Reus [2] – Shift in Focus

When I last wrote about Reus, I already had a decent completion percentage in the game. I thought I had the game figured out and understood how it will continue to play. I was wrong, very wrong. Now that I’m past 50%, I can see that clearly (I think).

No moreĀ get as much as you can

That the biggest thing that changed. I’m no longer achieving several objectives at a time. It’s just too difficult to do. Instead, I pick one objective I’ll focus on in the era I’m starting and if I manage to get one or two on the side, that’s great.

This shift changed how I play the game. Earlier on, I was frantically trying to do as many things as possible, which ended up leading to wars, conflicts and even my giants being in danger. Now, all of this still happens, but for the most part, I decide on a direction each village will take very early in the game, and I try to be tactical in how I develop them. I aim to get high awe or danger in a village, to reduce the chances of them becoming greedy or war-driven.

Reus - Beginning

Pictured: The beggining of an era. In this one, I tried creating a 400 prosperity sea-side village.

To explain this, awe and danger are two special attributes which some resources provide. When a village is growing, it must not grow to fast. If the difference between the current value for an attribute (tech, food, gold) and their maximum is more than 20, that means the village is growing to fast and becoming greedy. Each point of awe the village has gives you one extra point of difference you can have. To put it simply, if a village has 10 awe, than the difference between current and maximum stat value can be 30. If it has 20, it can be 40, etc.

Danger works a bit differently. With enough danger, the greed of a village will not increase regardless of growth. Too much, though, and it will stop growing completely. In fact, the population will actually start dropping and can reach zero, causing the village to disappear.

Usually, I focus on either awe or danger, but I’m still learning, so I often get messed up villages where both of these things exist.

No more random improvements

The above change also affects how I’m developing villages in general. I no longer throw random improvements at them whenever I can. Instead, I choose a path and try to stick to it. This means I’ll even destroy a project if it doesn’t fit with the path I have planned for the village, or alternatively, change the plan if it happens early enough and doesn’t affect my overall goal.

Reus - Fishing Village

Pictured: The fishing village I attempted to build up.

Projects do play a big role in how your village should grow through the requirements they have, but also through specializations they provide, which usually serve to fulfill those requirements.

For instance, a granary is an early forest village project (I think). The requirement to build a granary is to have the village reach 30 food. However, not all granaries have the same specialization. One specialization can be “each plant in the village provides 15 food, stacking up to 3 times“, while the other can do the same, but for animals. This is a very basic example, but it demonstrates how the type of project can decide what direction the village will have to grow towards.

As I said, if it’s early in the game, you could always destroy the project before it’s built. In a few minutes, the village will usually start a new project that way, but there’s no guarantee it won’t be the exact same one, as far as I know.

No more 30 minute eras

The reason for this change is very simple – I don’t have any objectives left that I’m able to achieve within 30 minutes. Some of the remaining ones will very likely require two hours eras as well, which isn’t something I’m looking forward to very much. One of the things I like about Reus is that I can play short, but complete sessions often. With 2 hour eras, that won’t be the case anymore.

Reus - The Planet

Pictured: The state of the planet after about 30 minutes. At this time, wars usually break out.

Once I get through the 60 minute objectives, I’m not sure how I’ll proceed with Reus, but I’ll worry about that when and if it comes to it.

No more equal rights

That’s a bad title, I know.

What I’m talking about is that I no longer try to develop all villages equally. I pick an objective and I pick a village to do it with. This is usually my first village, but it doesn’t have to be.

Later on, I focus on that village. I build as many villages I can, but that’s the village I’m working with. The rest of them are there simply to create ambassadors to boost my giant’s powers and nothing else.

Reus - Era Complete

Pictured: The screen after an era is over shows what you achieved. Old achievements are bellow, new achievements pop up on top. It wasn’t as planned, but there was progress.

Usually, the other villages advance up to level 2, maybe level 3 projects, while the main village goes all the way up to level 4. There’s also this thing called great projects in Reus, and there’s even an objective where you have to build 3 or four of then in the same era, but I’m not sure I built even one of them. Then again, I’m still not sure of what the actual level for most of these projects is, so I might be wrong about all of it.

Just as much fun

It’s still the same fun game I started with. It’s just more difficult, which is always a good thing, as long as it’s not the frustrating type of difficulty.

I’ll compare it to Binding of Isaac again, because that’s the way it plays. You start an era and you get through it. Don’t get attached to anything you do in that era, because it will all go away. For many gamers, if the mechanics of play are good, that’s more than enough and it mostly is for me.

Reus - Steam Achievements

Pictured: The Steam achievement screen has a bug. I definitely earned some achievements between the 6th and the 22nd.

However, you can unlock things in each era and this can transfer over to the next one, giving you, not necessarily an extra edge or making it easier, but definitely an extra option for your plan and strategy. In Reus, these unlockables are improvements you can build. In the Binding of Isaac, they are extra characters and items.

It’s a good way to boost desire to keep playing, even though you’ve basically seen the gist of the game after an era or two. Reus offers fun gameplay and something to look forward to between those bursts of fun gameplay.

I like that.

Some thoughts

There really isn’t much the giants can do when the villages start attacking them. Don’t get me wrong, the game is far from lost and it’s not like you are powerless to stop it. It’s just that there aren’t many options. You can either use the Rock Giant’s Earthquake, or the Swamp Giant’s Muck Bomb ability. Both are on cool-downs, with the Muck Bomb usable much more frequently.

Reus - Unlockables

Pictured: The in-game unlockables screen. Of note is that I have all the projects unlocked (though not built yet).

The problem is, they damage villages, villagers, structures and sources, so it’s a double-edged sword. Early on in the game, a single Muck Bomb can pacify a village, but later on, when everything is filled with structures and sources, you really don’t want to use it, because it will also destroy those. The best option I found was to use it on top of a village to reduce the population. This can sometimes pacify an unruly village, but I’m not sure how exactly it works.

Earthquake is much stronger and on a longer cooldown, but this makes it even less usable. An Earthquake will outright destroy a village, so it’s a last resort scenario type of ability. It can also completely obliterate an army, so it’s good to use when villagers are pursuing another giant, but the long cooldown makes it less usable this way.

In any case, once the villagers start going to war, you either need to nip it in the bud, or it will end up costing you a lot later in the game. The village will tend to go to war more and more frequently and will probably end up starting to hunt the giants as well. so you might be forced to completely destroy it.

Starting projects can also be annoying sometimes, because the project specialization starts working as soon as the scaffolds appear, before the project is actually built. This can cause rampant growth and greed issues which are sort of out of your control. Sure, you could prepare by creating awe and danger in advance, but there’s no actual guarantee it will be enough.

The problem?

My only real problem is that I’m padding my reports again.

Reus has gameplay that can be described in a single paragraph. It has unlockables which can be quickly listed. Outside of that I can’t think of anything to write about. Emergent gameplay, which is what games like this one seem to be working with is great, but unless you’re an awesome writer with a lot of imagination, or you’re doing it with friends (like those Dwarf Fortress succession threads, it’s hard to write about it.

Nothing is really happening in my playthroughs other than me having a fun time with the mechanics. Sometimes there’s a war and I lose due to a giant being killed. Sometimes the village decides to do a crappy project, or an other village expands to close and I’m stuck, and again, this provides me with challenges and things to work with, but I’m not sure what I should say about it.

Maybe I should try playing through an era and giving story to it as I go along, but for that, I need to devote double or triple the amount of time the era will last and it’s difficult to find that amount of time these days. I might give it a try, but for now, I think I’ll stop trying to write about Reus and instead just enjoy playing it.

It’s a game, that’s what it should be about.

An example

Just so I can leave you with something game-related to read, here’s an example of my latest 60-minute era.

My goal was to create a 400 prosperity village with at least 8 ocean tiles within the borders. About 75% of the way through, I though I had it. Then, about 30 seconds before it was over, with the village at about 420 prosperity, I decided to do the dumb thing of upgrading a single Mackerel tile to a Sea Bass. This caused a chain of symbioses to deactivate and dropped the food limit of the village from 330 to about 280.

Prosperity began to rapidly drop and I tried saving it, but then my water giant went to sleep. I used the swamp giant to create exotic animals near the border, but by then, it was too late. I ended the era with prosperity at 398.

Usually, I’d consider this an hour wasted, but lucky for me, I got two other achievements. I ended the era with 2000 prosperity in the whole world and with over 1000 food used total across the world.

Next time, I’ll try with the fishing village again.

My biggest problem is that I lose focus. I’m slowly and surely moving towards my goal, but then I realize I could build a project I’ve never built before, so I try to do that as well. I lose focus on my original goal, do something silly and mess up. The reason I upgraded the Mackerel, for instance, was because I was trying to get to 3000 prosperity in total. It ended up biting me in the ass.

Fun stuff!


Also a note.

Recently, I bought a crappy secondary PC to use on weekends, when I’m away from my primary PC. It has a Celeron CPU and an integrated Intel GPU. Reus runs, but it runs poorly and lags a lot. There’s also a bug/crash that happens every time I use the monsoon ability of the water giant in a way that part of the area of effect covers a city.

Apparently, the guys at Abbey Games are working on a patch to add some low spec settings to the game, so maybe it will run better then. It’s a very pretty game and I get why it runs poorly, but I’m looking forward to slightly better performance on the weekends.