“Do you work at Build-a-Bear? Because I’d love to stuff you”, isn’t usually the first thing I choose to say to someone when I have just met them. It turns out however, not everyone adopts this same level of restraint. I mean, yeah sure, sometimes “Hello” can get a bit samey, but replacing it with, “Are you a dictator? Because there’s a political uprising in my pants”, all seems a bit inappropriate…Unless that is, you’re immersed in the world of dating apps, when suddenly, all this sort of thing (and more) somehow becomes acceptable.

And if you’ve had the smug pleasure of never experiencing the world of such sites, let me enlighten you. Firstly, (as a female seeking a male) you’ll be barraged by a cornucopia of profile images which fall into a few, but very specific categories:

  • Blurry face on pillow.
  • Quick selfie in the pub toilets.
  • Close-up pic where an ex has been badly cropped out.
  • And randomly (but alarmingly frequent): ‘here’s me and my massive fish’ (and that’s not a euphemism).

Dating apps, it turns out, provide a terrifying window into the world of the general public – when they’re at their most drunk and most horny. They pout, gurn, send terrible chat-up lines and if you dare to actually meet them – be warned. They tell you things like, “I like going to owl sanctuaries,” while staring at you in a way that doesn’t say “I like going to owl sanctuaries”, but in fact says, “I sometimes like to steal people’s kidneys”. Done well, I’m sure this can be alluring but if kidneys are your thing and you want to hang on to yours, this sorta thing probably won’t float your boat.

However, this all being said – I didn’t say being able to swipe your thumb of judgement across someone’s face wasn’t mildly satisfying – a quick HELL NO! here and a WTF HAVE YOU COME AS!? there, et voilà! All is well with the world.

And if you’re looking for the Tinder-esque experience without the hassle of having your soul sucked dry of any last remaining hope for humanity, then may I present to you: Reigns.

Released in August, Reigns is available on Android, iOS and Steam, and follows the same swipe left for no, right for yes, format as Tinder but instead of choosing a potential mate, you are a medieval king trying to cultivate a happy and thriving kingdom while ultimately avoiding death. Get too rich, too poor, too revered or too loathed and it will all go wrong. Oh, and a word of advice – don’t p*ss off the church either.

In the game, you are faced with a queue of cards, each with a character on them who brings you a dilemma – one that is complex enough for you to ponder, but at the same time simple enough that you can answer in binary form like some sort of children’s TV character from the 70s. With each swipe, a year passes and the aim is to reign for as long as you can.

You also get given certain objectives along the way – a bit like when you were younger and your mum sent you out for a loaf of bread after school except this time, when you trek back down the cul-de-sac, she’ll expect you to have fallen in love, tricked the devil and seen the future – all before EastEnders starts (looks down at loaf of Hovis and weeps).

The dilemmas start off pretty open and sometimes you get set mini side quests where you partake in a little light fencing or dungeon exploring. You can usually tell when you’re about to die however as you see your grip on what started off as a seemingly harmless event, loosen – usually when a pack of wolves starts killing everyone inside the city gates – oops.

The game itself is easy to play and has a really charming sense of humour and it turns out, even though my reign as Harry the Lover or indeed William the Coward was fairly short, I enjoyed my time on the throne.

 

“We should systematically blame the Islander migrants for everything that’s wrong in the kingdom” suggests Junius Loosetongue, the jester.

“Yes,” I respond, and continue blissfully unaware of what lurks on the next card.

It’s Lord Parker, who says he needs a small army of badass soldiers for a classy coup in the far east.

“Yes,” I respond (already you can see, when it comes to role playing, I’m not destined for much more than chorus member number three at a push, but you get the gist).

 

Tried it? Can’t reign for more than 16 years at a time? Then you’re not alone.

Apart from a few fluke sessions, I found reigning for longer than around 20 years pretty difficult so if you’re topping anything above 30 then I doff my hat to you. Not to worry however – if you die, you come back instantly as the successor and start again.

 

Noob vs Reigns – can it be done?

Technically this game can be played by stray cat that’s been momentarily distracted by a laser pen. Yes, it can be done.

 

Noob vs Online Dating – can it be done?

A week with Tinder made me want to pierce my own eyeballs.

However, whether I will ever be successful with online dating remains to be seen. Until then, I will continue under the guise of King Edward and stride blindly on with my two-word vocabulary and terrifying lack of worldly knowledge.

All hail the king!