by Joseph Leray
With Moonbot's "Golem" facing an uncertain financial future, my dream of playing as a mystical, towering piece of rock come to life will be a dream deferred until further notice.
Thankfully Abbey Games is soon releasing "Reus," their gorgeous 2D god game. Just look at that mountain god in the trailer, though -- that's what I'm talking about! He's got a big barrel chest and sad green eyes, but heavy is the head that bears the fate of all humanity, I guess.
The elevator pitch for "Reus" is that players control three different deities, responsible for planning and forming the earth in a way that is conducive to human life. The earth god can create mineral rich mountains to steer humanity toward industry. Forests spring up like dandelions under the nature giant's green thumb, but only if the cosmic crab has created a nearby water source.
The catch -- because there's always a catch -- is that people are generally kind of dumb and greedy: you'll need to provide them with the resources they need to survive while balancing the ability of the planet to sustain itself. Hopefully, there will also be the option of smiting ingrates with furious anger if need be: I will not suffer blasphemy.
Thinking more broadly (and less murderously), though: I like everything about "Reus" so far. The art direction is charming, and the mechanics and approach seem accessible, even for someone who missed out on the god game heyday of the late 90's and early aughts, when titles like "Populous" and "Black & White" were singing the genre's swan song while providing its most enduring examples. For better or worse -- and whether the developers at Abbey Games want to or not -- "Reus" is accepting the ever-dimming torch from games like the much-maligned "Spore" or Eric Chahi's "From Dust."
Godspeed to them, then! "Reus" will be available on your digital distribution platform of choice -- Steam, Desura, GamersGate, or GoodOldGames -- on May 16.