Reus is a game for hippies. Rather than suggesting that the player represents the power of some god, as you might expect in a game of this nature, the player is suggested to be the planet. Now, generally speaking, while a planet could be said to be a living organism, in Reus it cannot affect its own changes. In order to make life, oceans, forests etc. you have to utilize four extensions of your planetary will: the rock giant, the ocean giant, the forest giant and the swamp giant. Each has a unique set of abilities that have multitudinous effects on the land, which are limited only by your imagination.
There are the basics: ocean giant makes oceans, forest giant makes forests, rock giant makes mountains and the swamp giant makes swamps. In order to create swamps and forests, you need water and the world you start on is a barren wasteland. This means you need to make a couple oceans first. Oceans will soak enough land on either side for you to create a full forest or swamp. There is also the rock giant. This burly fucker just lopes around like a badass all the time. Use him to raise a mountain, and the side that faces an ocean will remain the same while everything past it changes into desert. This can be used to destroy forests and if you make a mountain or ocean on a village, they all die.
Some of the less obvious abilities make a sort of sense. The forest giant can make food plants and what comes out of it depends on where you put the plant. In a forest it’s blueberries, in a desert it’s a dry bush (more on that later). Despite looking like a monkey, the forest giant is fully unable to create animals. The ocean giant makes domesticated animals. These are things like chickens in the forest or desert tortoises in the desert. At first you would expect the forest giant to make animals, but then when you realize that all life comes from the oceans originally, it makes a sort of logic. Plus, why would a forest giant be able to make fish? The swamp giant is another weird one: he makes exotic animals, but again, if you think about it, this makes sense too. Swamps are dangerous places where some of the most fucked-up shit evolves. That and Australia. Swamps are where you find things like Bot Flies evolving. The bot fly is something I will not discuss, but if you are fucking curious, check it out here. It’s fucked up as all fuck. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. FUCK! I just read the page a bit too much.. grah.. Either way, weird shit evolves in swampy areas.
As well as making the exotic animals, the swamp giant can also make herbs. These tend to generate more tech or wealth than fruit plants from the forest giant. Your rock giant will also generate a variety of minerals resources. Alongside all of these differing resource-types, Giants are able to enhance resources with aspects. These aspects are things like the leaf aspect, which will allow the Forest giant to add natura or food to plants. The ways these aspects affect different resources varies based on the region-type, but typically you can transmute a resources two different ways depending on the aspects you place on it. Be careful, too! Some resources have a symbiosis. These things will work together to create a bonus to what it produces. Having blueberries in range of chickens will make it so that the chickens generate more food. If you change what resources are next to each other, you will change the symbiosis for your resources, destroying what you had working before. The game quickly becomes about efficiently managing what you have growing on the land of your villages after a while.
The focus of this game is really on the villages, though. The giants are just where you put all your powers. Adding resources to the map makes villagers appear. These villagers, in turn, build towns and settle lands and make the game fun. All of the villages will start building various projects, too. This might be a shrine, a granary or a school, and as they get higher level, they will start building higher-level projects. Given that the effects of your giants’ powers vary based on what terrain-type you use them in, each village will have a different focus depending on where it is located. Swamp villages tend to require tech for their projects where forest villages need food for theirs. This isn’t always a set thing, but it all depends on what the villagers choose. Each project is timed, too, and proper symbiosis match-ups will govern whether you meet the time-limits or not. Once you finish a project, one of the villagers steps forward as an ambassador. This person is someone that you pick up and allow to ride on you giants. Having the little ambassador up there unlocks different abilities depending on where they are from and which giant they ride. Properly managing which ambassador goes where will determine just how successful your villages will be.
This all sounds like a fun and free romp through a magical world, but there are dangers in this paradise. The biggest among them is greed. If your village gets too prosperous too fast, it will start to go ballistic and get dirty. Eventually they will start attacking other villages and fucking everything up. When this happens, you have options. If you really really like that village, you can create “awe” among the villagers. Do this through symbioses and properly locating different resources next to each other. Another way to counter-act the greed of a village is with danger. If you have desert tortoises in your area and you get wealthy and greedy, you might see the world as a desert tortoise that cannot keep up and is easy prey for the clever man. If the giants transmute those tortoises into snakes, your ass will be too busy working on not dying a painful, poisonous death to make battle plans. Finally, if your villagers just get too fucking greedy and are past redemption, you can always have the swamp giant launch mud bombs that burn with acidic death or send the rock giant to smash them into the dirt. Granted, the little bastards might just start fighting back after a while, so keep an eye on them.
Reus is a game that says a lot about people. Those that want to work in unison with the world prosper and flourish in its favor. Those that get caught up in their greed fight their peaceful neighbors, who are happy with what the world has given them, and are eventually vanquished to dust. If they fight the will of the planet itself, they can win, but ultimately they just ravage and destroy the world, returning it to the barren waste it was in the beginning. A great game and a truly interesting take on sandboxes, since it is a 2D game. Well worth the 9.99$ asking price on Steam.
My biggest fucking issue with this game is how much memory it eats. This thing is a memory beast. I have 16 GB of memory in this computer and Reus still managed to crash it! I was playing through the tutorials to understand the game. I played straight through, got about halfway through the third one and BOOM! blue screen fucker. The only time I nearly ate my monitor in blind rage.