“It's like Tinder for Aristocrats and power hungry zealots,” reads one Steam user’s review of Nerial and Devolver Digital’s Reigns—a kingdom management game where success is hinged on apt decision making and sheer luck. That’s probably the best way to describe it to be honest, but if you’ve never experienced this particular form of mobile dating (or haven’t at least peered over a mate’s shoulder to understand how it works), let the following launch trailer give you a better idea.
By balancing the four icons that top the UI—Religion, Population, Army and Wealth—the aim of the game is to last as long as possible in the throne without being usurped and/or killed. Doing so, as you can see above, involves being presented with cards, making snap decisions and then dealing with the consequences (or, in my experience, not). On mobile devices, this involves swiping right or left— à la Tinder—but translates to clicking either way on PC.
During my first playthrough, I assumed the role of George the Young and was challenged to survive five years in charge. I did, however on my sixth year discovered the nuns of my kingdom had begun meowing in the streets for reasons unknown. I ignored them, and they were thereafter branded heretics and burned at the stake. One year later (which is equal to one turn) I was slaughtered for losing my people’s trust.
I then became Harry the Wise but in just three turns bankrupted the state. "You’re tortured and your body is thrown to the dogs. Your name becomes an insult," was my departing message. The king is dead...etc.
It’s simple, but it’s good fun. If you’d like to decide for yourself, Reigns is out now on Steam for £1.99/$2.99.