Reigns (video game)

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Reigns cover.jpg
Publisher(s)Devolver Digital
Designer(s)François Alliot
Programmer(s)François Alliot
Artist(s)Mieko Murakami
Writer(s)François Alliot
Microsoft Windows
Nintendo Switch
  • Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows
  • 11 August 2016
  • Nintendo Switch
  • 20 September 2018
  • Stadia
  • 22 December 2020

Reigns is a 2016 strategy game developed by Nerial and published by Devolver Digital. Set in a fictional medieval world, it places the player in the role of a monarch who rules the kingdom by accepting or rejecting suggestions from advisors. The game was released digitally for Android, iOS, Linux, macOS and Microsoft Windows in August 2016.

A sequel, titled Reigns: Her Majesty, in which the player acts as a queen consort, was released in December 2017. Reigns and its sequel were released for Nintendo Switch, under the collective title Reigns: Kings & Queens, in September 2018.[1] A third entry in the Reigns series, Reigns: Game of Thrones, was released in October 2018. A fourth game for Apple Arcade, titled Reigns: Beyond was released on 2020. A fifth game, titled Reigns: Three Kingdoms, is currently in development.[2]


Screenshot showing the player accepting the suggestion from "Gotfried Writhe" by swiping the card to the right

Assuming the role of a medieval king, the player swipes left or right on a card depicting an advisor, in order to accept or reject their suggestion. Each decision will have a consequence, changing the balance between the four pillars of the society: The church, the people, the military, and wealth. The king's reign ends whenever one of the four metric bars becomes full or empty, and the game continues with the player controlling their heir.[3][4] Various in-game events can also lead to the king's demise.

Throughout the course of the game, the player may experience different kinds of events, which are scripted or caused by the player's decisions. Such events can have one-time or recurring effects on the game, such as causing the death of the next advisor if their suggestion is rejected.[5]


The game was developed by London-based game studio Nerial. In an opinion piece published on Polygon, François Alliot, lead developer of the game, commented that the team wanted to "mock the way our societies tend to deal with complexity", citing Brexit as an example. The developers intended to make the player feel the disconnect between the simplicity of the "swipe" control scheme and the consequences their decisions lead to, which inevitably result in the king's demise at the end of each reign.[6]

The interactive soundtrack of the game, titled Songs of Reigns, is available on Steam.[7]


According to Metacritic, Reigns has garnered "generally favorable" reviews. Reviewers praised the simplicity of its control scheme, noting its similarity to the "Swipe" interface in social app Tinder.[10][3] However, Alex Hern from The Guardian found certain choices in the game "nonsensical", and of unclear consequences.[3] TouchArcade praised the scope of the title, saying it did a good job "making a game that’s inherently about simple binary decisions feel like something bigger". Rock Paper Shotgun enjoyed the way the player would change their approach as the game went on, "First time or two around, perhaps like me you'll be an idealist, striving to do whatever's best... My moral conscience eroded steadily over time, as my focus shifted to keeping the plates spinning".[12]

The game won the international competition at the 2017 Ludicious convention.[13] It was nominated for "Best Mobile Game" of Unity Awards 2016, and "Use of Narrative" of Develop Awards 2016.[14][15]


  1. ^ Romano, Sal (11 September 2018). "Reigns: Kings & Queens launches September 20". Gematsu.
  2. ^ "Reigns: Game of Thrones launching October 18th - Gamezebo". 23 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Hern, Alex (7 September 2016). "Reigns review: the medieval strategy game based on Tinder". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  4. ^ Tsukayama, Hayley (15 December 2016). "A app for reign-y days". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b Dotson, Carter (10 August 2016). "'Reigns' Review – Reign in Blood". TouchArcade. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  6. ^ Alliot, François (15 September 2016). "How we mixed Tinder and politics to make a premium hit on mobile". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Songs of Reigns: Interactive OST". Steam. Valve. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Reigns for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Reigns for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  10. ^ a b Slater, Harry (11 August 2016). "Reigns review – A strategy game mixed with Tinder". Pocket Gamer. Steel Media. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  11. ^ Allen, Jennifer (12 August 2016). "Reigns Review: Decisions, Decisions". Gamezebo. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  12. ^ Meer, Alec (8 September 2016). "Wot I Think: Reigns". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 16 June 2022.
  13. ^ "Reigns wins the International Competition at the Zurich Game Festival". Pocket Gamer. 28 January 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Unity Awards 2016 – Winners". Unity. Unity Technologies. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  15. ^ Batchelor, James (4 May 2016). "Develop Awards 2016: And the finalists are..." Develop. NewBay Media.

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