If you are anything like me, you have a daydream of ruling a kingdom far from the monotony of this modern day living. You probably also have dreamed of a massive castle with a beautiful courtyard where your subjects and children can play while also providing you a peaceful place away from the mess of it all. Yes, Your Grace developed by Brave At Night, an up and coming company based in the United Kingdom, can scratch all those itches for you.
Yes, Your Grace has a compelling story line with surprisingly difficult decisions that lie within. Called “Anti-choice” and a game with “heavy choices”, this turn based game starts with the hardest choice of them all in the middle of an epic battle, to spare a deserter of your own kingdom of Davern and have them rejoin your ranks, or to show no mercy and slaughter your soldier in front of the others… you know, to show a “lesson”. What a light opening scene.
You quickly jump into a vivid story playing as King Eryk, the only playable character in the game. He is ruling a somewhat failing kingdom while trying to balance his life with a wife, a strong and loveable woman named Aurelea, and three daughters. Princess Lorsulia, the oldest daughter who is of age to marry, stubborn and sensitive. Princess Asalia, your second oldest, is a kick-ass sword fighter who is more than a little stubborn and free willed. And lastly, Princess Cedani who is a lover of animals, a wild card, and has her fair share of messes she can get you into.
Source: yes, your grace
Yes, Your Grace is, in the simplest terms, about a promise and a curse. You find out within the first few turns that King Eryk and Queen Aurelea promised a barbarian the hand of their eldest daughter, Princess Lorsulia… and he is coming to make good on that promise. A Princess marrying a Barbarian? Outrageous and unheard of, Eryk cannot let this happen. So he does what any King would do, he calls on another King. That is when you meet the lovely character, King Talys. He is a grumpy one who has no regards for Eryk or his family. In fact, Talys openly mocks and criticizes Eryk for almost every little thing you can imagine. Regardless, Eryk sets up an arranged marriage for his daughter Lorsulia in exchange for support in the upcoming war with the Barbarian King. All of that? Is just the beginning. How will the Kingdom of Davern survive under your guidance?
Yes, Your Grace plays as a turn-based game with every week equaling a turn. Each week has you deal out decisions to your subjects, call upon allies, send an agent out to explore territory or recruit subjects and much more. You must finish your tasks before the week can end. The map, while simple, is expansive, with plenty to do. Grant your subjects what they ask… or don’t, most of those choices have consequences. Help too much and you can run out of supplies and money. Help too little and your subjects will pay less in taxes (resulting in less supplies and gold at the end of the week) or just straight up revolt. Seems easy, right?
Calling upon Allies seems easy enough, until you start to realize not everyone gets along. You then must strategically fulfill or deny requests of these other monarchs in order to win their favor, which can also result in you losing someone else’s. This includes, arresting NPCs, setting up a trap, arranging a marriage, and even killing someone.
I had to fight every empathetic thought I had during the game and use strategy, and even then, I still ended up running out of supplies. The challenges you face as a King are never ending and making your subjects, allies, and family happy is more difficult than I could have ever imagined.
For a pixelated game, everything has so much thought and detail that I would buy prints of the landscape as a picture set for my game room to stare at wistfully. I have now played the game three times and I continue to pick up small details in the pixels of the character outfits and environment. With that being said, every little character emotion and reaction is portrayed so perfectly on the screen you forget that it’s pixelated at all!
Source: Screen Capture, Caitlin Rutz
Every character has their own special qualities about them, like every bit of their design was meant specifically for their personality. Each room has its own arura to the point where in the dungeon you feel damp and dark, but in the courtyard, you feel welcomed and comfortable. Truly this game was developed with a lot of thought. The bright colors and detail truly bring it all together.
You can’t have a beautiful atmosphere without having beautiful ambiance, right? The music throughout the game fits the emotion for every scene and every moment. When a task is completed and it ended with a happy outcome, you hear a positive tone, and when it’s negative, a small negative chime, but neither seem out of place amongst the music. It truly feels historic as you travel the halls of the castle of Davern.
When the characters speak, a voice mimics the sentence in the speech bubble. Every time I played, I tried to figure out what language, if any, the characters spoke. Part of me wanted to say some type of shortened German, though I’m sure they weren’t speaking any real language at all, it felt right in the context of the game.
Source: yes, your grace
I don’t want to give too much away, this game has so many twists and turns and unexpected guests that it is just worth playing, even if just to pass some time. I highly suggest looking into it and if you have Xbox Game Pass, it’s on there. As with every game, there are flaws, but the game continues to make a strong impact in spite of them. If you like Indie games, pixelated games, or are just dying to try ruling your own kingdom give Yes, Your Grace a shot. The level of strategy and quality of the narrative makes Yes, Your Grace a compelling title.
Developed by: Brave At Night
Published by: No More Robots
Yes, Your Grace released on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows on March 6, 2020