Just the other day I was thinking about Populous and where I might be able to play that game nowadays. I had the game on the SNES, and although I was terrible at it as a youth, it always was interesting. Waking up today, it’s as though my brain-thoughts were answered by the game making genie, as here we are with Reprisal, a spiritual successor to Peter Molyneux’s god game of old.

The developers (Electrolyte and Last17) have no problem telling you their inspiration:

Created in homage to Populous, Reprisal lets you take control of a tribe, guiding them, building land and making them grow in number. Using special totem powers you can control nature itself unleashing its full fury on anyone that stands in your way. But be warned, other tribes may not take too kindly to your intentions and will put up a fight!

As you can see from the image above, the visual style for this game is great. Using pixelated sprites for your followers has a charm that hearkens back to yesteryear but is at the same time incredibly fresh. Couple this with a narrow depth of field on the maps, and you have yourself a damn fine looking browser game.

If you have had any time with Populous as a kid (or adult, you old person), then the oddly isometric viewpoint of Reprisal will be right at home. Scrolling through the map to view various islands has the same weird feeling that it did twenty years ago, but you adjust.

The game so far sports 30 maps, and the object of each is given to you before jumping in to the action. Some of the early maps have you using your followers to gather totems that allow you extra powers, while maps going on are about territory dominance. To succeed, you will need to tell your peoples to do a range of different tasks, from simply going to a waypoint that you set to making settlements to looking for fights. These simple tasks your followers do are aided by powers that you have at your disposal, like terraforming the earth (flat land allows for larger settlements), lobbing a large fireball onto enemies, or setting the aforementioned waypoints. These powers cost mana that is generated by how large your population is, and the larger the population, the faster your mana grows.

Once you complete a map, you are greeted with a screen that tallies up some points, and then you are on to the next mission to take out the next set of evil tribesman who probably just want to be left alone but you had to be a jerk and come and burn their houses down.

I generally do not do much browser gaming, preferring to snub my nose at them as though I am some sort of better person or as if they aren’t good based simply on the medium at which they are consumed, but this game is good and definitely fun. I look forward to getting through all 30 levels.

You can check out Reprisal right here.