Reus is a very interesting title from Abbey Games, which is a good thing, if you like that kind of thing. Now I will warn you, the reader, that I rarely play sim type games. The last sim type game I ever played was Sim City on the Super Nintendo, so I’m kind of entering uncharted territory. The reason I never really play sim games is the fact that I find them extremely boring; I like to jump right into the action and accomplish something. With sim games you have to wait for aspects to recharge, for the people created to learn things and so on. Basically what I’m saying is that if I was God I would have been bored creating this Earth. I would have tried to get it done quicker than seven days because seven days of playing Reus would have put me into a coma.
The game opens with a cutscene of moving cave paintings. You are shown the Giants that help mold your world into what you would like it to be. You see them build the world over and over before you finally get a chance to begin. To start you have to begin in the First Era. Later I found out that each Era is a “level.” You basically play as God in this game and slowly you awaken to find that the planet is dead and you must rebuild anew seeing as it is barren and lifeless. To renew this world you use your last bit of energy to create the Ocean Giant and the Rock Giant, unleashing them to terraform this lifeless ball of mud. The Giants obviously create oceans and mountains, but as you progress certain giants can do more for your Earth. The Rock Giant can push minerals into the ground so that villagers can mine them and turn them into useful items. Ocean and Plant Giants can put forests and oceans onto the planet, plus they can create wildlife and edible flora.
The controls are pretty simple but the tutorials on top of tutorials will frustrate you immensely. First let me go over the controls. The Right Stick is zoom, and it rotates the planet so that you can see what you’ve built and where you can add a mountain or two. The Left Stick is pause, which helps you inspect parts of the planet you have already built on. Once you press Y, this allows you to help the villagers by putting certain plants and minerals near them so they can continue to grow. To move, and choose and pick what ability your Giant does, you use the D-pad; up and down is Giant choice while left and right is what ability you want to use. Creating more and more environments on the planet garner you different abilities. At first you can only make mountains, forests and oceans. After the First Era you begin to create animals, edible plant life and minerals. Be smart where you place all these items though. If you put certain ones together they will be even more powerful which means create more food or better minerals. To be successful you have to be smart, and pay attention to where everything lays or you could seriously damage your villagers’ lives.
So now that the mechanics, which are very well done, have been discussed, I shall tell you how I felt about the game. I felt that this game was insanely slow. To me it felt like a glacier slide by as I got through the First Era. I know now wholeheartedly that sim games are not my thing. The game dragged, and got frustrating at times seeing as, like I said earlier, the tutorials overlapped other tutorials. As I sat there attempting to be God I couldn’t read the proper tutorials at the right time because another not as relevant one popped up above it. I would have to hit A to accept my choice, but miss some serious information as I struggled plopping an ocean down. Once I figured out the controls I was creating forests like Poison Ivy and raising mountains like tectonic plates. Even though I enjoyed making this planet in my image it was so boring. I’m sorry, but man having to wait a minute or so for my ocean making ability to recharge was a drag. Even when I flipped between the Giants to use other abilities while I waited it just was so slow.
That being said, there is nothing actually wrong with this game, it was just given to the wrong person to review. The game controls well once you sort it out, the visuals are nice and unique, the Giants look distinct and the concept is solid; I just don’t enjoy these types of games. Slow starts are very difficult for me in games as I like to jump right in and see what’s what. I could not do that in Reus. Instead I had to be guided over and over and once I had finally made some progress, the Era ended and all was lost. I actually sat there waiting for the iconic “You Died” to pop on the screen, but instead a Second Era had begun and I had to re-create my planet once again. This game is not my type of game, but if you’re a gamer who likes Sim City, Civilization, Sim Earth, Roller Coaster Tycoon and the like, you will absolutely adore it. Go buy this game and have a blast making planet after planet, but if you like games that let you take the reigns and jump in, this is definitely not the game for you.
An Xbox One Review Code for Reus was provided by Abbey Games for the purpose of this review