Reviews by Vendae


Puzzle Strategy, or something like that

Vendae | Nov. 24, 2013 | Review of Reus

Reus is NOT like some other god-sims out there; in fact, I have to see yet anything of the sort.

It is both a puzzle game and a strategy game. Essentially, you take care of villages in regard to some statistics that reflect their prosperity, aggresiveness, military and so and so. What is more innovative, though, is the fact that you have very little direct interaction with the villages and instead place natural resources near the villages for them to exploit. Depending on the type of resource, their interactions with other resources and the projects the villages build, which ultimately define their uniqueness, those villages will grow in some way or another, sometimes leading to undisputed wealth, some other times to aggresiveness towards the giants that are essentially your envoys in the world or to neighbour villages, a few times to constrained growth that makes a reshaping of strategy a good point to consider.

And yet that might not seem very innovative. There went the strategy. Come to stage, Mr Puzzle. The puzzle part of the game is what defines Reus. You will not fare well if you do not consider the interactions between resources and do not exploit the abilities of the projects the villages built (with your help to meet the criteria, of course). And while it is encouraging to sort out some combinations that give a push to their village, the system gets convoluted just as you get the grip. Resources evolve with the aspects your giants endow them, but they will evolve differently (and even if not their output will increase radically) when the aspect or the resource-planting ability are levelled up. To level up the abilities, you need ambassadors, that you obtain in exchange of getting the village to complete the projects, but restrictions in the distribution of ambassadors between giants and in how the villages will less willingly give them makes it a must to start planning form the very beginning, for which you have to know virtually all the abilities of projects and resources, and how the latter evolve, which is plain absurd. The fact that aspects have no less than four tiers, and that getting x or x+1 tier aspect when executing the ability is a matter of luck does not help much.

I do generally like the game, and its graphics, and its resource-unlocking system based on achievements, which let you set objectives for each "match", but I also think that the messy puzzle system ends up being frustrating and makes Reus a game that you are not willing to play for a week in a row, and prefer to return to from time to time.