Thursday, April 11

Review: Reigns - Game of Thrones [Nintendo Switch eShop]

The original Reigns and its sequel, both bundled together on Switch previously as Reigns: Kings and Queens, were an interesting taking on casual play. By pairing a simple Tinder-esque swipe left or right dynamic with a series of scenarios and tough decisions to be made as ruler of a kingdom it offered a number of challenges and surprises. Who knew that being in charge could be so difficult, needing to carefully base your decisions not just on your own moral leanings but the further you’d get into a given run it would often then get to be about keeping your various areas of concern in check. Now that same style of play has been unleashed on the world of Westeros, just in time for the debut of Game of Thrones final season.

The conceit is that you’re able to work through these scenarios through the help of the Melisandre, taking on the persona of a number of key figures of Westeros and seeing where the journey will take you. Initially you’ll only be able to work as Daenerys, but with some modest successes you’ll unlock new characters who you can then use to unlock additional ones and so on. Eventually you’ll have pretty well every power player from Arya Stark to Jon Snow to even the likes of Tyrion Lannister to choose from, inhabiting their world for as long as you’re able to last and almost constantly crossing paths with a variety of characters from the popular series.

So what the game then boils down to is slowly working through storylines, trying to complete the stated objectives, unlocking new characters and scenarios, and trying to determine the path that will take each character to their specific ending. While the novelty of it all, interacting with all of the different characters and feeling a bit like you’re a part of this fantasy world, is a lot of fun at first in order to see everything there’s going to inevitably be a bit of a trial and error grind phase as well. As has been clear in the show itself, the path to victory or even simple survival can be fraught with tragedy, backstabbing, and alliances of convenience aplenty so finding the path to success will take some doing and revisiting the same scenarios quite a bit in the end.

To the game’s credit there’s a ton of content to explore and digest and the fan service paid as a whole is commendable, the game likely could have found great success even without so much obvious effort at play. No doubt, if you’re not a fan of Game of Thrones and aren’t steeped in its various characters and turbulent history the majority of the content would be wasted on you, this is absolutely a game for fans looking for a way to become a part of this fictional world. Given the budget-friendly price of admission this really is a must-have title for Thrones fans and a brilliant pairing of an already smart game series with a very appropriate license.

Score: 8.5

  • An absolute ton of fan service for Thrones fans
  • Gameplay that’s easy to understand but can be challenging to survive
  • Provides a sort of window into the life of pretty well all major Westeros players

  • If you’re not steeped in the world of Game of Thrones the experience will be wasted on you
  • Unlocking and exploring everything will require some grinding to work everything out