Review: Reigns: Game of Thrones19 Oct 2018 0
Review: Reigns: Game of Thrones
Released 18 Oct 2018
HBO's sweeping Game of Thrones television adaptation has always been the weekly opportunity for many fans to take a seat and proselytize the best course of action for one of its many characters on course to take the Iron Throne to they friends as it plays out in real time.
Meanwhile, Nerial's Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty are consistently some of the most entertaining mobile experiences out there, inviting mere peasants on iOS and Android to try their hand at royal decision-making. It's no surprise, then, that the two would be a match made in heaven. Reigns: Game of Thrones is not only the best iteration of Reigns to date, but it also happens to be the best Game of Thrones video game adaptation, with an expansive set of storylines,
For those unfamiliar with Reigns, it adopts a Tinder-like formula that only requires one real thing of players: swiping right or left. In the first two games, you took on the role of a fledgling king or queen and lived out many moons as royalty until you inevitably perished (which you do, quite a lot). Citizens, advisors, and strangers flock to you with favors, advice, and other tasks that require you to mull over decisions on, with a left swipe for no and a right swipe for yes.
Some may seem frivolous, but the ramifications of your choice can echo throughout later happenings. Some appear disastrous at first but may end up a boon for your kingdom. It's simple enough to get the hang of, but you never quite feel as though you're making the right decision in your heart of hearts. That's the beauty of it, and perhaps what keeps you coming back for more.
Luckily, the icons at the top of the play screen give you a tiny bit of insight as to which aspects of your rule will be affected by your decisions. So when you mull over whether you should prepare for battle to take the land of Meereen back as Queen Daenerys Targaryen, the first character unlocked in Reigns: Game of Thrones, you should check said icons.
You'll see your standing with the Sept, or the religious segment of the Game of Thrones world, your military power, how to people view you, and your money reserves. Each decision will move a meter up or down so that the icons can become completely full or empty. Emptying is denoted by a red cast to each icon, while filling it is green.
The key here is to remember that neither filling the icons nor emptying them is vital to your success. In fact, if you fill them at all, you're going to be headed for an ending, whether you're poisoned, killed by a crowd of angry villagers, run into a particularly angry dragon, or fail to survive one of the most punishing seasons in the Game of Thrones world – winter, of course. You have to walk a fine line between catering to one group too much and another not enough, just like in real life, and Reigns' classic formula works miraculously here.
It's hard to tell when death might suddenly befall you, but it will, again and again. You just learn to deal with it and move on swiftly, and then come back at the game with a renewed sense of purpose. You'll know which decisions to avoid next time, if you remember them, since the game always throws new challenges your way and randomizes situations, so you don't get too complacent.
At its core, Reigns: Game of Thrones is, essentially, a re-skinned version of the classic Reigns formula with some new tricks up its sleeve. But thanks to a few changes Nerial opted for this time around, there are some intriguing alterations to its core design that give the game new life. For instance, the Red Priestess Melisandre acts as a catalyst for the rebirth of your characters time and time again. When one dies, you may unlock another. And then you may select which one you'd like to play as. Melisandre offers some brief hints about clues to look for when making decisions.
You aren't relegated only to Daenerys, though. There are eight playable characters and plenty of other personalities you'll recognize in the game, including Arya, Jaime Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, Sansa, and Cersei. Each come with their own unique sets of storylines and challenges to overcome, just like in the show, but there's an overarching narrative too, which you'll soon come to find out.
All of these elements come together to make a simple yet exciting and wholly addictive exercise in strategizing, decision-making, and general Game of Thrones nerdery. It’s every bit as engaging as the Telltale vision of the series, even more so in fact, and trumps the other poor game adaptations in ways that aren’t even fair. This is the best attempt any developer has made thus far when it comes to conceptualizing Westeros, its varied personalities, and the world’s political intrigue yet. And it all comes down to a Tinder-like swipe fest. But you know what? It sure is a fantastic one.