Set in the world of “Lefteros”, Twitchy Thrones is a goofy Game of Thrones parody, depicting conflict between “Storker” and “Lambaster” houses. Though loaded with dumb jokes that could fill out a Scary Movie script, all acted by simplistic pixelated characters, the humor has some inspired moments. In one interactive cutscene, the Queen Cersei stand-in must spin a roulette wheel to determine who she’ll sleep with next. The idea of adding a whole roulette mechanic, just for a stupid joke, is absolutely fantastic. The manic pacing of the cutscenes carries over into the gameplay, as well.
Every match plays out like a hectic game of Risk. Each level is a web of roads, with a flag at each intersection. Those flags generate troops for the faction that holds them, and the game is won by taking control of every flag. Players can move troops by tapping these soldiers, then tapping the target flag, and armies can be folded together by moving one friendly army onto another. Once combined, though, armies cannot be split, so it’s important to guard each contested intersection with a separate, but sizable force.
I hesitate to even call Twitchy Thrones a strategy game. Not in any derogatory way, but despite the board game-type interface and the number focused gameplay, it felt much more like an action game. The beginning of each match was a tense standoff, reinforcing each front before finally making my move. Once that was over, I was just frantically mashing my big numbers against their small numbers.
This works out well, since I’m not a huge fan of strategy games. There are many who enjoy managing resources, planning attacks, carrying them out with the confidence that they’ve planned better than their opponents. Call me impatient, but I can’t stand all the planning. In Twitchy Thrones, planning is only a few seconds away from success or failure, allowing players to restart and reorganize right on the spot.
That’s really all there is to it. There’s no tutorial, and the only wrinkles added later on are archers (which periodically trim down your armies) and reinforcements (which periodically add to you or your enemies’ armies). The final mission requires you to manage three separate battles at once, but not in any particularly interesting way – you just scroll between the battles with a button press. Difficulty is mainly determined by the number spread between your armies and your enemies’.
Still, every loss made me feel like I just needed to tweak my thinking a bit, and every victory made me feel like a total badass because of the raging fantasy-dubstep that plays every time. Even if the campaign itself is a little short and flat, the game encourages players to go after three-star times on each level across three difficulty modes. Beating the campaign will also unlock a series of challenges that range from playing missions as a different faction to losing a mission as fast as possible.
Despite its simplicity and its sometimes-ugly pixel art, Twitchy Thrones seems like the kind of game that a larger company might use as the foundation for an exploitative free-to-play scheme. That’s really the best thing I can say about it: it’s addictive enough for me to expect in-app purchases, but there are none. If you like strategy, action, or just Game of Thrones, you’re sure to find something good here.
As twitchy as strategy games come, with a sense of humor that you’ll either love or hate. Short campaign, but with good replayability.