Reus is a god game created by Abbey Games. It was released May 16, 2013. Reus is currently only available on Windows, but the game website says that Abbey Games is planning to release to more platforms in the future. Reus is a simulation and strategy game. In the game you control elemental giants on a barren world. You must use the giants' abilities to create a balanced world capable of sustaining peaceful human life.
The giants are used to play the game and achieve certain goals. There are four: Ocean, Forest, Rock, and Swamp. Each have unique abilities. One of the main systems in the game is biomes, which can be created by certain giants. There are five that you can make: ocean, forest, mountain, desert, and swamp. At the beginning of the game the world is covered in wasteland. Giants are also capable of creating sources for villages, such as plants, animals, and minerals. Different combinations of biomes and giants generate different sources. These sources are turned into resources by the villagers, specifically food, wealth, awe, danger, and technology. Achieving certain levels of these helps finish projects and sustain growth. Players can also make symbioses, which are advantages made by placing certain sources next to each other. These give boosts to the villager's resources.
Every time a giant uses an ability there is a recharge period before they can use another. Abilities are a sort of tile-lay mechanic in that you create something on one or more spaces in the world. When a village starts a project, you must use the giants to help them gather resources to complete it. Resource management is key as you only have a limited amount of space in and around a village. Completing projects also upgrades giants with ambassadors from villages, which grant the giants more abilities. Spaces already made can be upgraded by transmutation. In some modes of the game there is a time limit before the era ends.
There are no set rules to the game, but the goal is to sustain as much peaceful life as possible. This becomes easier the more you play, as you must play to unlock more abilities for the giants. This makes sense, because the giants are somewhat godlike, so they have the power to help humanity, but they don't have to do so. The giants are also elemental creatures, so the more of their element that there is, the more power they have. If any giant dies the game is over. This makes sense because each giant is essential and they all work together. For example without the swamp giant you couldn't make herbs, or without the ocean giant you couldn't make animals.
The game is in 2D, with the player able to use the left and right arrow keys to move across patches of the surface of the world. The up and down arrow keys allow you to zoom in and out to see villages close up or the entire world. You can use the mouse to click on abilities for the giants, or use certain predetermined shortcut keys. There is also a HUD overlay over the world. The bottom left part shows the giants. The bottom shows the abilities of the currently selected giant. The top right shows information for a selected space of land such as symbiosis, transmutations, and amount of resources it's generating. The top left part of the HUD shows the total amount of food, wealth, and technology, time before an era ends, and how many villages, projects ambassadors, and wars there are.
This game could be used to teach about, resource management, humanity, and environmental health. Although it is not as in-depth as games like Sid Meier's Civilization, Reus still provides a simple way to explore the way your environment affects your growth, and that not everything is in one's control.
Reus has not yet been used in a classroom setting, but it could be. The simple graphics and controls could make it usable for middle school and higher levels. Teachers could explain real life examples of symbiosis between plants and animals as well as biomes. They could also relate the game to today's uses of resources to sustain life, and whether or not it needs to be altered. The game also teaches the lesson that you can't control everything. After an era ends or the player has helped the villages as much as possible, it's still up to humanity to survive.