Steam is such a huge ocean of games now that it’s almost impossible to be noticed if you’ve just launched a game on that platform. It’s always pleasantly surprising when a gem washes to the surface thought especially given how many clones and trash games get launched there daily. I found that despite coming out in 2020, Yes, Your Grace was getting a beta and being the inquisitive fool that I am, signed up straight away. It’s always a little odd when single player video games have betas. You’re essentially getting a timed demo of a game that will likely launch similar to how you play it on release and you’re also providing ad hoc user testing for a team before launch. Usually I’d be raising an eyebrow at this method but Yes, Your Grace is so bloody good that it doesn’t matter.
If you have ever turned to your smart phone to play a game in the last few years then chances are you’ve already played the 2016 smash hit that is Reigns. If you have then you will be more than ready for Yes, Your Grace. Each turn of a week in game-time gives you a handful of choices and you will need to balance your resources before they go into the negative and you’re unceremoniously dethroned. Unlike games such as Reigns the balance of resources in Yes, Your Grace is a lot easier to manage. You will find that you need to make sure the keep is stocked with gold, food stores, a healthy army size and population happiness but the choices you make will very rarely feel unfair or unpredictable. For example; If you never help your citizens out and focus on your own family, ignoring all of the peasants issues or disasters in their lives you can expect the obvious to occur;
It’s not all resource management though and what really sets Yes, Your Grace apart from other management games is the interaction and progression of the story. You are a king with a loving wife and three daughters, one of whom is now old enough to be married, one who is old enough to get in trouble and one who’s old enough to enjoy having a pet snail. It’s the snippets of their lives you see throughout the days that (so far) give the story its richness. You can also send out generals on tasks as independent missions that span longer than a week or take care of separate tasks. It is a little annoying that generals are sent in groups, it is possible to split them up but only by sending one on a mission that only requires one general first. It’s a minor detail but in the full game you’ll be able to send out witches and hunters. This was only hinted at in the beta.
There were obvious limits to the beta and although you can progress the story to a particularly big bombshell moment it will end on a delicious cliffhanger regardless of your choices. Unlike the TellTale structure of choice though the effects and changes are more subtle and personally I found the repeated playthroughs more interesting for it. Yes, Your Grace makes it very clear when an option is a key story point and non-negotiable and when it’s flexible to your answer. You can send out pidgin messages to allies and in the beta only 2 can be called one of which is a fixed story point. What you end up with is a surprisingly interesting short story where the eventual outcomes add a lot more weight than expected.
Obviously this is a beta so in the full title it might be too big a story to loop around and see the changes but even in the first run I was delighted by the result. There are little nods and nudges in the writing to help you navigate your decisions and it all flows really well. The quality of Yes, Your Grace flows through from the writing into everything about it; Animation quality is astounding and some of the little details in the pixel art are brilliant. There are no voices at this time but the sounds are nice and there is some great music. At the moment Yes, Your Grace really is looking and sounding like a great title.
From the very start of Yes, Your Grace you’re dropped in at the deep end; At the dawn of a huge battle. Just before it starts you’re dragged to a title screen back to the distant past to show the lead up to it. Typically an annoyingly lazy trick in narration but here it’s used perfectly as it’s a brilliant setup to help you navigate the months leading up to war and makes the player aware of what to prioritize and what is most important. You can easily spend a lovely day clicking on visitors, giving your decisions, exploring locations around the castle to interact with characters, resting and seeing how it all turns out.
Lets just hope the full game is worthy of its shiny crown.
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