Do you want to build a kingdom? A lovely little kingdom? Well then you are in luck because King Eryk needs your help desperately. Not only will you get to solve the problems for all your people, you must juggle a family of wife and daughters. You know how this works though, oldest daughter needs to marry and you promised her hand to the wrong person. Yes, Your Grace by developer Brave at Night starts off with the King getting his army ready for battle. You don’t know why but you will soon find out.
Here you will manage a very tough situation. You can be a harsh and thick-headed ruler or you can show compassion along with fairness towards your people. What you can’t do is make such horrible decisions that it leads you down a path of certain doom. Balancing out what the people need and what your kingdom needs as a whole can be tricky. There is no way you can please everyone in Yes, Your Grace and if you try too much, well you will end up losing them eventually. If the money runs out, you lose. If the food runs out, you lose. If your people are not happy enough then you better hope that you have a lot of food and money because they will come for you.
The kingdom management works well for the most part as you must solve as many problems within your kingdom as possible. Your people will bring their problems before you and then you will be given some options to choose from on how to solve said problem. Not all can be solved and a wise King will have to make tough decisions at times. Unfortunately, there are times where no matter what you do you were destined for failure. For example, an individual brought his problem to me and begged for a solution. I didn’t buy what he was saying and refused to help him. He then confessed that he tried to trick me into giving him gold yet in the end I was still penalized with my people getting upset with me. I don’t know if that was some mistake within the game but it certainly did not feel fair.
A feature I loved in the game was the agents you have at your disposal. An agent can help you solve problems with your people or go out into the world and discover things for you. The catch? If you want their services then you must pay them. Seems fair though, right? Balancing which agent you need that week is very important and choosing when to send them out can be a risky decision. There will be times when an agent is called upon but this could mean they will be unavailable for weeks. Is fixing someone’s problem really worth your agent being gone for three weeks? That is a decision you better not take lightly. I will say this, any time you get the chance to have an agent on your roster, take it. You don’t have to use their services every week but it is good to have them there for when you will need them.
The game and story unfold from week to week and you will need to make choices on improvements around you as well. Budgeting your gold and food wouldn’t be the biggest issue if it didn’t directly correlate with the happiness of your people. If they are not happy then you won’t make enough in taxes to keep your kingdom running. What is the old saying? You must spend money to make money. That is true and early on it would be wise to keep the people happy.
Another factor in the game is the Kings family. The characters for the most part are loveable and even silly at times. I thoroughly enjoyed the kind yet rational nature of the Queen. You build a relationship with your daughters and you genuinely feel the love that the King has for his family. Without spoiling the game, I can say that the story is really a highlight with extremely high stakes coming from your decisions. You can keep track of all the family members and people you come across in the archives tab. Knowing how situations played out is definitely beneficial especially later in the game.
Yes, Your Grace is split up into two acts with the second act causing a few issues. With things volatile and the balance of your kingdom tipping towards certain doom I became a little annoyed with how the game started to perform. At the end of the week you have a balance sheet screen where you can decide on which activities you want to be done for the upcoming week. After selecting and saving I started to run into some problems. The screen would fade to black and then, the waiting game. I would wait and wait for the game to finally load back in. Sometimes the wait would be so long I had time to pick up my phone and check out Twitter for few minutes. Perhaps it was something wrong with my game only but it added to an already frustrating situation. Then the worst thing possible happened, a game breaking loop. It didn’t matter where I tried to start the game from it wouldn’t advance to the next week and I was forced to start all over again. Of course, this was very upsetting because up until that point I had nothing but positive thoughts about the game. I will admit this could have been a one off so I hope this isn’t something that is happening to other players.
What kind of kingdom management game would this be without making alliances? As you King, you can call upon others to visit you. They can consist of anyone from other nobles to an arrogant artist. What you have to consider is making an alliance with this person worth it. Will they come to your aid with their army if needed? Or do you think their intentions are more devious? I enjoyed the back and forth with these other characters and trying my best to figure out their intentions. It is certainly worth noting that not everyone can be trusted in the game. Don’t be afraid to take risks but know that it could bite you later in the game.
I was surprised with how long it took me to complete Yes, Your Grace. I did finish the first day but it probably took me around eight hours to actually finish it. No doubt you could finish in a much shorter period of time but that would be rushing through it in my opinion. There isn’t a ton to explore in the game but you will need to move around the castle in order to find certain things and talk with people. A little advice, try and interact with as much stuff as possible as it might come in handy later on. You won’t be able to leave from behind your castle walls but that is what you have the agents for so let them do all the hard work. If you can make wise decision, learn who not to trust, keep your family happy and balance a kingdom full of problems then you will no doubt be a successful King.
I had a great time trying to be a fair ruler. I tried to play aggressive my first playthrough and it back fired quickly. Finding a balance in the game seemed at least for me to be the best strategy. I loved the majority of the characters and even found myself attached to some of them. The difficulty of the game did take me by surprise but I enjoyed the challenge. You will not make the right decision at all times and that is a good thing in Yes, Your Grace. If you know me then you know I love pixel art and for the most part I thought everything was presented well. The loading screens did become cumbersome later in the game and the game breaking loop was unfortunate. This is a well thought out game though with a story line that will grab your attention early on. The game doesn’t hold back and will punish you for making foolish decisions, sometimes in heartbreaking ways. The challenge of running the kingdom as King was absolutely worth my time and I recommend that anyone who enjoys management games give this one a play and see if you can get a happy ending. Yes it has multiple endings.
The game is available now on PC, Switch and Xbox One.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10