Kings & Queens Review – REAL OTAKU GAMER – Real Otaku Gamer is your source for Geek Culture GoodnessNovember 9, 2018 0 By admin
If you’re anything like me, you’ve often seen terrible bosses, government officials and even rulers and thought “geez, even I could do better than THAT!” If that’s the case, Reigns: Kings & Queens is the perfect opportunity to find out if you’re right or not without needing to be born into royalty or worrying about them murdering you in a bloody revolt if you mess up.
Reigns: Kings & Queens is a collection of two games: Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty. While there are some differences between the two, the basics are the same: try to rule as long as you can by balancing the church, the people, the military, and your finances. How do you do this, you ask? By swiping right or left of course! The entire game revolves around people (and sometimes animals or other creatures) coming to you with two choices. You can choose one of the two choices by swiping right or left, and you’re shown which of the four meters will be affected. The trick is that you aren’t shown how they’ll be affected, just how much: either no affect, a small affect or a large affect. If any of the four bars drops to 0 or reaches the maximum you’ll die. The text in the choices typically makes it pretty obvious which bars will be negative and positive: anything that spends money lowers your finances, for example, and things that make the church happy often make the people unhappy and vice versa. The death screens can be rather hilarious, and I can’t remember any other games where you’re punished for having too much money or people who are too happy, but you sure will be here! For the most part, every card you deal with progresses the game a year, and rounds typically last between “7 years” to “25 years”, although I’ve managed to retire happily once after 61 years in power as a king!
On top of the basic layer of swiping and altering meters, trying to keep them all in the center as much as possible, both games offer additional things to deal with. You have a limited number of what are essentially “cards” – events and things to deal with – and as you complete various challenges (you’re given 3 at a time) you unlock characters and additional cards. The more you play, the more you’ll come to learn what to expect when you see them: some characters are religious, or representatives of the people, or military folks, and as you unlock more events you’ll find far crazier things like a dungeon under the kingdom or going on a crusade that makes it so your people meter slowly drops while your money meter slowly fills, even while trying to make choices. This system reminded me a lot of the Hand of Fate games where successfully completing an interaction unlocks new cards and interactions, which allows you to learn the basics while also unlocking additional cards for the future and never feeling overwhelmed.
The game has a load of experimentation via the differences in the games. You can choose Kings or Queens from the main menu when you start the game up, and each is exclusively either male or female leaders. Kings is the original game Reigns, in which you can get a handful of temporary modifiers for the game like the aforementioned crusades, a cathedral that prevents you from losing due to the church being too weak or the people being too powerful, or loaded dice that guarantee you’ll win at one of the minigames. Queens is Reigns: Her Majesty, which actually allows you to collect items and then use them pretty much any time. This adds some mystery as items like Royal Perfume – “The charming scent of royalty. May win some people’s hearts.” – can be used to open up new cards or woo various people. Kings seems to have more depth to the actual game itself, whereas Queens has more depth with the items you collect. I’m able to live longer on average in Kings, but I also ended up playing Kings far more than Queens. Queens also has a cyclical monarchy element to it, and it seems to be a goal to have a limited number of queens rule long enough to fill it, but I haven’t succeeded at doing so yet.
While both games have a fair amount of depth, I found myself getting bored with the games pretty quickly. If this was a $30 game that may be a big deal, but since the game is only $8 on Switch and even less on Steam, iOS, and Android, it’s still easy to recommend to anyone who likes a game that’s easy to pick up and play. Because each ruler lives such a short amount of time it’s also an easy game to play any time; heck, I’ve totally died within a couple minutes plenty of times! And the humor in the game is so terrific that even in those short-lived monarchies there’s plenty to enjoy.
Reigns: Kings & Queens is available for Nintendo Switch (reviewed). Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty are available separately on iOS, Android, and Steam (Windows, Mac, and Linux).
I received a free copy of this game in exchange for an honest review.