[Nintendo Switch] Reigns: Three Kingdoms Review

by EdEN, Owner

Reigns: Three Kingdoms from Devolver Digital and Nerial takes the roguelike series into Romance of the Three Kingdoms territory. Are you ready? Find out more in our Reigns: Three Kingdoms review!

Reigns: Three Kingdoms from Devolver Digital and Nerial takes the roguelike series into Romance of the Three Kingdoms territory. I previously got a chance to review Reigns: Kings and Queens on Nintendo Switch, which brought us the original release as well as its expansion. As expected, Reigns: Three Kingdoms takes the core gameplay mechanics of Reigns and applies them to the aforementioned setting as you take on the final years of the Han Dynasty.

Reigns: Three Kingdoms Review - 1

A big chunk of your time will be spent as you swipe left or right to make choices that will impact your future. Start at the bottom as a simple beggar and make the best decisions possible to climb the social ladder. Will that be enough for you to rule one of the 14 regions of China? Do you have what it takes to unify warring factions? Death is part of the cycle since you won’t be able to make a ton of progress during each run since you can die at any moment if you make a couple of wrong choices along the way.

You start your journey in the present day and dive back in time to take on the memories of an ancestor, thanks to Synaptic Insight Technology Systems. Yes, that does sound a lot like how things are handled by the long-running Assassin’s Creed franchise. Once you travel back in time, you’ll arrive on the 10th day of October, 183. A villager asks if you’re OK and if you’ve hit your head. Since you seem a bit hungry – you probably have that look on your face – he’ll also share some food with you.

Reigns: Three Kingdoms Review - 2

As for this one, the choices you make will directly impact one of the different resources displayed at the top of the screen: food, people, your army, and diplomacy. Be sure to keep an eye on these at all times so that you can learn how your decisions change their values. This is very important since you’ll be taking on the same sections over and over again due to the game’s roguelike nature.

Reigns: Three Kingdoms expands on the main Reigns formula by adding turn-based combat into the equation. For these battles, you’ll need to improve your odds of victory by recruiting more and more heroes to fight on your side. You’ll control four characters in combat, represented by cards that you can rotate to make the most of their different stats and abilities. Each card will have values for strength and health, and you need to balance your deck so that you can take on even the worst of odds.

Reigns: Three Kingdoms Review - Battle

When a battle begins, you’ll get to draft cards for the characters that will join you in combat. By interacting with each card before the fight begins, you’ll be able to check each character’s special ability – that is, if it has one! These include, for example, how your own character gains one extra point of strength with each attack or how a villager can, once removed, heal neighboring allies. If you’re happy with the draft you get, you can start the battle. If not, you have a chance to draw again.

Every single card will have two symbols that you should pay attention to. The arrow represents a unit’s strength, thus letting you know how much damage it will inflict when attacking other units. The heart symbol represents a unit’s total hit points. If a unit’s heart value reaches zero, then that unit will be removed from play. Each move will cost an action point – represented by a coin on the side of the screen. Run out of action points, and it will then be your opponent’s turn. To win a battle, you’ll need to be able to directly attack your opponent’s supplies to bring their number down to zero.

Since battles are going to play out not only as turn-based strategy sessions but also as puzzles due to some of the RNG nature of the game, there are a couple of options available for Reigns: Three Kingdoms so that gamers of all skill levels can have a shot at progressing further in the story. What are they? Well, you can decide to activate Easy battles so that you can make your way through each combat scenario without facing that big of a challenge or set things up so that you auto-win all battles.

Reigns: Three Kingdoms Review - 4

Reigns: Three Kingdoms takes the roguelike series into Romance of the Three Kingdoms territory. As you use the Synaptic Insight Technology Systems, you’ll be jumping back in time to take on the role of an ancestor back in the year 183 and onward. Learn more about the era, and explore how each choice that you make affects your longevity in a world in which a couple of bad decisions can lead to your death. Add card-based combat segments, and you have a game that expands on the Reigns formula while being faithful to its roots. Reigns: Three Kingdoms is out on Nintendo Switch with a low price of only $2.99, making it an easy one to recommend.

This Reigns: Three Kingdoms review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Devolver Digital.

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