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Reus Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . While not always intuitive or accessible, I had no trouble getting sucked into the world building of Reus. It's the kind of game where I would learn a valuable lesson every time, making me want to immediately jump back into a new era. I also love the look and style, especially when it comes to some of the violence and destruction late in the game. Reus is a stark reminder that consoles need more God games. Rating: 85%
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Like a lot of people, I was blown away by the Super NES when it launched 25 years ago. But while everybody else was raving about the freedom of Pilotwings and the speed of F-Zero, I found myself loving the 16-bitter for a completely different, much more mundane reason. Much to my surprise, it wasn't koopas and space ships that kept me glued to the TV, but rather the inner workings of community building and village management in games like SimCity and ActRaiser.

Although popular on computers, the so-called "God simulators" never caught on with console gamers. We saw few companies take on the genre, the SimCity sequel got pushed until 1996 and Enix turned ActRaiser 2 into a full-on action extravaganza. It was a bad time to be a console gamer in love with city building. And the sad truth is that things haven't changed much in the last 25 years.


But if you're like me and still a little bitter that the God game genre didn't find much traction on consoles, then Reus is here to ease your soul. After rattling around on personal computers for three long years, Abbey Games' charming simulator has finally found a home on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. And while it may not make up for what Enix did to ActRaiser 2, Reus is a God game worth converting for.

Actually, the term "God game" isn't accurate in this situation, because you take control of four different Gods. We start with a completely empty planet, ready for you to use the Gods to construct a livable world. We're quickly introduced to a giant crab that rips into the earth to create oceans that bring life to the neighboring coastlines. From there we're able to use one of the giants to create lush forests and another to grow fertile swampland. There's also a giant who will pound on the ground long enough to raise mountains and create a hostile desert region.

These four giants will need to work together if they want to keep their planet alive and prosperous throughout the different eras. For example, that menacing crab giant will be able to drop off chickens and other livestock to the nearby villages, while the forest giant will plant berry bushes to keep the townsfolk from starving to death. The mountain giant is also good at creating mines full of minerals and gold, allowing our burgeoning civilizations to create wealth and expand their reach.

Reus (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

If you haven't figured it out by now, Reus is all about finding balance and giving the townspeople what they want. As the different regions grow, they will start new projects that will require the four giants to work towards a common goal. This may mean you need to create plots of land for tech or expand your mining operation to create more wealth. What starts simple will grow out of hand as you're forced to tackle several projects at once, sometimes with competing goals.

What makes the game tricky is that just about everything can be upgraded and mutated if you meet the right conditions. This becomes vitally important as we attempt to grow the civilizations in the allotted time. Completing the projects will allow our giants to unlock new abilities, which in turns will help improve the surrounding areas. But remember, you have a set amount of time to get everything in. After that, the giants will go to sleep and the humans will be on their own.

This is the broad overview, but there really is a lot more to Reus. We haven't even gotten into how the civilizations will become greedy and eventually go to war or how sometimes you'll need to completely wipe out another village to show the world your true power. And because each game is played in 30 or 60 minute chunks, you'll spend a lot of your time trying to complete major milestones in order to unlock new modes.

Reus (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

All this is a little foreign at first, even with the lengthy tutorial. Although it tells you how everything goes together, it's not always as intuitive as you would like. It's also a little overwhelming, since there's so much to do and not a lot of time (or space) to get everything done. I suspect that constantly starting over from scratch will feel repetitive to some people, but I enjoyed the freedom it gave me to try out different ideas and not get too attached to the results.

Much like SimCity a quarter-century ago, Reus is a little tricky to control with a standard game pad. This is a game built for a mouse, so mapping everything to a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller is fraught with issues. Abbey Games does a good job, making full use of both analog sticks and the D-pad. I eventually got used to the controls after a few disastrous rounds, but have a hunch the game works best with a mouse and keyboard.

While not always intuitive or accessible, I had no trouble getting sucked into the world building of Reus. It's the kind of game where I would learn a valuable lesson every time, making me want to immediately jump back into a new era. I also love the look and style, especially when it comes to some of the violence and destruction late in the game. Reus is a stark reminder that consoles need more God games.
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