Take the Reigns and Swipe Your Way to Glory


As game mechanisms go, swiping items or characters across the screen has become the norm. For kids of a certain age, all they’ll know is the use of tablet and mobile technology. This inventive game built entirely around swiping either left or right plays up to this recent gaming trend. Step forward Reigns, holding up a regal longsword.

Reigns were developed by Nerial and published successfully by Devolver Digital. It even spawned a sequel called Reigns: Her Majesty, where instead of a King you can play the Queen. But how does each game work and what are the differences? I swiped right and found out.

Reigns is a strategy video game set in a medieval world where you are the King, who rules over his subjects (both loyal and disloyal) by making decisions. To make each decision, you swipe the card on the screen either left or right. This exact mechanism has, of course, been used for years by the dating app Tinder. But while one app sees you hold court over potential suitors, ruling with an iron fist and drinking way too many flagons of ale, in Reigns, you are the head of a perplexing kingdom.

As King (or Queen), you’re given decision after decision, and you have the option of rejecting (swipe left) or accepting (swipe right) what each character is telling you before the story can progress. It’s a really interesting way of making a journey through a game and I really got into the methodology of it. It reminded me of the card games or Choose Your Own Adventure books we played as children.

Each decision you make has consequences and changes the course of the game. From the church to the people, through the army and wealth, whenever you take your eye off one of these key areas or favour one too high, you’ll pay the ultimate price.

The characters of Reigns have a simplistic charm and includes The Prince, The Skeleton – who admittedly is a little see-through – a Courtesan, a Diplomat, a Doctor and even the Royal Dog!

In fact, the dog is more than a little barking mad, as you’ll discover if you ever invoke the Spirit of the Fallen, but I’ll let you discover that particular destiny.

Controlling a kingdom by swipe really is a great hook to build a game like this around, and while the preservation of the King is the main aim of the game, there are subtle references to how bad society, in general, is at making key decisions. The direct cause and effect of everything in Reigns doesn’t dilute the importance of those actions but highlights how so much can change with every different path you take in life.

While there are few differences between Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty, the makers have added in some problems for you to solve. With between 1200 and 1300 different cards in the game, there is almost double the original game’s 800 cards. Reigns: Her Majesty does feature a new gameplay element with the arrival of items you can use to get yourself out of tricky situations. Items can sometimes help you escape a puzzling poser without even having to consider whether to reject or accept.

With the original Reigns released digitally on Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, and Windows on August 2016, Reigns: Her Majesty was released in December 2017 on the same formats. Reigns are set to be released on the Nintendo Switch this summer.

I’m going to look up any royal ancestry in my past, but you can watch the official trailer for Reigns here, or even head to the Reigns website to read all about your new favourite reason to swipe right.

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