When everything you once loved and cherished is scattered across your archipelago homeland by war and greed, your only course of action as the once proud leader of a indomitable tribe is ... Reprisal. In homage to EA's classic strategy game, Populous, Reprisal is a Flash-based real time strategy game where you gather your prized totems and tribesmen to use against the fools who arrogantly cast them asunder. The totems allow you to manipulate the elements of earth, wind, and fire to shape, burn, and drown the earth. It's kind of like a kid playing god to an anthill, but the ants have their own water hose and magnifying glass to retaliate with. Reclaim your tribe's history through sweet, sweet revenge.
The developers across the pond at Electrolyte Games made the control scheme simple so any person, no matter their RTS prowess, could play. The mouse and the left-click button are used for all game input like selecting places on the map, changing totems, or placing totem powers. Selecting earth squares with the Terraform totem by left-clicking, for example, will raise the earth into mountains or lower them if you are pressing the [SHIFT] key and clicking. The number keys , , and  can also be used to toggle between the various totem power types you have if clicking on them is too bothersome. The [arrow] keys or [WASD] keys change the game camera's map view point so you can move around the island and get a better view of the crafty AI plotting their next move.
As you move along the islands in each level, your NPC tribesmen will follow three simple commands. They will make settlements to increase your army's fighting strength/size and mana regeneration rate, move to waypoints you set, and look for fights by invading the enemy territory. You will also see a fourth button with rest of them at the top of the screen, but it only locates the position of your leader unit, which is created once a NPC reaches a waypoint you create. The mana regeneration mentioned before is needed to cast all the totem powers you have so expand quickly if you like spamming your godly powers. Timing your totemic magic and army's invasion is part and parcel of demolishing your foes when their time is nigh.
Destruction and recovery are your main objectives in this game so the levels switch in between them as your journey of redemption treks on. The size of each tribe in a level is shown by the meter around the tribe's symbol in the top left corner of the screen. The only way to lower influence is to capture their buildings, burn the earth so settlement is impossible for a short period of time, or change the earth around them. A building needs a lot of open, even ground around it to grow and become powerful so damaging the land or altering it makes it significantly easier to capture. Also, larger buildings require more soldiers to capture it so keep that in mind unless your almighty totem-enhanced Hero is ready to crush some evil.
Analysis: Despite its lack of varied units and building types, Reprisal really shines with its isometric grid level layout, tons of game changing powers, and a retro pixel art style that gamers find so attractive these days. The game's progression does well to teach you the ropes of elemental strategy warfare so everyone is lax at your progressive rise to full strength and becomes more aggressive to quell it. The AI lulls you into a false sense of security early, letting you take over like its is nothing, and the WHAM, they harass you until there isn't a camp left. This AI can leave most casual players in the dust if they don't adapt to different play styles quickly enough. Sadly enough, there isn't choice in the difficulty if the going gets too rough.
Although there isn't a multiplayer component to the game, choice of difficulty, or level editor like most RTS games out there, Reprisal will keep the player invested in protecting his pixel peons from danger and battle for glory with an innovative environment-centric combat. The earth is both your weapon and defense so the focus of gameplay is on building up the terrain around you. The game's settlement building mechanic is remarkably dynamic in calculating the size and open land to determine what buildings can and should be built. It takes less grey matter to micro manage your tribe so fighting and totem power usage is easier for those newbie RTS players.
The visuals make this 8-bit isometric world enticing, but the choice between an artistic mode and basic mode makes it even sweeter. The artistic mode adds better textures to the world, a depth of view filter, and extra little effects that push more pixels to the screen while basic does not. It showcases Electrolyte Game's dedication and strive to put the best quality work into their games so the solid gameplay is matched with high quality graphics. It is understandable that some might not appreciate depth texturing with artistic mode so basic mode is there to keep the game fun and prevent squinting to see if those blurs are enemies or trees.
A polished, well-developed game made for long-timer players to the genre, but accessible to anyone willing to learn. Plenty of button shortcuts and a clearly defined UI to increase your APM (or actions per minute) while dedicating enough screen space to the real time action. It is sure to become one of those go-to time wasters that you won't feel bad about putting off your household chores to play.