Under The Radar is a weekly look at games that have ended up hidden through lack of coverage, but shouldn’t have. If you have a game that you think should be featured here, leave it in the comments and I’ll be sure to check it out.

In my research for the Eador: Masters of the Broken World Q and A, I ran upon a quote by the one of the producers in a developer diary that read

From where I stand, the Hearts of Iron 3 from Paradox is more of a “role-playing” game than the Mass Effect.

Upon reading it, I uttered a quiet, affirmative ‘Yes’ as an instinctive reaction. About a year and a half ago, I was getting a bit bored with video games. I felt that all of them were giving me linearly experiences that weren’t satisfying and found only a little joy in open-world games. Then I discovered strategy games, a genre that I had been too intimidated by to explore but was finally cornered into doing so. Games like Rome: Total War, Dawn of War 2 and others opened up a whole new avenue of games. While I’ve missed out on a long history of the genre, today’s game is an explicitly modern love note to one of the games of yore.

Reprisal is a world-building RTS that pays homage to Populous. As you can imagine, the game places you in the role of a divine power gifted with the power of terraforming and the ability to use elements like fire and lightning. Having lost much of your influence, your quest revolves around spreading it by shifting the land to let your people create villages and create paths for their military to wipe out opposing cultures. The mechanics are quite simple, but manage to engage as you direct your people’s fates.

Visually and musically, the game follows the same path as Sword and Sworcery. The sprites are heavily pixelated, but distinct enough that they add charm without adding confusion. The ‘better-than-chiptune’ chiptune music is wonderfully done, and adds a levity to the mechanics of genocide.

While the game doesn’t have quite as much freedom as bigger strategy games, you’re given a measure of choice that you don’t get with many other titles. It also serves to remind in a very accessible way that true roleplaying lies not in picking from a limited number of dialogue options, but from the second-to-second choices you make as an active force.

Reprisal is available to play for free through browser here, or a desktop version with higher quality music and better visuals can be purchased at Desura.

cited [Strategy Informer]