The Little God That Could: Reprisal Gets Full Release

By Nathan Grayson on May 22nd, 2012 at 12:00 pm.

Happily, you can turn off the totally-not-Instagram filter in the options menu.

It’s been ages since I assumed the elements-juggling, reality-bending powers of a cosmic deity prone to accidentally lighting his own fire-ant-sized followers on fire. And in the game. Reprisal – which Adam first discovered last year – has officially launched, and it hits many of the beats recent attempts on the god game throne like From Dust couldn’t quite wrap their giant disembodied hands around. As the benevolent sky lord of a tiny tribal society, you shift and shape land en route to making space for everything from patchy tents to Japanese-style castles that spawn pixelated knights in shining (read: also pixelated) armor. Totem powers, meanwhile, round out your arsenal, allowing you to do things like rain fire from the heavens. Each level builds up nicely, though – from humble handful of shacks to war-ready empire. It’s quick and simple, yet impressively deep once you get into the thick of things. So pint-sized Populous, more or less. Play it here.

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34 Comments »

  1. kukouri says:

    I’m all over this just from that one screenshot.

    • kukouri says:

      Just got done giving it a very quick test. The music is amazing. The graphics style is just retro goodness. I had to double check that it wasn’t the Sworcery guys behind this title. Looks amazing.

  2. HexagonalBolts says:

    I wish someone would just make Populous: The Beginning in the Black and White engine

  3. noodlecake says:

    I’m a huge fan of these retro inspired graphics with modern tweaks we’re seeing a lot of these days. The out of focus blur is a really nice touch!

  4. apa says:

    The game is hazardous to your time management. Took me an hour before I could even paste the link to IRC or anywhere after I started playing.

  5. DangItBobby says:

    Is anyone else a little bored of all the “retro” inspired indie games? It seems like 99% of all indie games are basically rehashes of old ideas made to eek money out of nerds who live in the past or people who liked Minecraft and want to play Minecraft-like games. What about being original? I thought that was the whole idea of indie gaming, to give a platform to aspiring video games designers and people with original ideas, not to pump out a load of generic rubbish that they can’t even be bothered to name properly because it’s so generic anyway that it doesn’t matter. (When “Shoot Many Robots” came out it basically made the world look like some 80s action movie parody of the future like in Robocop where OCP run everything, people aren’t even flipping trying any more, it’s pathetic)

    Don’t get me wrong, I love old games and still bust out my old consoles and DOSBox on a regular basis but I also have played all that shit before, wrapping it up in a new disguise isn’t cool, it isn’t clever, it’s lazy.

    • RobF says:

      Nope. It’s just you, soz.

    • Dominic White says:

      When did this meme start? This is a freeware game, made by one guy in his spare time. ‘Lazy’ is just about the polar opposite of what I’d use to describe it.

      Yes, the graphics are simple! So what? Why don’t you try producing high-res 3D graphics for an entire game by yourself, in your free time, and then a game to fit it all into.

      Seriously, imagine for a moment that this guy just handed you this game, for free, which he’d been working on for ages, and you told him all that to his face. If you don’t feel ashamed, then you’re a bad person.

    • noodlecake says:

      I agree with you for the most part. I get wound up by the people who just want every modern RPG to use the done to death NWN/Baldur’s Gate combat system and freak out every time a developer tries something a bit different. No-one has really made a Populous style game since the last Populous came out so I think this is a bit different. Plus the graphics in this game still have a unique look despite being pixel art. I think there is quite a lot you can do with pixels to make your game look distinct but it will always have a “retro” feel because people associate pixel art with old games.

    • misterT0AST says:

      You think that this programmer wanted to make a game, and then chose to imitate an older game.
      That’s not what happened in my opinion:
      He wanted to make a game like that other old game he liked.
      The difference is that he is one of those nerds who live in the past himself. He likes the graphics as they were himself. It’s not to appeal to others, or capitalize on Minecraft.

      Indie developers are old nerds who grew up with old games, like them, and want to imitate them.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Is anyone else bored of this music featuring guitars? I mean, we have computers now!

      *in the mood for analogies today. They make such good arguments!*

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Have you tried to make a game yourself? No seriously, please try it right now. Let’s see where you dice land.

      I have, and I have completed several freeware games in my spare time. I, too, took up pixel art because it is significantly more manageable. I don’t know the first thing about rendering or animation and it would frankly take just as long, if not longer, to make a simple playable prototype of a 3D game than it would to make a complete 2D game with a pixel art aesthetic.

      The point is this: making games isn’t easy, not by a long shot, and hobbyists putting out a game after teaching practically everything themselves are going to converge to things that are manageable. Pixel art is done so often because it’s simple to make, is aesthetically pleasing, and gets the idea across in a manner that is pleasing to the eye. “Retro” is a style that’s understood, cohesive, and simple enough for a hobbyist to make.

      Demanding these people to put out entirely new art styles on a budget of about $0 is absolutely ridiculous and childish. These kinds of complaints come from people who’ve never actually tried to make anything themselves.

  6. Zeewolf says:

    No, sorry. There are elements of awesome in it, but without the right click it just doesn’t work anywhere near as well as Populous.

    And why does the “cursor” move after you’ve clicked once? The easiest way to flatten land in Populous is to raise twice and flatten once on the same spot. This just doesn’t work here, because the “cursor” constantly moves away from the point you want to manipulate.

    • Malk_Content says:

      It took me a little while to get used to this but when I noticed that raising or lowering land automatically brings it up to the level of any adjacent land it became a lot easier and I thanked the automouse move as it speeds up large land raising.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Blame being a webpage game. Right-click is reserved by the browser (or, in this case, the Flash plugin).

  7. Malk_Content says:

    I’m enjoying it so far with one niggle. The rate at which you gain new powers really undermines the time you have to experiment with the powers as you get them. Just got the create hero power when the mission afterwards is to get another power again without the need to use the previous. Though if my only complaint is poor pacing it must be doing other things right.

  8. Shazbut says:

    But what is the most powerful fire power? The screenshots don’t give it away and I MUST KNOW

  9. danimalkingdom says:

    I love this game. Hats doffed to the fellow who made it.

  10. Muzman says:

    Someone needs to come up with an ironic, Dungeon Master-y, Overlord-y, bastard comedy version of one of these.
    Sort of like a Civ game, you’ve got to manage some bunch of yahoos through history, competing with others etc. But as God you actually have to curtail development occasionally and terrify people because each advancement of science robs you of certain powers and abilities. And heaven forbid your little people invent atheism.

  11. Askis says:

    Has anyone figured out how you use the hero spells?
    They require you to have a leader and I’m not sure how to get one…

    EDIT:
    Found it, you need to use the “Gather at waypoint”-mode, once one of your followers arrives there, he’ll become a leader.

  12. unimural says:

    A nice little game, although a bit too repetitive. The powers felt rather useless, except for the tidal wave and I had to spend most of my time focusing purely on expanding by terraforming.

    Then again, I suppose the same was true for Populous and I’ve just forgotten, thanks to nostalgia.

  13. nemryn says:

    Eh, I’m not really feeling it. There doesn’t really seem to be any strategy; I’ve been able to beat all the levels so far just by terraforming out a big flat space and getting all my cities up to max level, then storming the enemy and converting all their tiny villages.

    And then I get to level 19 (I think. The one where you’re on a tiny island between Red and Green), and the fucking AI starts spamming Fire Mountains and Earth Heroes while I only have two guys, and I just lose.

    • unimural says:

      I think the level 19 is almost impossible to beat by defeating the other tribes. But you don’t need to do that, you only need to get the new power.

      EDIT: And you are right, there doesn’t seem to be any strategy involved. A shame.

      • darkath says:

        I managed to beat level 19, the trick is that the red one has lots of low-tier settlements, so he’s scary in numbers but if you manage to get a few big settlements quickly, you can storm his little settlement before they start casting heavy spells.

        Once Red is “assimilated” you can proceed to destroy Yellow with brute force.

        I’m currently stuck at level 24, to unlock the ultimate Fire spell “armageddon”, the spell is located deep inside a huge Yellow base, who have lots of flat lands to expand quickly, while I am stranded on a tiny island in a corner of the map. I tried many tactics but everytime i get stomped because he has way too much higher-tier settlements, and any of my attempts to expand is crushed by “Heroes” who just ravage my tiny base in seconds before hundreds of footmens capture everything.

        • Marth Reynolds says:

          Lvl 24 is probably the hardest level there is though :P

          Keep in mind you can kill hero’s by lowering the ground under them, which i found to be the only way to even have a chance of winning in some of those battles.
          Secondly high ground has the downside that you (or the enemy) can lower the edges and destroy buildings with ease via terraform, and since they’re nice high up in lvl 24 it works wonders there.
          Add a few whirlpools to the mix and they should be quite busy with rebuilding and repopulating.
          During which you can create a passage via low land to the last totem and grab it hopefully.

          I’m not even sure if there’s a other way tbh :/

          • darkath says:

            Well I managed to get past level 24 using what you describe (destroying Yellow’s towns by removing the ground) and more specifically :
            1. quickly raise flat land between your isle and the main continent, large enough so that peons can expand.
            2. give an “attack” order so that the first peon moves toward the continent, and when he reaches it, switch to “build settlements” order, so that you have the required range to destroy the continent flat shape.
            3. Thoroughly “lower” the ground and insert whirlpool under Yellow’s settlements. At the same time expand as fast as you can.
            4. Try to protect yourself from “heroes” until your population become higher than yellow’s
            5. Give attack order and destroy the enemy.

            I Used the Armageddon spell in level 25, it’s kinda fun, turns all your peons and enemy’s peon into heroes, all settlements are destroyed, and a massive volcano erupt at the center of the map. Heros of all teams converge toward the volcano.

  14. pandora says:

    This screenshot made me think of FLCL.

  15. Yglorba says:

    It doesn’t have enough strategy. One big problem is that the flood spell doesn’t become available until way too late in the game; it was a major aspect of strategy in populous, and without it it just becomes “repetitively flatten out as much land as possible.”

    Also, the spells are poorly-balanced. Lightning storm is much better than the far more expensive firestorm, and whirlpool is better than both. None of them are really that useful, though, compared to just flattening out land.

    • justicarphaeton says:

      True enough, but it’s pretty fantastic for a free indie flash game. Lightning Storm has a very short duration and allows the computer to rebuild immediately, and also doesn’t kill peons. Thus it’s cheaper than Fire Storm, which leaves little uninhabitable red squares in its wake and kills peons with the fire. Whirlpool doesn’t have that precision until spammed 4-5 times, which evens out the cost, as covering the same area uses about 300-500 mana.

      I have found a good way to cheese the AI on those difficult endgame free-for-all maps though: retreat as far away from them as you can using the waypoint order, and build your settlement as high as possible. Then just wait things out until you hit 500 mana, and use the Tidal Wave power, which lowers the entire map by one level. You can repeat this process until everyone else drowns.

  16. obd2 says:

    Totem powers, meanwhile, round out your arsenal, allowing you to do things like rain fire from the heavens

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