Played on: Mac, via itch.io
This small game distills the essence of the survival genre with some highly inventive mechanics.
Reap is a little survival game, made for a Ludum Dare gamejam by the crazily-talented Daniel Linssen. It has lovely old sepia tones, blustery sound effects, and some really fun little touches.
You materialise on a landscape largely made up of small islands with forest areas, and lakes. Pick up an axe to chop down trees, wood to build bridges and rafts, a spade to prepare ground for food, and a scythe (?) to harvest your crop. There’s a food meter and a health meter, and your aim is basically to start farming, then explore the map.
Reap really comes into its own with some of its mechanics. For example:
The size of the play area shrinks and grows as the sun sets and rises, which also causes the map to grow darker and lighter. It means you’re acutely aware of the time of day, although I expected that to have more of an impact.
You have two hands, and that’s your inventory. One key acts as your left hand, another the right. It’s a small touch, but it really adds some charm to the game.
You don’t consume energy if you don’t move. When you run out of energy, you sleep for a short time, so this means you can, to some extent, choose the best time to sleep — which is night!
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve found Reap punishingly difficult! I can never seem to forage enough turnips to plant, to become self-sufficient — the balance seems to be just spot on to be tough. Still, I’m going to persevere because the challenge seems just within reach, and the journey is fun enough to keep going.