Mobile Game Review: For All You Self-Proclaimed Kings, “Reigns” Puts You in Charge

Our review of the best mobile games put the tap-tap to the test.

It’s tough to be the king.

In Reigns, you play a long, infinite lineage of kings who are attempting to live and rule over their people as long as possible. Every time you die, or are exiled, or are voted peacefully out of rule, the next king takes over.

Imagine if you’re sitting on the throne, and your political advisers are bursting into the throne room to ask you questions and suggest actions. Should we go to war with this country? Will you marry this wealthy princess? Will you give more money to the church? It’s very simple to respond. You swipe right or left on the card. Usually swiping right is affirmative.

There are four facets of your kingdom that are influenced by your decisions: the church, the people, the military, and the wealth. Whenever you make decisions, the bar on any of these facets will increase or decrease. If any of them get full or depleted your reign is over.

There are also a few rare gameplay twists in Reigns, things like dueling or simple dungeon exploration, and cards that will drastically affect your point collection, even beyond your reign as one particular king.

I’ve always enjoyed the clever ways that games take on the concept of succession and rule. Reigns deals with it in a very clever way by having you accept that your character’s failure is not only inevitable, but a part of the play experience. This is a game that relies heavily on your imagination. The writing is clever and funny, but the visual interface doesn’t give you much to chew on, so you’re going to have to create a mental picture of what’s happening to your kingdom as you try to keep it balanced.

I had a lot of fun playing this game. It doesn’t hold your hand, and it’s left up to you to figure out the surprising number of outcomes you can have while trying to govern.

I give this one 3.5 out of 5. This one burns really hot in the beginning and it’s for the completionists. You’ll be sucked in for a good few days if you’re anything like me. But if you’re the kind of gamer who wants to know everything and complete everything, you’re gonna be reigning for a really long time.

You can get this game right now on iOS, Android, and Steam.

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