reigns

A kingdom management game in the style of Tinder

You’ll know how addictive swiping can be if you’ve ever downloaded Tinder. Yes, the dating app does encourage you to be shallow (like, really shallow), but the simple choice of swipe-left or swipe-right really speeds you through prospective dates. It’s the appeal of quick decisions and minimal complexity, save the occasional tap to see more photos or—if the semi-anonymous subject is really lucky—the coveted (read: creepy) SuperLike.

To some extent, Tinder has the same appeal as endless runners—swipe-up, swipe-down—in its repetition, though it trades leaping between buildings for leaping between college guys who think salmon shorts make them look slick. Though the comparison to endless runners may soon become out of date as it seems the creators of Tinder have accidentally encouraged game designers to borrow that swipe and do something bigger with it.

mashes up Tinder’s satisfying swiping with something a bit more surprising

Enter Reigns, an upcoming mobile title that mashes up Tinder’s satisfying swiping with something a bit more surprising: the monarchy. Reigns, like the title suggests, is about being a king. This king in particular has a lot of decisions to make. That’s where the swiping mechanic comes in: you swipe cards left or right to decide how to legislate your kingdom. Through this simple action, you are able to moderate warring factions, keep your people happy, and most importantly, solidify your rule.

In some situations the cards resemble something more like a text-adventure game (kick the door/open the door), but in other instances you’re making huge decisions that impact everyone under your rule, all with the flick of one royal finger.

Since failure to appease the masses means the king is out, the end goal of Reigns is to create a lasting dynasty. Though one monarch may get beheaded for pulling a Marie Antoinette and letting them eat cake, his heir can swoop in and try to pick up the pieces. The task of balancing such volatile factors is best experienced in the long-term, and some effects will echo through generations—another charming example of old people ruining it for the rest of us. If Granddad Louis 6.5 was a beloved sovereign all the better, but if not, you’re on your own.

Reigns is already getting attention: it was shortlisted for “Use of Narrative” at the Develop Awards 2016 alongside the likes of The Witcher 3 (2015) and Her Story (2015), and has been showcased at festivals such as Game Happens, Feral Vector, and Now Play This. Don’t worry, you won’t have to wait long for your own micro-kingdom. Reigns will be out August 11th.

Reigns will be available on iOS, Android, and Steam.

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