Have You Played… Reus?


Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

I’ve left so many possibilities in Reus unexplored. It’s a God game where you control four elemental giants, and terraform a planet for the benefit of unruly human settlers.

Your relationship with those humans is more interesting than in many God games, because managing it requires striking a delicate balance. If you don’t provide for them, their settlements won’t grow and nothing interesting will happen. But become too benevolent and they’ll start biting the hand that feeds them.

One way of preventing a settlement from getting out of hand is to place dangerous animals on their borders, giving them a healthy respect for the power of mother nature. The way you place those creatures, plants and minerals neatly ties into that system. To get the most interesting stuff you need to combine the abilities of your four giants, which leads to a wonderful path of branching possibilities. (I’d have played for longer, but I just couldn’t handle seeing my swamp giant get speared to death another time.) It’s the most joyous take on terraforming I’ve seen.

Reus also encourages you to experiment on a broader scale by giving you goals to work towards in each game. Maybe you’ll try to focus on building up one mega settlement, or try to create six at once. Maybe you’ll try to foster a world of peace and trade, or war and destruction. Achieving those goals unlocks more options which in turn make further goals more achievable, and the cycle of experimentation continues.


  1. nimbulan says:

    As much as I enjoyed this game at the beginning, it gets far too complicated as you progress. The mind-boggling myriad of combos you have to remember essentially require a wiki to keep straight, and requiring a wiki to play is one of the cardinal sins of gaming.

    • Neurotic says:

      I’m glad it wasn’t just me who felt that way. :D

    • Telkir says:

      Yep, I felt pretty much exactly the same. I really liked the basic premise and enjoyed the first “simple” hours, but quickly got turned off by the increase in complexity. It perhaps wouldn’t have bothered me so much if each playthrough wasn’t on a forced timer…

    • MisterFurious says:

      Same here. I got to a point where I thought “I’m sure I could chart all this crap out and figure out the proper combinations to do all these achievements but do I really want to to spend the time to do it? Nope.”

      • Vacuity729 says:

        I played until I’d unlocked nearly everything, and over time, more and more of the interactions got embedded into my head, but use of the wiki was still essentially mandatory as you always unlock new interactions to plan for and work with.
        It was good fun for a long while though. Going back now, I expect I’ve forgotten most all of the interactions, which doesn’t appeal so much.

  2. Neurotic says:

    This really makes me want to go back and have another go; it didn’t grab me the way I thought it might. I think it was a bit over-complicated for my pea brain. Renowned Explorers, on the other hand, wow! Love that.

    • Vilos Cohaagen says:

      Renowned Explorers is brilliant. The tactical combat in it is the most innovative I’ve ever played.

  3. poliovaccine says:

    Why are there so many god games I’ve never heard of? When did they all get the chance to happen?? And most of all, did any actually succeed in fulfilling the vast yet finally empty promise of Black & White???

  4. HotSoapyBeard says:

    I bought this shortly after it came out at a time when I was in a mood for ploughing through games. I played for a few hours but its vagueness left me feeling like I wouldn’t get anything more out of it and that I was in a kind of limbo. Maybe with a more patient mind I could get back into it…

  5. tigerfort says:

    Yes, for a couple of hours before quitting and never going back. One of the most frustratingly annoying games I’ve ever really, really wanted to like.

  6. ChiefOfBeef says:

    I named the giants Sticky, Splashy, Swampy and Stompy.

  7. LW says:

    It got absurdly complicated at the upper end, and the challenge achievements depend way too heavily on luck, but this game got its hooks in me deep. Kinda sad they’ve devoted so much attention to the fairly mediocre Renowned Explorers when they could be putting out more interesting games like this.

    • Vacuity729 says:

      I kind of enjoyed the challenge when a village took a “wrong” turn, and you had to work out whether the best choice was to wipe the village out and start again within that time limit, or aim for another achievement that you weren’t originally intending to unlock on that playthrough. Frustrating, but also very rewarding when you just scrape together what you need with seconds to spare. Harder to manage that with the last unlocks though, as there just aren’t many options left when something goes wrong.

  8. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    I wanted to love this, and almost did, but just couldn’t. It fell into a horrible space where I could never remember all the combos after being away from the game for a while, but the early part of every game(up to the point where you start getting ambassadors) was so repetitive that I couldn’t be bothered to stick with it long enough to relearn the combos. The whole unlocking mechanic & limited time each game didn’t help either.

  9. Megatron says:

    Like many here I wanted to love this but it was too different from what I expected, and not engaging enough by itself. It looks much more exciting than it actually is to play. So no, I uninstalled it fairly quickly and didn’t look back.

  10. Konservenknilch says:

    I’ll just join to chorus. Got it at release because it looked really interesting, enjoyed the first few hours, then it got to be more work than fun. Pity.

  11. InternetBatman says:

    I really like Reus. It’s a game I return to every few months to chip away at. The interactions get really interesting. However, the resource limitations of late game are quite artificial. I think the game would be better if upgrades were permanent. Building really cool villages and ecosystems is its own reward.

  12. pookie101 says:

    Well the 114 minutes Steam says I have in it were ok I guess

  13. Frank says:

    Another in that chorus here. Followed its development and bought it at full price but did not enjoy actually playing it.

    If not for that experience, I’m sure I’d’ve tried Renowned Explorers by now, since it also sounds right up my alley.

    • Vacuity729 says:

      Renowned Explorers is a very different game; much more focused on exploration and fun rather than management and planning (though there’s some of that).
      I’d highly recommend it!

  14. Titler says:

    Bought it on a Steam Sale in December 2014 it says here, and I only have 2 hours logged apparently. All I can remember is I liked the art style, but the actual gameplay wasn’t so much a God game, more there was a fixed upgrade path you needed to follow, and the challenge was working out which order to place things. I have a vague recollection of thinking it was closer to Farmville than Populous.
    Either way, I quickly forgot about it, and even now it’s one of the games on Steam I just quickly scroll past without even recognising it’s in the list… This article was the first time I even consciously remembered I had it.