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Reigns (2016): Game Review

It's good to be the king.

Reigns is a 2017 mobile strategy game about a monarch who rules a kingdom based on the suggestions of his advisors.

Reigns is a BAFTA Games Awards Best Mobile in 2017 nominee. This mobile game lets you take the role of a king reigning over a kingdom who needs to make the necessary choices on every possible issue by swiping left or right. It is developed by Nerial and published by Devolver Digital. The goal unquestionably is to reign as long as possible. This implies making choices that will create a decent balance between the church, the people, the army and the treasury. The question is: Do you have what it takes to be king?

Reigns is a neat concept. Its simplicity makes it a compelling experience. While it is simple, there is still a decent amount of control and evaluation that the player needs to make. There is a mechanic to tilt the choice left or right and it shows which meters will be affected and whether it is big or small. It never says how much but it also emphasizes on the risk of being a ruler. After the first run, it’s easy to realize that there are a lot of ways to die if the balance is offset for each or any one of the meters mentioned above. They are set off with different deaths scenes. In fact, one of the achievements is to experience all of these deaths.   

Reigns is a well-polished game. It shows the idea of risk and reward. There are many scenarios that work on our morals and especially, our logic. It shows us that being king and reigning a long time doesn’t always mean making the good choices. Sometimes circumstances will dictate the situation for long term survival. However logical it is, it is a cute game with card-like art style and made up gibberish language, which is pretty entertaining to listen to and random fantasy events like witches, dragons and devil encounters. There are even small fighting sequences to improve combat skills. This all builds into a game that remembers to put us into the shoes of a king and keeping it fun and entertaining with objectives to reach while trying to stay alive.

While there are plenty of objectives to achieve along the way, the characters do repeat themselves frequently and some cards will tend to also come up time and time again with a new reigning king. However, as the player jumps in more and meets various characters and completes more objectives, it will unlock new card packs and this opens up new scenarios and more quirky creatures to interact with. The kingdom you have built is yours. The choices you make will keep going on even when the reign changes. For example, a decision may reap a card with a certain lasting effect. That effect won’t go away when the king dies but rather when an event that happens can nullify it. These spontaneous events usually are linked to the objectives and their consequences. The events you’ve experienced with a previous king may occur again as well however, some of these characters that are linked now to the current kingdom will stay the same even if they try to pull off the same scheme.

Overall, Reigns is a fun and simple mobile game that lets us experience the joy and torment of being a king. In some ways it is a fantastical journey with many quirky characters with some ridiculous requests and at other times, it can be a fairly strategic and logical challenge to keep all components of the kingdom in balance which is what ensures our survival. While there is a certain level of repetition, Reigns awards its players for its loyalty by opening up new cards and refreshed objectives. Reigns is well-suited for a quick round (as a mobile game should be). However, for those who are not mobile players, Reigns is also available on Steam. For just a few dollars, Reigns packs quite the punch.

 

Reigns (2016): Game Review

Game description: Reigns is a 2017 mobile strategy game about a monarch who rules a kingdom based on the suggestions of his advisors.

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