to become skilled. If not, it“s possible to squeak by for a while, but not to accomplish much down the road. Puzzle/strategy play overwhelms the god aspects entirely and that will be appreciated by the kind of player who loves unraveling complex systems.
Someone who wants to simply wreak havoc can do so, but won“t find much excitement in the game for long. Being a god in Reus is all about serving the people, after all, not about goofing off. With studied determination, those invested in the game will be able to appreciate how much time Abbey games must have invested in its creation. It was not necessary for the game to have so many varied aspects or synergies, but everything works together wonderfully just as long as the player understands.
Reus also happens to be an entirely gorgeous title. The gods are giant and colorful and when they pound at the earth you can feel their power. One especially lovely aspect about the game is how the look changes as you zoom in and out. From far away, the world seems quiet aside from gods perched on its surface. Once zooming in though, everything springs to life as people mill about their cities and animals bound across fields. If anything, the bright visuals seem at odds with the serious complexity going on underneath.
Reus is the kind of game that will either turn you away or get you incredibly involved in its processes. Players need to know that before buying because it could turn out to be either a bad or excellent purchase. For those that will be into it, the game is a well-crafted experience that will take hours to master. Along the way, you“ll be enchanted by the visuals and discoveries of your people thanks to your aid. Playing god is a lot of work, but it“s beautiful when it all comes together.
+ Great deal of content to unlock and discover
+ Tinkering is recommended and can yield positive results
+ Lovely visuals
- Understanding the game“s complexity is outsourced to a wiki
- Complexity will be off putting to those expecting something else from Reus
Overall Score: 8.0 (out of 10)
Reus is not the game for everyone but it does provide a complex god game in an attractive package.