Swipe right to rule the world. Reigns is what happens when you turn Tinder-like gestures into a 'Choose-your-own-adventure' game.
Her Majesty is the sequel to one of our favourite games of 2016. This follow-up retains the swiping and interactive storytelling of the original, but the set up is different: this time you’re a Queen during the French Revolution.
With every swipe, you have to balance the four pillars in your kingdom – your cashflow, military power, your subjects’ wellbeing and the churches’ influence. Every decision you make affects these elements in some way, so to survive as Queen you’ll need to stop any of them from failing. Or, indeed, becoming too powerful and overthrowing you as monarch.
Like the first game, there’s lashings of humour in here, but in Her Majesty there’s a greater focus on social commentary, courtesy of lead writer Leigh Alexander. When Reigns creator Francois Alliot approached the well-known games and culture journalist to pen this new game, she jumped at the chance.
“The story of a queen was too much to pass up,” she tells us. “I specialise in feminist activism and have a lot opinions on women in technology and women under capitalism, so I can inject some of that into the game.”
That shift to a female lead has changed the focus and nature of the narrative, says Alexander. “Reigns was more of a kingdom management sim; less about life and relationships,” she tells us. “You don’t have to have a crown on your head to affect things socially and politically and make your mark on the world.”
Where Reigns forced you into making decisions about your kingdom, in Her Majesty you make more personal decisions around who you are as queen and the nature of your relationship with the king.
“We’re trying to focus on the feeling people get in emotional labour roles,” says Alexander. “Trying to keep everything in balance and keep a favourable impression of yourself, but not alienating others in the process.”
It’s a shift in focus that has resulted in a sequel that’s sharper, funnier and more varied than its much-loved predecessor. And with a central mechanic that’s so simple to use, there’s no excuse not to start swiping right now.