Reus: Simple, Yet Charmingly Complex

Reus is a simple yet interesting learning experience. Plus, Giants.

The Steam Summer sale is still going strong, and yesterday I noticed that one title, Reus, had dropped down to just a few bucks. I'd never seen or heard of it so I picked it up, but was pretty hesitant about playing it.

The premise is fairly simple: you control a couple of giants on a barren planet, and the idea is to create environments to host human life. Seems easy enough, right? At this point, you might even be worried that the idea is too simple and boredom will quickly set in. Don't jump the gun. This game is actually pretty fun.

Tutorials and Gameplay

The game will first take you through a couple of tutorials, called Eras, to help you get started. The first is easy and doesn't take very long--you simply create oceans and mountains with the Ocean and Rock Giants.

The tutorials are important and you should take the time to complete them. They teach you not only how to play and what exactly your goals are, but they also show you how environments work together through symbiosis, which is what adds a new level of complexity to the game.

Playing in and of itself is not difficult. You move the giants around, create their type of environment, and then wait for human settlers to come in and make a village. Once they do, you can modify different patches (spots on the planet) with food, wildlife and minerals--each of which give the humans the ability to grow and adapt.

Each village will try to create a project like a granary, or some sort of technology. These projects can only be completed once the village has the supplies it needs. For instance, to create a granary, a village must have access to at least 10 food. Placing fruit in the borders of that village will allocate more food for the humans to use. Completing a project rewards you with an ambassador, which can sit on the shoulders of whatever Giant you select and give them new abilities, or provide new traits for their environments.

Symbiosis

Symbiosis is a core mechanic of this game, and you'll need it in order to keep yourself from lulling into boredom. I personally enjoy these kinds of games, so I alternate between keeping things simple and just progressing on my planet with villages, but creating ecosystems that work internally to maintain the humans is a very interesting aspect that is fairly unique.

Symbiosis allows patches to work internally and be self-sustaining. For example, chickens can multiply and live by eating blueberries, which are planted by the Forest Giant (chickens, for whatever reason, come from the Ocean Giant). There are a vast variety of instances where patches work and sustain through symbiosis.

Transmutations

Along with symbiosis, transmutations allow you to create things beyond the basics that the Giants give you. For instance, that Swamp Giant allows you to plant Herbs on one patch. The Ocean Giant can then come along behind him and use his Growth Aspect, which will turn the Swamp's herbs into things like tomatoes.

Greed

As humans are infamously known for, when villages settle too close together, they may begin to develop an annoying quirk called Greed. This is a demand for more resources, or an anger that another village may be sharing their resources.

You know, the definition of Greed.

Your goal is to keep villages happy by creating multiple places to settle so that they're never really that close together. However, if you fail, and they become too greedy, Giants are tasked with destroying the village and its inhabitants.

It sounds violent, I know, but destroying the village is done by some form of natural disaster (earthquakes from the Rock Giant, for example).

Overall

Overall, this game can be played as either a very simple, creative sim, or as a complex ecosystem sim. Both ways are pretty fun, but I definitely prefer to keep things on the complex level just so I don't get bored with an oversimplified game.

The art is unique and keeps me interesting, and the music and sounds are fitting without being annoying.

Thus, I give it 6/10. Definitely not my most super favorite game ever, but it's a good one. I say appropriate for ages 10+ because of the complexity of the symbiosis and such, which can be confusing to younger kids.

Our Rating
6
Reus is a simple yet interesting learning experience. Plus, Giants.

Former Staff Editor

whale biologist.

Games Reus Genres Strategy Platforms PCSteam
Published Jul. 17th 2013
  • MyNameIsProjekt
    Columnist
    This was definitely one of the more intriguing games during the Steam Summer Sale and I regret not picking it up during the sale. I was worried that it might have become too simplistic or over-complex, but I can't help but feel I might have missed out on a good sale. I might have to purchase Reus if I get the chance.

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