'Reigns Her Majesty' Brings Feminine Touch to Royal Throne
I have been burned at the stake, overwhelmed by an adoring mob, locked away in a tall tower, and mauled by a pack of dogs. Such are the endings of many lives in “Reigns: Her Majesty.”
The game is simple to play but difficult to master. Much like its predecessor, “Reigns,” the turns are based on making binary choices put before you by a deck of cards. However, your choices can have impacts on four different groups, and keeping them happy means keeping your head as queen.
The groups, church, people, military, money, all vie for attention and influence. The trick is balancing their happiness across the board, leading to confusing choice selections. Make a group too happy or too unhappy will result in removal from the throne. It is a strategic and logic dance made more difficult by the unknown of what each card will do.
In this respect, the game play doesn’t differ too much from the previous one. There is new tone that is pervasive through the game, creating a sense of newness and wonder with “Her Majesty.”
The tone is decidedly about girl power. Instead of the devil lording over all your decisions, the All-Mother is the overbearing force, trying to lead you down paths toward an unknown conclusion.
The female viewpoint also provides a new outlook on interactions and impacts. Between condescension and conquest, the queen can use direct actions or trickery to achieve her goals. Men want her favor, and women want her to rule. Somewhere in between lies the path to a long and glorious reign as queen.
The king is more of a figurehead, making minor decisions along the way. You, as the queen, are the true power, emphasizing strength through balance. There are many other powerful female figures in the world due to the All-Mother’s presence. How you treat them helps define how others treat them as well.
There is some fourth wall breaking during the game. Some characters mention things that are not medieval, the early setting of the game. An owl also provides statistical analysis of your choices, allegedly comparing them to other players of the game, much to the confusion of the queen.
A gameplay element allows for the collection and use of items during specific times or situations in the game. A dueling pistol, a mechanical clock, and a spellbook are just some of the pieces available. Using these items creates new pathways and potentially new allies or enemies. Clues will provide some help on when these items are needed, but sometimes, trial and error is the best method.
Much like a real monarchy, there is greed, jealously, love, and just plain weirdness. You will die a lot, but your memories will help you navigate the treacherous waters of courtly affairs.
Sometimes, the choice you make will feel contrary to previous decisions, but the goal of the game is to keep the balance in the realm. That means deciding what is right at the moment is more important than a long-term view of things. It seems counterintuitive at times, considering you are the one making all the decisions.
However, the humor, wit, and challenges will have you returning to the throne again and again after your agonizing deaths. “Reigns Her Majesty” is an easy game to learn, a hard game to master, and a joy to play.
"Reigns Her Majesty" is available now in the App Store, Google Play, and for Windows PC via Steam. This post was written using a purchased digital copy from Steam.