For me, the game Reunion was and remains the most unusual space strategy from all that I've ever met. Most games can be described only by the name of the genre. Say "Real time strategy", and it will be clear if not all, then at least the general principles of the game. But with this exhibit such a focus will not work; if you want to get an idea about it, try imagining a Master of Orion in real time, fused with Star Control II and SimCity, then add Dune II blotches there - and you’ll get something remotely reminiscent of Reunion.
The first thing the game meets us is the longest (perhaps the longest in the history of PC-games) drawn screensaver. Such a detailed prehistory is as follows: by the middle of the XXII century, the earth is dawning. The problems of humanity have been resolved, the army of peacekeepers from the UN has crushed all the aggressive-minded countries, there is no one to clash, not because of anything, and there is nothing, because most of the weapons are forbidden. In the atmosphere of universal communism, scientific progress reaches new heights, scientists are developing a prototype of the curvature engine, allowing to overcome huge space distances in a matter of days. Soon, two huge research ships set off to search for inhabited worlds. The first disappears without a trace, but the second returns with a wealth of information about suitable for the settlement of the planets. The ship is sent to the space dock for retrofitting, experts are anticipating the foundation of the first extraterrestrial colony ... But suddenly a series of uprisings erupted on Earth without obvious reasons. The rebels quickly seized power all over the planet, and now the last stronghold of the old regime — the orbital station — has been besieged.
The last official decision of the earthly government orders the ship-researcher to leave the solar system. The crew in a hurry pave the course to one of the previously discovered worlds and crashes. On the way, the ship enters the meteorite field, gets a stone on the engine, on the word of honor falls short to the star system with the appropriate name "Amnesty" and ... explodes. However, the crew manages to leave the ship and in a lifeboat to get to the planet of the terrestrial type. Some entirely, some fragments, but all land. In any case, there are enough survivors to establish a viable colony. In the struggle for survival, three hundred years pass, the colony "Novaya Zemlya", finally, stands firmly on its feet and reaches for the stars. Her fate was handed over to the president of the former refugees, that is, to you. The task is epic: to make humanity a powerful space race, then again to find the solar system, find out what happened to earthlings, and, if possible, arrange a family reunion (hence the name of the game). Our means: a small colony (1 pc.) And an interplanetary probe (at the project stage).
So under the final chords of background music, we get to the character selection menu (a man or a woman is a purely aesthetic choice that does not affect the game), and from there - straight to the colony headquarters. Headquarters, I must say, is impressive. And not so much by the abundance of incomprehensible buttons, as by graphic design. While at the round table only your character looms lonely, but it will not last long - you can (or rather, you will have to) hire your own assistants. We have four vacancies: deputy science officer, fleet commander, architect, and general. For each position there are three candidates who differ in the level of competence and salary. These four posts represent the four aspects of the game.
The first one you encounter is the colony arrangement. We at any time can include a top view of the planet and build, say, a power station, a couple of residential neighborhoods, a farm, a stadium, or another mine. This aspect reminds SimCity and Dune II at the same time: from the first here are taxes and the population that needs to be fed, treated and entertained; from the second - the principle of accessibility of buildings (not yet built a factory, not to see the observatory) and graphic similarity. There are two types of resources in the game: credits and minerals (there are six types of them, and not every planet has everything; so, there are only four types on your native one).
The second, no less important aspect is science: your scientist tells you what research is available, you make a choice, and after a while you get blueprints and a prototype. Although the principle of research and the scope of application of technologies are somewhat reminiscent of Master of Orion, there is no technology tree as such. The ideas of new developments arise from events. For example, a probe that has not flown to a neighboring planet will lead to the discovery of a research ship, and a colony killed by radiation contamination will lead to the discovery of a radiation shield.
The next aspect is space travel. As old Tsiolkovsky said, "one cannot live in a cradle forever." Therefore, the player will examine visual, colorful models of solar systems at least as often as maps of colonies. Planets open gradually, the speed of their detection depends on the presence of observatories in the colonies. Each has its own characteristics and degree of suitability for life / mining. Often, the planets have satellites that can also be populated. But just choose a ship and send the flight will not work. Firstly, you need to make a fleet (research, trade or military) of built ships (even if it is one), and secondly, you will have to sit down at the helm of the flagship personally ... And let most of the ship's cabin be decorative, let only three four animated functions: flight, landing, list of ships and the like - but this atmospheric moment I remember, probably better than all the others. It is difficult to convey the feelings that you feel when you personally come to a new planet, and then, pulling the landing lever, you observe through the glass of the cabin how landscape emerges from the smoke (different for all types of planets!). Unbelievable, but true: the interface can also be interesting!
Well, the last aspect, which sooner or later will have to face - fighting. Initially, the colonists do not have weapons, but with the development of the plot, you will have ground and space technology, as well as a host of enemies against whom you will have to use it. Space fights almost do not depend on us. It just turns on the screen, on which the green points are fired with red, and when one of the sides of the point ends, we are shown the results and the list of losses. The decisive factors here are the experience of the general (and not the admiral, which is strange) and the number / equipment of the ships. Ground battles are arranged a little differently: you see a map of a section of the planet a la Dune II, on the left - your green technique, on the right - the red enemy. Management is identical to Dune: move, attack. Orders are given individually, the frame units can not circle. Do not expect any special variety in tactics either, everything is straightforward: tanks are better than armored cars, planes are better than tanks, rocket launchers are better than planes. The winner is usually the one who has more troops and more experienced general.
One more thing should be noted: the game has a linear plot. Do not rush to spit, it only means that events do not develop by chance, but according to a predetermined scenario. Some triggers work with time: so, if at the very beginning you get too carried away with peaceful construction and skip the plot twist, giving us the first weapon, then you will have an unpleasant surprise in the form of a fleet of aggressive aliens at the threshold and inability to defend against them. Other triggers depend on your actions and selected responses in alien dialogues. Properly speaking with representatives of the races, you can get important information, buy a valuable artifact, and even make allies out of enemies. Some of the minor offshoots of the plot are generally found in the quest order, which is quite unexpected for a space strategy.
In my opinion, the game deserves a separate subgenre niche, I would call it "narrative strategy" - "narrative strategy". A strategy in which illustrations, dialogues, and plot are as important as the ability to control troops and the flow of resources.
Reunion's graphic solution is unique: the game has an undeniable artistic value. The pictures are so strong that they are able to partly draw out a rather weak, naive storyline and cover up gaming flaws. The latter, unfortunately, are well marked and very sad. First, playing fair, you have to constantly use save / load, only to understand how this or that trigger is activated. Secondly, it is very strange that the production and, in general, all organizational activity is focused only on the main planet of the race. Enemies do not attack the colonies - only on your headquarters, the loss of which always means defeat. However, for you to win over the enemy it is enough just to knock him out of his native world. Thirdly, “advisors” ... to the question “what do you need”, they, as a rule, answer “more research / production”, - very informative. And you can also ask "how you feel" and get one of two random answers - that's a joy! The little things are annoying, like the constant need to manually bring resources from the colonies home, the military “Bay number”, the scientific “Did you miss the trigger? The train left, ”plot“ Difficult choice: talk to the alien or send him to hell? ”.
But, despite all this, Reunion is a persistent addiction and a desire to go through. The game can first be recommended to lovers of space strategies. Even if you are not a fan of the scripting system, take a walkthrough and try to go for the sake of the atmosphere. Believe me, it is worth it.