PC fantasy kingdom sim Majesty should have been an unmitigated disaster - it took a vibrant world filled with monsters, magic, and mayhem and made you its brave and gallant... accountant.
It took away all control and only allowed you to watch helplessly as your heroes were made or broken by their, at times, infuriating AI, leaving you instead to tender the stalls and employ the tax collectors back home.
But as Will Wright, creator of The Sims, would tell you, one underestimates the power of voyeuristic fascination with the lives of tiny people at their own risk in the video game industry.
Everything old is new again
Majesty’s Android incarnation manages a convincing diorama of the original’s mechanics that very few mobile outings of established franchises can boast.
The game still revolves around your heroes, a motley bunch of money-grubbing mercenaries who lounge around in the Guild premises until you pay them to scout and bother monsters for you.
An elegant finger-friendly building placement system makes tapping up a city a straightforward affair, but there's no way of queuing up heroes for training like in the PC version, which makes things a little more cumbersome than they should be.
I’m holding out for a dozen Heroes, actually
Babysitting heroes and keeping them alive long enough to become experienced, and therefore useful, is where the meat of the gameplay lies.
Since you won’t be controlling heroes directly, the only way you can intervene in their battles is through a magical arsenal of direct intervention, including healing and combat spells.
The cartoony visual style fits right in with the theme. Tiny details in building animations and inspired visual flourishes sprinkled about make Majesty very easy on the eyes, despite the relatively tiny UI text.
If only the technical side was so inspired, as Majesty is definitely not above crashing and taking your save games with it. It’s also a bit on the short side, though the publisher says more content is on the way.
I just flew in from Ardania and boy, are my arms tired
There's definitely some eastern bloc charm at work throughout the game, mainly thanks to the creative usage of the English language. If anyone can understand why you’re protecting trolls and what their relationship is to traders in the fifth mission, please let us know.
But while that’s offset to some extent by an actual honest to goodness environmental storytelling effort and attempt at narrative consistency, the writers have managed to kill one of the pillars of what made Majesty work in the first place - the humour.
Hello Ranger the Ranger and Scribe the Wizard, goodbye Kornan the Barbarian and Hrex of Big Trees. You will be sorely missed.
Majesty on Android may have lost some of the charm in its expansion to a new mobile kingdom, but those looking for a unique, if short, twist on the mobile strategy genre can't go too far wrong with this royal family.An expanded version of Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim is now available on iPhone and iPad. [£1.99/$2.99]