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Have You Played... Reus?

Bloody ingrates

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.

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