There are several reasons why I really enjoy Reus and believe it to be a well-made and fun game. I can certainly see why it may not appeal to absolutely everyone, but I think it does what it does well and does so in a charming little way that remains unique to its own identity.
It is a casual game, and a very much toned-down “civilization-management” style game compared to others in that genre. It is actually a “god-sim” style game where you influence but do not control the civilizations in your world. Furthermore it is round based, each round starting from scratch and lasting 1 to 2 hours; however unlocks and certain progressions are saved across all rounds.
The main thing that I like about Reus is that it satisfies the desire to play a civilization-management / god-sim style game without overloading the player with piles upon piles of data to keep track of. The tutorial is great, and slowly introduces the mechanics to the game. Even after the tutorial ends, things in the game are unlocked relatively slowly as the player completes rounds of gameplay. All this prevents you from feeling overwhelmed when you start playing. And you can really understand how the game works piece by piece instead of it all just being tossed in your face immediately after clicking “New Game.” It is a bit of a double-edged blade, however, as some players may inevitably find Reus to be lacking, as it is truly far less complex than many other games involving civilization-management.
The game is quite simplistic and it is way more god-sim than it is civilization-management; and it shows in the gameplay. Control is limited and simple, and much of the development is automated while the player just makes sure everything is going smoothly by managing resources, and occasionally divinely-intervening in affairs of the NPC civilizations.
Additionally, the art style, music, and even the game mechanics all add to the simple charm of the game that gives Reus its positive identity. The game isn’t very innovative but it does have a unique feel that will satisfy. Once you get into the swing of things, you will find Reus to be quite addictive.
In summary, I would say that hardcore fans of the civilization-management genre will probably find Reus way too casual. In truth it is much more so a casual god-sim than it is anything else. But for people who are interested in getting a small taste of civilization-management without the overwhelming feeling and tedious gameplay, they may be pleasantly surprised at what Reus has to offer.