I’ve played as black and white mages, an explorer running through a temple, even a massive Big Daddy. Of all the personas I’ve taken on through videogames, Royals was the first time I played a peasant looking to make it big in the medieval world.
Royals is a 1-bit black and white computer game developed by Asher Vollmer. The simulation game is more complex than it appears and can easily cause loss of time. The game has a pay what you want option, and is available for PC and Mac.
Vollmer is an American indie game developer known for his games like Puzzlejuice and Threes.
The “optimistic peasant simulator” is Vollmer’s first game to be developed entirely by himself; all the programming, art, and music himself. According to Vollmer’s site, there’s a secret in the game, but it doesn’t seem like anyone knows what it really is. Players use the z,x, and arrow keys to move their peasant to different squares on the map and select actions from the menu.
The game follows the classic rags to riches story: start as a peasant and move your way up to being royalty. The player starts out in a field within a small map, and moving around reveals more locations. Desserts, woods, inns, and other square plots allow for actions such as logging, ransacking, and converting people to join you on your way.
Each task takes up the span of a year if done by the peasant, while making decisions for followers can be done within that turn. Most - if every - task takes a year or two off your lifespan. In order to gain some back, resting in fields, inns, or houses built by yourself are options.
Achieving the end goal is harder than it seems. I myself have only lived to be about 27 years old - mind you, I haven’t seen any other players getting any higher than 40 years, and the starting age is 12. Angering the monarchy, fighting knights, ransacking inns, and converting loyalist without proper preparation and rest probably played a part in it too.
The nice thing about the game is that every game starts out with slight changes in the map. More forests, less deserts, but always the same farmland. It keeps things interesting and forces the player to think about what moves to make.
I’m not sure if the game has an ending, but what I am sure of, is I’ll be spending a lot of time trying to make it to the top.