Reigns: Her Majesty is the follow up to 2016’s smash hit, Reigns. In fact, if you’ve played the first one, you’ve played this one too only this time, you take the part of a queen….or many queens….sitting on the throne of a fictional country. While simple on first blush, the game brings an unexpected nuance to players who look for quality games on the go. This is our Reigns: Her Majesty review.
So, what is Reigns: Her Majesty?
Since not everyone was hip enough to play Reigns in 2016, let’s go over the quick and dirty details. In the game you take on the role of a dynasty of queens. That’s right: You aren’t just one queen, but many because you are going to die….a lot. Get used to it. In my time playing, I only managed to have a queen rule for 50 years and die of natural causes a few times out of probably a hundred monarchs. But, truth be told, dying is actually fun. Weird, right? But it is and it’s really sort of the point.
You begin the game presented with a stack of cards, each one with an advisor or court member or even your husband, the King, on it. In addition, each one is asking some type of question or for a favor. You may be asked to make a judgment about whether or not a guy stealing apples from his neighbor’s yard should get compensation (Hell no…) or to show your pious side parading around with the Bishop (Usually hell no…). Once you make your choice, you swipe right or left ala Tinder. It is important, however, to be prudent in your decision-making. There are four different factors to take into account with every choice: Military, People, Church or Wealth. Get any one of them too low OR too high and, you guessed it, death. My queens died any number of gruesome ways including being trampled by my adoring subjects or being burned at the stake by my less-than-adoring Bishop.
Anyway, every choice you make will raise or lower one of the metrics depending on who you’re offending or who you’re currying favor with. The key is to be diplomatic. Sometimes you’ll even have to make decisions that are against what you want your queen to be, but that are made in the interest of actually keeping her alive.
The good news is that, even if, or more accurately WHEN, you die, it’s not the end and the next queen ascends the throne, perhaps a little bit smarter than her predecessor. It’s important to take a few lessons from them too since there are three active objectives to be completed by every queen. When one dies, they carry over to the next monarch. If one is solved through your clever swiping, a new one pops up along with a few new cards.
One of the big drawbacks to Reigns: Her Majesty is the sheer randomness of it all. Solving the “quests” isn’t straightforward and the arbitrary nature of the right cards coming in the right order (and you making the right decisions) can be frustrating. In addition, even being very deliberate about choices made to keep all of the metrics balanced can lead to death if the randomized choices simply don’t offer a viable solution. Sometimes the decisions are worded in such a downright silly way as to make opting for one over the other unclear. It would be nice if “Luck would be THIS Lady“, but often, it’s simply isn’t. The good thing is that you know that, in the end, it’s not the end. You’ll just die and someone else will take your place.
So much for going down in history…
The other thing that eventually gets to you if you play for more than 30 minutes or so at a time is that death gets tiresome. You’ll see the same cards come up with astonishing regularity even knowing there are hundreds in the game and familiar choices (and resulting deaths) happen far too often.
Reigns: Her Majesty has some really fun, quirky and dark writing and you’re sure to find yourself giggling unexpectedly at times. It’s the perfect game for travel to and from work or when you’re sitting on your own personal throne, if you get my drift.
While I played the PC version, the first game came out for mobile devices and this is where it will really take off because it’s the perfect game for the platform. It’s not like carrying your PC into the….chamber….is even possible, you know? If I had to make a recommendation, it would be worth waiting for the mobile version to come out. You’ll get a lot of fun out of every cent of its $3 price tag too.
A copy of the Steam PC version was provided for the purpose of review.
- quirky, fun sense of humor
- quick and easy game play perfect for travel
- weird joy derived simply by living long enough to die naturally
- sometimes decisions are unclear and / or unsatisfying
- random choices often feel at odds with reason
- play too long and the charm rubs off fast