Last week I bought a game on Steam, Reigns, which has become a bit like solitaire or those kinds of games where you dip in and out and play a bit every do often while other things are loading or you’re waiting for something on the computer and then you realise it’s been half an hour. It’s one of those ‘just one more try’ games. I found it because the Yogscast did a video on it, I’m sure there are others who have done them as well so YouTube is probably your friend when it comes to seeing actual gameplay, as well as the Steam page and the Devolver Digital page for it (they’re the game devs) but I’m doing a review of the game and the extras you get in the Collectors edition. I decided to get this one as it wasn’t much extra and I’m a sucker for art books and similar and this comes with a digital book and the soundtrack, but more about that later.
The game by itself is also available as a mobile game, I found it on the Apple App Store for £2.29, which is actually more than the original is on Steam which surprised me but I’m not sure how much it costs on android. As I don’t have this version I can’t do a comparison but I think it’s the same game, it seems the kind that doesn’t need changes to become a mobile game. On Steam the PC version is £1.99 and the bundle I bought is £4.36 and includes the game, the OST, an interactive OST and a companion book. These are all available separately for 79p each or a bundle of £2.37, there isn’t a discount for getting it all in one go for this game. If you’re a mac user, good news, this is a mac compatible game. It’s also compatible with controllers, though I’m not sure they’d be a big advantage on this one.
I don’t normally do this as I tend to keep spoonie things separate to the rest of my blog but I thought I’d tag it with that as I think this is a fairly spoonie friendly game that has a bit more to it than some and I’m always on the look out for good games that don’t need so much energy to enjoy.
I’m not sure it’s possible to have spoilers for this game but if you want to avoid any mention of events or possible ways to die then I’d not read on, not that the ones I’m saying about effect the gameplay and there’s not really a storyline as such.
Also, if you’re reading this because you’re looking for how to find the DLC when you’ve already downloaded it I have included that further down. It’s in bold so keep scrolling until you see it. Hope it’s helpful!
Reigns is one of those games that you can lose a lot of time in, in that way it reminds me a lot of Rogue Legacy if any of you have played that. I’d say the setting is similar time wise as you have peasants, witches, the plague so it’s set in the past. You also get a helping of magic with werewolves and alchemy.
You start off with a King, there’s the tutorial part that pretty much has the basics and the choices start of pretty easily. You have a piece of text at the top that needs a reaction and you have two replies you can choose; you make your decision by clicking on either side of the screen (or moving one side or the other). This sounds pretty simple so far, but the main thing you have to worry about with this game is the four symbols at the top of the screen. These go up and down with the decisions you make and represent the church, the people you reign over, the army and your money. If any one of these reaches the bottom your king dies, but at the same time if any of them reach the top then you die too so it’s a fine balance. Luckily when the decisions pop up you get a dot over the symbols it will effect, it doesn’t tell you which way the meter will go but you learn to guess whether it will be positive or negative.
One thing with the choices in this game is they seem random in their order, I don’t think I’ve had them appear in the same order, at least noticeably. However some of them do pop up a lot, they’re mainly the general ones such as building a dam for the population sort of thing, but some stand out and have definitely popped up almost every time. I’m not sure if they have some sort of reason for a later game achievement or something but they do stand out. It may be that I’ve just randomly had them each time and most people don’t get them much. I know there will be a limited number of cards and building on the deck is part of the game, just something to know if things like that repeating in different replays annoys you.
As the game progresses you unlock new characters, though I think my favourite is the Executioner who likes to give sweets to people and confesses to being a serial killer who wants to quit, you have to make certain decisions and then people like the Doctor or the witch appear and add a range of new cards to your deck to add new situations. There are also decisions you make that can affect your stats on a turn by turn basis for a while, for example going on a crusade reduces your population but increases your money so you have to make sure you spend as much as possible really and keep people happy or alive by getting the population meter to go up. Alongside these there are achievements to aim for, some of the early ones are things like reign for X amount of years but they become more complicated and take longer to achieve as the game progresses.
Within the game there are collectibles, cards for different characters and scenarios as well as multiple deaths that each have their own card. They each have the same art style as the rest of the game and there are definitely some interesting ways to die including getting killed by a skeleton or getting the plague, but some endings are definitely happier as one I got today I lost the kingdom but everyone loved me so I lived a long time. As with all Steam games, or all the ones I own, you have Steam achievements too. This game is definitely one that rewards you for playing and dying a lot, there is one achievement for dying 100 deaths.
One thing that stands out for me in this game is the art style, I really like the angular, simple style of the characters and the art in general. There’s a good range of characters and art work even with the limited shapes. The backgrounds are simple and it has the feel of a card game in a lot of ways to me with the way you make your decision. There are a few different backgrounds when you unlock certain events like the crusade or finding a new place to expand your empire to.
The soundtrack is nice, it’s pretty calm and quiet and there are enough tracks for you to get the change in the atmosphere with certain choices without it taking over. It definitely has the medieval or Tudor feel to me with the instruments and it’s pretty relaxing. They’re the kind of songs you could have on in the background while doing something and they wouldn’t annoy you, or they don’t me. It’s not one that stands out particularly and it’s not action packed but then you don’t want that in this game as you do have to think a bit with some, especially when it comes to those times your stats are changing because of an effect and you have to think quickly to keep the current king alive.
There is the option to have ‘voiceover’ on or not, though it’s the kind of voiceover that reminds me of the grown up in the Peanuts cartoons, not the exact sound but the idea of noises that have a bit of change in pitch and tone that sound like they could be words but are just sounds, if that makes sense. It does work with the game, it somehow fits the simpler art style to me. Other options include changing the screen size, there’s a good range of options in there, music and SFX volumes and the language. This is available in a range of languages so if English isn’t your first language then it’s worth checking out the Steam page to see if your first language is one of the options, it does have a list on the right.
The gameplay in this is fun, it’s got a nice, simple look and the idea is easy to understand so it doesn’t take long to pick up what you’re meant to be doing. It’s definitely one that I think a lot of people will get to pop in and out of to play but you can lose time to it. The fact that you die pretty quickly (or at least I do) means you have quick five minute, or less, games sometimes and you can pick it up with a whole new adventure next time. I like how you can see the kings from the past, some of them have names depending on a major decision or milestone you reached in their reign, and seeing how short some of the reigns are (I think my least is two years) and how many kings you can go through quickly is a nice touch. It’s a bit like the history timelines we used to do at school, complete with little pictures of fights and things in the art style of the game.
If you like decision making games where the decisions actually do effect the gameplay in the future then this might be a game to check out, especially at £1.99. It’s a fun game that I think fans of roleplaying games might like as a bit of a quick game to play every so often. Fans of games set in the time with dragons, werewolves and witches might find it worth checking out too. I think it definitely lends itself to the mobile gaming market more as you can have it on your phone or tablet and play it while you’re waiting for a bus or something. I am definitely considering getting it as a mobile app as well, maybe I’ll be more successful earlier on then.
The DLC is what makes this the ‘Collectors Edition’ which seems a bit of a stretch name wise but then everything has a collectors edition now it seems. You get a digital booklet that’s 24 pages, the OST and an interactive OST, not that I have actually got that to work so I’m not sure what makes it interactive as it seems the files just play like the OST.
The main problem I have with this DLC is how hard it is to find! I had to Google how to find it and it wasn’t easy, it was originally posted in the forums by a few different people but I thought I’d include it in here in case anyone else has found this review through a similar search, also why I’m doing this bit in bold so it’s easy to find:
How to find the DLC: follow these when you’ve opened the file browser (or whatever it’s called on your version of windows)
This PC > (C:) > Program Files (x86) > Steam > steamapps > common > Reigns
Sorry I don’t know for Macs but if you know where to find your steamapps folder the common part should be the same. I do have a Mac so if I get Steam working on there again I’ll edit to add how you find it in here too if I figure it out.
Onto the review of the actual DLC, though the soundtrack is already covered and I can’t get the interactive bit to work so I guess this is mainly a review of the booklet. I do actually like it, I’m sure that if it was a physical one I’d probably have paid the extra for it as I do like the art style of the game. Most of the book is art, there are pages with quotes from famous people that fit with the idea of the game or the idea on the page. The whole booklet is a black background so, although you can print it out if you want, it would take a lot of ink to do print it all.
One page, page 3, looks like a lot of nonsense or like some kind of encrypted text and I guess it is in a way but it’s in English. You just have to read it vertically and then from right to left and it explains a bit about the game and why it was made like it is. The booklet also includes music for the minstrel’s song and four pages that can be printed and used as cards with the back and front though I’m not sure what for. There’s one page that reminds me of something we used to make when I was younger where you have two images on either side of a piece of paper, have a stick in the middle and twirl it so they sort of overlap each other, no idea if that’s what it’s meant for but I might print it off and try it anyway. Looking through I think that one of the pages shows all of the symbols for the ongoing effects, like the barn or the heart which are used for those times when you have status effects that work for multiple turns. I haven’t had them all so I’m not sure but I think that’s it.
Basically you get 24 pages of extras for the game, as you’d expect, though most of them the extra part is the art rather than any tips or anything behind the scenes really. I like it, I think it’s worth the 79p it is on its own, and have saved it in a place that’s much easier to find for if I want to look at it in the future. It isn’t a book full of tips or any lore for the world but art and some little Easter Eggs I guess is one way of describing it with the minstrels music and what I think is the list of the outcomes for the dice game in the order of how good they are. I guess that could be considered a tip kind of thing if that’s what it is but it’s basically the highest wins. It’s a nice extra but nothing that’s going to help you with the game. There is a walkthrough available on the Apple App Store if you want one, though I don’t think it’s an official one given the app publisher so not sure how good it is.
I think that the DLC is nice, I’m not sure I’d buy it knowing the soundtrack and the fact I can’t get the interactive bit to work, maybe I’ll work it out and edit this review later if it’s amazing. I do think that the booklet is worth it if you like little extras and the art of the game. Maybe it would be best to buy the game on its own and then decide if you want these. I don’t think there’s any real benefit to getting it all in one go apart from having it from the start. It’s easy to find the part where it’s optional to download the DLC so I’d recommend that. The game is great, just wait and see how much you like the music before getting the DLC rather than going for the Collector’s Edition straight away unless it’s to support the developers and if so then great, go ahead.