I ruled from the Iron Throne in Reigns: Game of Thrones


Queen Sansa FTW

When it’s announced a popular television show or film is receiving its own mobile game, there’s usually no need for celebration. The App Store and Google Play are rife with the titans of entertainment turning a trick on smartphones for the seedy but lucrative microtransaction crowd. Just type in the name of any hit show or movie and chances are you’ll find at least one free-to-play clone ready for download. That’s certainly true of Game of Thrones. A quick search through Google Play brings up Game of Thrones: Conquest, a Game of War clone I won’t soon be adding to my phone. The video game industry’s failure to adequately capitalize on the Game of Thrones phenomenon has been something of a sore spot for me, one that will soon be soothed by the team at Nerial.

This October, the world of Westeros and the highly addictive game Reigns are crossing over for Reigns: Game of Thrones. Called a “swipe ‘em up,” Reigns: Game of Thrones takes the successful Tinder-like adventure storytelling and applies it to George R.R. Martin’s masterpiece. Instead of just controlling a single king or queen, players will help guide up to nine characters from the hit HBO series through everyday life as the ruler of the Iron Throne. Problems are presented to players and they’ll have to swipe left or right, depending on the option they choose, to advance the narrative. Make too many bad decisions and it’s off with their head. The Reigns series has always been a good reminder that being an adept ruler doesn’t always mean giving your subjects everything they want.

Reigns: Game of Thrones is set for release this October for iOS, Android, and PC, and will retail for $3.99. Devolver Digital sent over a preview build of the game and this may come as no surprise but Game of Thrones fits the Reigns formula like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle. So far I’ve helped guide Daenerys, Sansa, Jon Snow, and Tyrion through many moons of their reign, forming alliances and starting wars with the other factions of Westeros. The story is presented as a series of what-ifs as seen through the eyes of the red priestess Melisandre and the plot breaks away from that of the show.

So far in my adventures, I’ve pushed Sansa into a tavern fight, executed a member of my inner circle, waged war against the Lannisters, and discovered the secret Targaryen. Like Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty before it, Reigns: Game of Thrones has the same casual appeal that makes it perfect for informal gaming sessions, but with enough narrative rabbit holes to keep me swiping for the many moons of my reign. Each time I start up a new run, the story cards I’m presented are different from the time before keeping the experience resoundingly fresh. Publisher Devolver Digital is promising Reigns: Game of Thrones will be the deepest entry yet and the score by Ramin Djawadi will probably force me to restart my HBO Now account asap to catch up on the show and binge watch the entire series again.

Reigns: Game of Thrones is the exact type of mobile app I wish more television and film producers would aim for when they send their properties to smartphones. It’s smartly written and far more engaging than most any free-to-play game. If it proves successful, I’d love to see other HBO properties follow suit. I mean, who wouldn’t want to play Reigns: Veep or The Young Pope Tycoon.