It’s good to be the King…
Imagine being King of a medieval fiefdom. Sitting high upon your throne, your advisers bring the pressing business of your realm before you and you indicate your decision with a simple wave of your hand. Reigns, a game on mobile devices and PC brings this experience to your fingertips in a whimsical Tinder inspired package.
The gameplay in Reigns could not be simpler. As the King the player must choose between one of two, often diametrically opposed solutions to a political problem outlined by the kingdoms advisors. On mobile devices these decisions are indicated by the traditional Tinder method of swiping right or left on the screen. Player’s decisions impact four key aspects of the kingdom, the church, the people, the army, and the treasury. Decisions affect some or all of these factions, positively or negatively and slightly or severely. If any one of these factions becomes too strong or too weak the King’s reign comes to an end, sometimes peacefully, sometimes violently and the player starts again with a new king.
In addition to the basic decision-making gameplay, Reigns manages to cram in dueling, dungeon crawling and other events all using the same basic swipe right, swipe left interface. The result is a surprisingly deep experience, especially once new cards have been unlocked by completing quests.
Reigns is developed by Nerial and published by Devolver Digital and as such employs what has become that company’s house visual style as well sound design. For those unfamiliar with this style the visuals are characterized by the use of lush colors and simple art. The sound design is exemplified by the way characters speak, which is best described as inflected gibberish. Players will never hear an understandable word spoken but will instantly recognize tone and underlying meaning. The soundtrack by Disasterpeace is also an excellent addition to the atmosphere of the game.
What really makes this game special, though, is the writing. In the space of a couple sentences the game conveys so much about not only a situation and it’s potential consequences but also the character relating the problem. Players are instantly made aware of which characters are trustworthy or what their agenda is, which is impressive given how little actual text is in the game.
Reigns is available on iOS, Android and PC for $2.99,and is absolutely worth every penny. Reigns also does not require access to mobile networks, location data, or contain microtransactions, which is refreshing in a mobile game.
Overall Reigns is a unique offering in the mobile market. A game with excellent all-around design, a fantastic sense of humor, and none of the skeevy trappings that usually come with a game played on a smartphone.