TECH KNOW

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Hay­ley Tsukayama, The Wash­ing­ton Post

With el­e­ments of Ore­gon Trail and Minecraft, The Trail is a fun mo­bile ex­plo­ration game that pits users against the great­est en­emy of all: Mother Na­ture. Play­ers start with lit­tle more than the clothes on their backs and have to make their way through the world by pick­ing up skills such as scav­eng­ing, hunt­ing and craft­ing tools from raw ma­te­ri­als. You can trade with other play­ers in the game and in­ter­act with them a lit­tle bit through some set phrases. Not all in­ter­ac­tions are friendly, how­ever: If you run out of en­ergy on the

Etrail and pass out, the game lets passersby loot your stuff un­til you re­cover.

There are in-app pur­chases, which will speed you along your way — but you can play with pa­tience and save your real-world money, too. The game also lets you build and fur­nish a house, which you can fill with items that can help you along your jour­ney. This is a sim­ple game at its heart — ex­plore, col­lect and craft — but the scenery and your goals change through­out the game, mak­ing it a fun app to come back to for a long time.

EWhile Reigns looks fairly sim­ple, this game that puts you in charge of a king­dom is not a light bit of en­ter­tain­ment. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, af­ter all. Play­ers are asked to flip through a set of cards and make de­ci­sions about how to run the coun­try. You swipe left or right to make your de­ci­sion about the prob­lem listed on the card. Each de­ci­sion af­fects the bal­ance of your king­dom be­tween four pow­ers: the church, the peo­ple, the army and the trea­sury. If one of those pow­ers grows too pow­er­ful or too weak, you may find your­self with a reign-end­ing prob­lem — a re­li­gious coup, a pop­u­lar re­volt, a bank­ruptcy — on your hands.

This is a game you’re ex­pected to lose re­peat­edly, but don’t worry. Af­ter each loss, you’re rein­car­nated as the next king and have to make an­other round of de­ci­sions. The de­scrip­tions can get quite grue­some, so it may not be the best for small chil­dren. At $3, it’s a bit pricey for an app game, but it is a fun ex­er­cise in learn­ing how to keep things bal­anced. Its strange, quirky charm may ap­peal to your in­ner despot.

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