Reigns: Beyond

Review: Reigns: Beyond

I’m a huge fan of almost anything sci-fi. Please give me some spaceships, lasers, heck, even intergalactic trade federations will work from time to time!

A Reigns game is heading to the stars with Reigns: Beyond for the first time in the franchise’s history. This iteration of the swipe-left-or-right roguelike conversation sim brings some new ideas, more fun and wacky characters, and at least one mechanic that breaks up some of the monotony.

What Differentiates Reigns: Beyond

As I mentioned, the Reigns franchise has been going on for some time, dating back to 2016. Most recently, I had a chance to play Reigns: Three Kingdoms, but unfortunately, I was disappointed. I’d read and heard great things about these games; I was worried that Beyond could also be a letdown.

I’m happy to report that the repetitive nature of the previous game is unseen mainly here, and the characters themselves were far more charismatic and exciting to me.

As with previous Reigns titles, the card-based system remains. Conversations and decisions branch out depending on what you say. It can be as simple as a “yes” or “no” answer or a more complex one that could take you on an exciting side quest-like adventure. Outside of that, though, Reigns: Beyond brings more to the table.

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First and foremost, the story and characters. You wake up on a ship unsure of who you are or how you got there. The craft’s AI speaks to you, filling in some of the blanks and telling you The Sandman is a powerful vessel that needs a capable crew. So off you go, finding a rag-tag group of space travellers.

Quickly, things get weird, but in a good way. You’re the leader of a band. An intergalactic and universe-jumping rock band playing shows to make money and get by on your quest of…well, I’m not quite sure, but that’s ok!

Here is where Reigns: Beyond adds even more to the series formula. The game diverts from the conversational swiping gameplay to a simple rhythm game. I’ll admit up front that it’s not all that involved or even challenging, but at least it’s a good change of pace! Using just the joystick, your guitar will weave its way through a psychedelic wormhole of hearts and music, playing to the crowd. The better you do, the more cash you make.

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At times, I found myself thinking, “Wait, what the heck am I even playing right now!?” There is so much weirdness happening in all the right ways. Relationships, music numbers, respawning with an AI ship, talking bears and sharks in space… I loved it!

Characters and Universes Worth Exploring

No matter who you’re speaking to, Reigns: Beyond has something to discover or at least think about. There are tons of characters and potential storylines to keep track of; thankfully, many of them will pick up where you left off if you find yourself obliterated into space at the end of a run.

There’s a talking shark who becomes your manager, the ship’s AI, your bandmates, roadies, and more. Each has goals and background that you have a hand in playing out. I loved the way each of them was written. Some conversations were slightly repetitive, but I didn’t find it to be a tiresome experience.

On top of that, there is a large map and set of systems for you to explore. Some might only have traders or merchants, but others will have you stumbling across pirates, aliens, powerful government-like forces, and gigs for your band to play. The majority of them are unique, with some repeat scenarios that only look slightly different.

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Verdict

I’m happy to report that this Reigns game is a vast improvement over the previous one I played. While the battle mechanics in Three Kingdoms were much more complex than the musical numbers here in Reigns: Beyond, what was offered here was deeper in every other way.

If you’re in the mood for an easy pick-up-and-play roguelike with some super funny and wacky characters, Beyond is the perfect place to play, especially at a price under $10!

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: Switch

Reigns: Beyond
Review: Reigns: Beyond
Summary
Reigns: Beyond brings together a wonderfully wacky cast of characters and a space adventure ready to rock! The simplified mechanics leave space for a story and universe that's a blast to explore.
Liked
Art style and music are great
Funny and interesting characters
Music and band storyline is a fun and unique
Didn't Like
Some repetitive scenarios and dialogue choices
Mechanics can feel TOO simple after a while