You are a spirit waking up from a long slumber only to see a lifeless planet. Suddenly, four giants emerge from the ground. They will be your tools of creation (and destruction) giving you the possibility to make life thrive in the world before going dormant again. While there is no “campaign” in this game, you only have limited time in an Era to achieve your goals. Developing your planet in different directions unlocks new stuff so there’s an incentive for starting over again. A sandbox mode without a timer is also available.

The Ocean, Forest, Swamp and Desert Giants terraform, summon and upgrade natural sources, destroy people, boost fertility and so on. If a natural source is available on one of the main biomes, a settler founds a village and its people start collecting resources. As settlements are getting bigger they build projects with special requirements and a time limit. If completed, they give a resource boost and a unique specialization. An ambassador also appears and sits on the shoulder of a giant of your choice, unlocking a new ability.

Natural sources create symbioses with each other e. g. Chicken + Blueberry = more food, Quartz + Quartz = more wealth, etc. Upgrades not only add more resource to a site, this way you can also transmute a natural source into something completely different (Chicken -> Rabbit -> Deer), causing a change of resource income and symbioses to that particular site.

Prospering settlements become greedy which leads to war with other villages, or even attacking a giant. You may let humans to fight their battles or intervene, weakening or destroying an army. Riots against giants can be stopped by killing some of the population. To avoid this, you must be careful not to develop a village too fast and create sources providing danger and awe.

Visuals of Reus are charming. I like the 2D depiction of the planet as a circle and zooming in makes you discover many little details in the cartoon-like graphic design. Sound effects also bring life to the scenery.

Reus is more like an elaborate puzzle game than the classic god sim. It makes you think about maximizing the potential of resource combinations, while demanding constant attention. Its qualities are somewhat diminished by cumbersome gameplay but it’s a truly unique experience nonetheless.

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