For some reason, many countries still have kings, queens, and the like, even though the days of monarchy rule are long behind us. At this point, they could be considered relics of a governing system that fell out of use for one reason or another. That being said, the fantasy of being a king, queen, or other ruling entity is still very strong among us commoners, which is why we rely on video games to live out such fantasies. Thus, we have Yes, Your Grace, a game by Noodlecake which takes a surprisingly real and social look at the duties and personal life of the one in charge. It's a point-and-click management game for mobile that is more absorbing than you might think.
Typically, in games where you play a ruler of some kind will try to have them be a blank slate so that you can better insert yourself into the role. Yes, Your Grace is quite upfront about how you're not the king, you're playing as a certain King. Specifically, you are Eryk, king of the land of Davern who is doing his best to provide for his people while trying to keep his house in order.
The big looming of the day is the kingdom of Radovia led by a barbarian leader known as Talys who is coming for something that Erky promised him in his younger and stupider days. Therefore, it becomes your job to help Erky make decisions for his kingdom and his family all while trying to raise an army big enough to protect him from his bad decisions.
Running a kingdom is without a doubt one of the most stressful jobs in the world which is why it can be difficult to make it a fun experience. Yes, Your Grace has managed to do just that without adding too much pressure. Although the subject matter is serious and feels very present, it's conveyed in such a way that everything seems possible. The colourful and animated pixel art relieves some of the pressure as well as the dialogue you can have with recurring characters that can be both light-hearted and emotional, reminding you that sometimes the most important things are right at home.
Mechanically speaking, the gameplay is pretty smooth for a point-and-click affair. It seems almost like this game was made to be on a touchscreen since you can move between scenes very quickly. Each of the main areas is large enough to contain multiple details and characters, but small enough to easily explore thoroughly and leave at the drop of a crown. Eryk himself has to be one of the fastest-walking kings in gaming history. You could say it helps convey his sense of urgency of which he has plenty considering all the issues that are thrown at him at once.
The fact that Eryk's door is open to everyone speaks volumes as to who he is as a person and a leader, but you get to decide what kind he is of each. There's also the challenge of managing your very finite resources and personnel not just during the day but in between them as well. Mix that in with the fact that Eryk has three daughters all going through very different phases in their lives, and you've got a recipe for a layered character who you want to help "keep it together".
It's not just enough for a king to make hard decisions, he needs to be aware of why they're hard decisions and understand that there will be negative consequences and that he'll be to blame. Yes, Your Grace made some difficult design decisions and they haven't all turned out for the better. The most troubling is how petitioners are addressed. They will line up and you can call them up in any order you want, but you won't know what they want until you do.
It can also be confusing to find important stuff while exploring the castle and be told who to talk to, but the actual conversation won't start until the next day. You can get used to it, but that doesn't stop it from breaking the flow of logic and reason.
Yes, Your Grace is a 2D pixel-art point-and-click management game about running a kingdom and looking after your family. A lot of effort has gone into fleshing out the king in multiple roles while balancing personal issues with kingdom concerns in a serious but still enjoyable way. The lack of information creating artificial difficulty in decision-making is bothersome and forced cycles for narrative progression can be annoying, but it doesn't overshadow the experience. Given some time, you'll become invested and find yourself saying "Yes" to your grace.