This game should’ve been named Tinder: The Game. Every action in the game feels like Tinder. The game mechanics have it set to where you swipe on cards without knowing what they do. There’s the novelty of being killed in new ways, only to unlock new cards, and die all over again. The story is this: You made the deal with the devil to rule your land forever, however, you never asked for immortally so you die over and over.
That’s all you need to know, other than that, you don’t have to trigger the story at all by doing what the game wants or even try to break the devil’s curse. Every six hundred and sixty-six years: The devil comes back, but it’s just there to taunt you. Your last chance to break the curse is in 1998, but even if you don’t, the game just continues forever. In fact, throughout my playthrough, I frequently was left guessing what was and wasn’t story.
Your kingdom has four needs: Army, People, Money, and Religion. If anyone of the needs gets too high or too low, you die, and the next reign starts. Needs increase or decrease based on swipe direction and choice, and since you don’t know the effect ahead of time this can lead to a chaotic rule before you are reincarnated and the cycle repeats. Every few years you get an opportunity to enter the secret dungeon below your castle. You have to find certain items in certain rooms to advance the main plot. This mechanic is entirely optional, so if you are confused by the dungeon, your enjoyment won’t be impacted.
However, Reigns has one flaw, the game can go on far too long. In my case, I have gotten everything I needed to trick the devil and was just waiting until 1998 for him to show up. The same events popping up back to back made it feel like it took an eternity. This game illustrates how one missing feature, in this case a fast forward button, could have taken a game from “good” to “GREAT”.
Despite its grindy nature, the game exhibits a charming addictive nature that is perfect time killing for a weekend. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy a game where you can date a bird? As for accessibility, if you can use tinder you can play this.
Reigns was developed by Narial and published by Devolver Digital
Available: Steam, IOS, Google Play, Amazon, taptap, and Switch
Price: 7.99 Switch (includes Queen version), and 2.99 for everything else.
A Steam review key was provided by the publisher for this review.
Djf1107 has awarded Reigns the Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval.