When I first downloaded Reignman($0.99) by Winturn Games I wasn’t really sure if I liked it. I only played for ten minutes before closing the app and moving on to another game. Later, I started thinking about it again, wondering why I had put it down so quickly. After all, it is exactly the genre of game I usually love and review. So I decided to give it another go, opened the app up and started playing again.
Boy I am glad I did. On my second look I realised this game is awesome. It has all the same qualities of your card based dungeon games, yet Reignman offers a different way to play your cards in battles. Your cards are placed randomly on a four by five grid and you slide them horizontally and vertically to attack.
It’s surprising how much difference one small change like sliding the heroes can make to the roguelike or battle card genre. While the game play is not hard to pick up and understand there is loads of depth to explore. As you slide, both yourself (the blue team) and your AI opponent (the red team) attack. If you slide to the right the second card attacks the first and if there is a third it attacks the second. You want to score as many attacks on the red cards while receiving as little damage in return. This is how the need for strategy comes into the game.
Sometimes you have no choice and need to make a move letting red team attack to get your self in position to attack back. To win a battle you need to destroy all of your opponents cards while at the same time keeping enough of your cards in play for the next battle. The cards destroyed during a previous battle do not regenerate before the next battle, you do however, get heroes as rewards at the end of the battle.
To begin the game you select which type of hero you want to attract more of, Melee, Ranged, Magic or no preference. You then have normal battles, epic battles, treasure chests and surprise encounters to improve your heroes. There is also a camp you can stop at to rest. At the camp you can spend gold to recruit, revive, train, and heal your heroes. The price of each thing goes up as you use it so it’s a good idea to mix it up, recruit a couple of heroes and resurrect a couple, making a bigger team for less gold.
In between camps you can change the line up of your team before each battle, heroes who do not see combat for a turn heal some of their hitpoints. Which is a handy way to get some healing on a hero so you can use them again without losing them straight away. Of course, if you lose all the heroes before the healing one it will join the fight even with low health.
You are offered choices of where to go next and your path through the chapter and up to the boss fight changes depending on which area you chose. You can use this to your advantage and scroll ahead, making sure you are on the right path to hit a chest or camp if you need one.
Perhaps one of the easiest things to understand in Reignman is the stats of the heroes, which you will find at the bottom of the cards. Health, attack and defense, the heart shows the number of hitpoints is the amount of damage you can take. The sword is your attack and shows how much damage you will do in one attack, while the shield is your defense and shows how much damage you take before it starts to take life off your hero. Some cards break shields, or add shields, so the number will change, but it helps to watch the numbers when you are working out where to slide.
I will admit the sliding function takes a little getting use to, it is the factor leading to my first attempt to play being so short. Once you get the hang of it and understand how it is a little bit deeper than simply swiping from side to side and relying on luck you find yourself drawn into the game and playing it for long stretches of time.
There is a small element of luck involved, what stages you have ahead of you and where your cards are arranged on the board can affect how well you do in a round or overall. Strategy is still definitely needed much more than simple luck. You will be asking yourself endless questions:
- Which cards are you going to send in first?
- Which moves on the board see you taking the least damage?
- Which path sees you get to a camp in time?
- Are you going to revive or recruit at the next camp?
- At a temple is health, defense or attack more important to choose?
- Do you want your heroes to have higher health or attack?
Every choice you make is going to move you further along or Reign down (mwahaha) terrible consequences for your band of heroes. You will undoubtedly make the wrong decision more than once, yell at the phone and walk away in disgust, but then you will come back, knowing you can do better.
This is what Reignman offers, it creeps up on you and worms its way into your psyche. You will second guess every decision and be thinking about what you will do differently in the next game. It is a great roguelike with elements of RPG, but it is different as well. Strong stats are not going to see you win without failure, you need to think carefully, plan your path, arrange your heroes and slide them across the board with forethought and care. After you have done all of that, cross your fingers and toes, and hope you don’t run out of luck.