‘Reigns: Her Majesty’ lets you rule as Queen and slyly addresses gender roles

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With all of the dating apps available out there, we’ve become used to the act of swiping left or right. But what if it was applied to actual gaming as well? This week, we have an app that will put those swipes to the test in an effort to rule with dignity.

Reigns: Her Majesty‘ — available on iOS and Android — is the sequel to last year’s ‘Reigns.’ This time around, you’ll still have to make important decisions that could alter your dynasty, along with your reputation on the throne. But now you’ll get to experience it from a different point of view — as Queen.

The main controls of the game involve swiping left or right through a deck of cards. At the top, you’ll have a specific question asked by a character within the land, and then two options to choose from. Similar to any dating app, swiping to the left brings you to a negative action or response and swiping to the right is the positive option.

Although I hadn’t played the original ‘Reigns,’ I was interested to see the different issues that would occur with being the Queen. It was refreshing to see that the game highlighted the controversial portrayals of women in power — having to choose between making necessary, strict, requests but also remaining calm and maintaining a smile.

As Queen, you have to be able to make the appropriate calls when it comes to issues such as raising taxes or abolishing alcohol. You’ll also be asked for favors, which, if you accept, could possibly end in death. When I agreed to help “my” people in need, I actually ended up being crushed to death by the crowd. Thankfully, you’re able to start over to perhaps use a bit more strategy next time.

Many of the cards definitely make you think deep into gender roles. There are cards that ask you to smile, and even ones with comments on your physical appearance. Not only do you have to manage an entire kingdom, but you also have to take into account your reputation, which adds an extra layer to the game.

There were times when I was criticized for having too many wrinkles, and other times where I would also be caught “gossiping too much.” I was also yelled at for being too ruthless — which apparently people dislike as well. Also, who knew it was so important to perform the Coronation Rite correctly?

The interface is aesthetically pleasing, with a cartoonish style that’s charming and fun to sort through. Even those who aren’t familiar with Reigns will find that it’s easy to get the hang of it. The game doesn’t require having a lot of background knowledge in order to successfully play through it. The rather strange sound effects heard while playing also make it that much more entertaining.

The more reincarnations you experience — each time it’s game over — the more you’ll get used to making snap decisions. But the choices do weigh more than you think they do. In the beginning, I swiped left and right only trying to get a reaction out of the people, but quickly realized each swipe of a card determines your fate, even in the smallest way possible.

The game is definitely addicting, not only because you want to prove that the Queen can rule as successfully as the King and still be respected, but because you quickly want to be able to grasp the concept of making the correct choices that will advance you to ultimately comple the game.

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