STAFF REVIEW of Reus (Xbox One)


Monday, November 7, 2016.
by Brent Roberts

Reus Box art Having the almighty power of both creation and destruction in your hands has always been a sure fire recipe to bring about entertaining gameplay for days on end. Back in 2013 Abbey Games released a game called Reus, and now in the twilight of 2016, we finally see its release on the Xbox One. Since the 1980's we have craved the power and have spent days, weeks, and months creating expansive and detailed projects. Now though Abbey Games is asking you to pay $24.99, so is this indie game worth the big price point? Let's see.

On the surface it seems simplistic. Using the four different giants (Water, Earth, Forest, Swamp), it's up to you to create multiple habitable places where your civilization could grow and flourish by simple resource management. As you start spend more time playing, you realize that Reus has far more depth than you initially expected. You'll get a taste of this throughout the training missions, which I highly recommend, but then it'll be up to you to play through your "Eras" which can be timed, or you can even go into a free play style where its sole focus is on creativity which I used to help figure out some of the finer details which will become important. Your initial games are going to be for about 30 minutes a stretch, however, as you progress you'll be able to branch into both 60 and 120 minute Eras that will enable you to unlock more abilities, transmutations, and see more of Reus.


See, when you create your habitable areas you'll need to essentially become a resource manager. You will have to balance certain qualities such as food, technology, wealth, greed, happiness, and more. Thankfully you are able to pause the game and still issue commands to your giants, because of course, you have no control over your people. While each giant possesses their unique abilities, the method in which they interact with abilities from other giants is where REUS' real soul rests. For instance, let's say you have your forest giant plant some blueberries, then you have your ocean giant enhance the blueberries; they then become strawberries. Strawberries produce more food, but offer a bonus of +8 food if you place blueberries next to it. This process is called transmutation and it can be applied to every single resource in REUS which helps when your citizens start building projects that require certain amounts of a particular type of resource.

Now like in all civilizations, once you have wealth and extreme resources, your inhabitants become greedy, and depending on how big of a difference there is between available and used resources, your village could rise up and attack other villages you create to gain their sought after resources, thus wiping out the other village. Now you can stop this if you want, or you can let this play out, the choice is entirely yours. Just remember that your citizens know what your actions are, and while you have to manage their greed along with resources, you also don't want them focusing their anger on you for any reason. Villages will expand over time due to their happiness, which in turn will allow you to create more resources. Now if you wanted to, you can focus on using every single type of giant at once, but I found it much more convenient to hone in on one type of giant and use what abilities I have of the other giants to support its growth.


This way I became accustomed to how certain resources played off each other and how different transmutations in key locations can exponentially increase the amount of resources at your disposal. In fact, I would strongly also advise to play Reus with a pad and paper so that you can keep track of the 20 different minerals you can mine, 40 plants to harvest, and 40 animals to hunt. Each have their own symbiosis and transmutation, and trying to keep all of that information while managing your population is truly a daunting task. Now you heard me mention about completing the training missions, and the reason I highly suggest that is because REUS does very little to explain to you the controller layout along with how to select items, transmute them, etc.

Using the Right Stick to zoom in and out and rotate the planet while using the D-Pad to select various abilities and giants is just part of a complex gameplay management system that has you focusing on various side panels, such as the attributes on the right, and your people's stats on the left. That's not to say that REUS is a bad looking game by any means. Done up in a 2D side scrolling wheeled surface, the ease of navigation is thankfully smooth, which is critical when you start talking about developing areas for habitat. The colorful yet distinct artwork looks beautiful, and even the resources are as individual as the giants themselves, and when combined with a lighthearted soundtrack, Reus becomes a very enjoyable game for many, many hours.


Now as a fan of achievements I'm more than happy to report that going for some of these larger achievements is not only going to take me a lot of time, but be an incredible amount of fun. Reus offers gamers an incredibly deceptive and uniquely in-depth god strategy experience. However, Reus is a bit of a stretch for its $25 price tag, but easily worth $19.99 all day long, so keep an eye out for a sale. If you're a fan of a game that actually gets significantly harder the more experienced you become, then Reus is for you.




Overall: 7.5 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10

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