Mobile games are good for several things. Of those, quick and easy gaming sessions near the top of the list. Who hasn’t popped open their phone on the subway or bus for a quick game of Angry Birds, or maybe even slammed some Candy Crush during a break at work? I haven’t had a “go-to” mobile game in a while, but thanks to publisher Devolver Digital, a quirky game about ruling kingdoms has cemented that spot. Reigns is a game about using your family lineage to successfully rule over a medieval country. It helps that the game has one of the easiest control schemes I’ve ever seen; and I’m pretty sure the popular dating app Tinder is responsible.
The King Who Reigns…
Perhaps the Tinder comparison is a bit off the mark, as the game only draws inspiration from its control scheme. Instead of searching for an (arguably regrettable) one night stand or trying to find your soul mate, Reigns puts you at the most noble of positions; the King.
Playing Reigns is incredibly simple. Like Tinder, you simple swipe left or right when given a choice. The game plays out over cards with different characters and encounters, and its your job as king to make the tough calls. As you decide what sort of ruler you are, your actions will have consequences across four categories. You’ll have to steadily appease the church, the people, the army, and your cash flow. Different choices raise and lower bars associated with these categories, and if you fail at any, your kingdom will fall and you will perish.
…and the King’s Kin
Perhaps your kingdom falls after one too many misjudgements. Fret not, as dying doesn’t force an entire restart of the game. Instead, your actions have long reaching consequences for both yourself and those who follow. As you explore different possibilities during choices, you’ll unlock new cards (these make up the situations and choices you’ll have to make), adding new story bits and experiences. What starts out as a simple game of swiping eventually becomes a game of strategy and quick thinking. Choosing to improve your castle’s defenses will cost you cash, but will also help deter enemies and give you a second chance if your army fails. These boosts also carry over into further generations, making your choices feel a bit more effective.
This also rings true for big changes in your kingdom; these aren’t just one-king affairs. You might start a crusade with one king, eventually ending it three or four kings down the line. As you meet new characters and pave your way through the game, it’s easy to get wrapped into the power trip. Rule as a complete ass or as a beloved king, it’s really up to you.
Easy to Learn, Hard to Put Down
I was a bit intimidated when I first heard about Reigns; I’m about as effective as steamy garbage when it comes to strategy games. However, the ease of Reigns swipe controls and its general beginning of game experience makes it easy to play regardless of skill. The game does a great job of slowly introducing you to new scenarios, providing a great balance between knowledge and new experiences. It didn’t take me long to completely understand the way the game worked, and once you learn that, everything else falls into place.
I’ve had a great time with Reigns, and feel as though I’ve just scratched the surface. Besides making decisions, there’s combat to learn and tons of humorous and wacky jokes. Not only is Reigns fun, it’s great for both bite sized play sessions and long trips. If anything, Reigns is a completely unique experience that you won’t get anywhere else. There’s tons of charm and style to it, and I’ve barely mentioned some of the more interesting aspects of the game. That’s because it’s completely worth it to experience these things on your own.
For the meager price of $3, you can grab Reigns on either iPhone or Android. You can also grab it on Steam, but I recommend it as a mobile experience. It’s well worth the price, and I’ve already gotten multiple hours of enjoyment out of it. Whether or not you consider yourself a fan of the medieval, kings and queens, or strategy, you should definitely try it out. Reigns is like Game of Thrones in that way; I don’t have a soft spot for knights or princesses, but I’ll be damned if I’m not having a great time. With free updates containing 100 new encounters and multiple additions, it looks like I’ll be playing for quite some time. You should too.