Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Gayme of the Week: Errant Kingdom

There’s nothing that quite gets my attention like queer, fantasy hijinks and well, Errant Kingdom has that in spades.

Developed and published by Lunaris Games, Errant Kingdom is what happens when you combine political intrigue, magic, hot people, and a queer narrative together. Did we mention that there is a full cast of LGBTQIA+ characters, with 8 different romance routes, 2 of which include polyamorous relationships? The amount of inclusion and choice that you have is incredible, and with the game still being in early access – with 5 chapters and one prologue) there’s only more for you to explore.

Not many games surprise me, but Errant Kingdom did just that. Having that many love interests, with the option of 2 polyamorous relationships, as well as an asexual and demisexual romance… It sounds very good on paper, almost too good to be true, but Errant Kingdom follows through with the complexity, authenticity, and understanding of sexuality and gender that put games like Cyberpunk 2077 to shame. For one, it doesn’t make trans people feel like shit. So there’s that.

What you should be aware of, as a player, is that Errant Kingdom isn’t a dating novel. Sure, you have romance options and all have their pros and cons depending on your perspective, but this is very much a high fantasy story. A story where the political climate of a kingdom ruled with an iron fist and your character’s role in either maintaining the peace, or stoking the fire of chaos, is vital to the game’s DNA.

The importance of the story alone may be intriguing to some, after all, there are only so many times you can get joy at getting into a character’s pants, irrelevant of how many love interests there are. Maybe you aren’t even interested in the romance, and that’s fine because there is the option of having no romance option at all. It, at the very least, gives players breathing room to focus on the lore that Errant Kingdom has in droves.

But don’t fret. That doesn’t mean players who after a dating novel, with the wacky and sometimes utterly tragic ways of falling in love, are going to be disappointed either. Far from it, because despite only romancing two people at the time of writing this, I can quite readily say that no route is the exact same. Each character will react to you differently and, depending on your choices and background, will behave in a unique way almost each and every time. Replayability is off the scales, folks.

Source: Steam

It isn’t just romance that will make you want to head on into another playthrough. Despite having no customizable avatar – so far, anyway – Errant Kingdom has included a range of different ways to make you feel as though you’re playing something a character that suits your vision. For my first playthrough I decided to go with my regular she/her pronouns. I usually go she/they but, as I’ve found out through both friends and colleagues, a lot of people still refer to me with she/her pronouns. That’s no fault of their own, but because of that I’ve been unable to explore how it feels to be someone who uses they/them despite…you know, actually going by them pronouns. So, it was more than a little nice to feel as though I was being addressed in a way that was different from how I was used to. That’s the beauty of Errant Kingdom – it lets you be both who you are, and who you aren’t, all at the same time and makes it feel as natural as breathing.

I’ve talked before about how queer representation hits differently when your cast is all LGBTQIA. It feels the same with Errant Kingdom – haven of sorts, yes, but there’s more to it. We’ve constantly been told that we should make our own stories, to stop ‘interfering’ with ‘our agenda’ and just stay away. Lunaris Games have done just that – made their own high fantasy, queer visual novel and it absolutely owns. Their characters, their joy and pain, feels real and relevant. Their desires, their past… It clicks with every beat of the narrative and it’s nothing short of incredible. To say that I love it would be an understatement.

Of course, as with all things, it doesn’t come without some issues. At times it feels as though you’re constantly having to log back onto the main menu screen, as it’s the only place that you seem able to access the lore. This can be frustrating, especially if you’re in the middle of something that’s pivotal to the main plot, as it feels similar to if you fell out of the game’s rhythm. There are also some grammar errors, and spelling mistakes, but considering the game is Early Access and is updated bi-monthly, with past chapters being looked at as time goes on, these errors don’t truly affect your enjoyment of the game. If anything, it just looks strange sometimes.

Errant Kingdom and its 5 chapters – with more on the way – is available on itch.io and Steam. It is also a nominee of 2021’s Gayming Awards, which you can find more about here.


Gayme of the Week is a weekly column by Aimee Hart about indie LGBT+ games that she’s played and what she loves about them. If you’ve got any recommendations, be sure to contact her on Twitter (@AimemeRights) or email (aimee@gaymingmag.com).

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.