Always on the lookout for a title that’s both good and cheap, I took a gamble and downloaded Reus last night with little to no expectations. I’m not usually one for spontaneous purchases, but I’m glad at least that this time it paid off. I spent the better part of the next three hours last learning the game’s simple yet complicated RTS world-building gameplay. I created oceans, destroyed greedy villages, and raised mountains from nothingness, playing God in a game that’s every bit as unique as it is good.
Reus plays-out backwards from other RTS or world-building titles; instead of controlling workers and soldiers, players control the land and the resources which are then automatically inhabited by an AI controlled population. Players are given control of elemental giants that each represents one type of land, using them to shape the world as players see fit. Building oceans leads to forests or marshes which can be populated with plants or animals, luring nomads to settle and build communities. Players control what types of resources the AI uses, steering the civilization in whichever direction they see fit.
To be honest, the technology given to me in the tutorial was worth my eight dollars. If there was nothing else past some of the game’s earlier tech I would still consider it money well spent, but once my villages became greedy and I was forced to destroy them, I realized that there was much more to this simple title than I originally thought. Once free of the tutorial, and after smiting many greedy villages, I came to the conclusion that Reus isn’t the simple cutesy title it appears to be, and is actually much more sophisticated.
Greed keeps the game in check, give too much to the people and they will begin warring with one another. It’s a subtle balancing act, players must learn how much of each resource to give to keep civilizations happy, but not too happy. Some of the giants are equipped with precautionary measures to stomp out civilizations that become too wild. The smiting I mentioned earlier is truly as biblical as it sounds as my earth giant has spent as much time creating earthquakes as he has mountains and minerals.
After about five total hours I’ve learned that there is still much to learn. So far I’m truly impressed by how much my eight bucks has gotten me. I haven’t decided how it measures up to other similar titles, but so far its uniqueness has given me enough reason to keep playing. The longevity of the title will depend on whether or not any content is added in the coming months, but for now there seems to be enough content to keep me playing for quite a while.