For the past month, every time I’ve logged onto Instagram, I’ve seen an ad for Game Of Sultans. These ads are, in a word, horny. Busty suitors compete for your love and the ability to sire your heir. The ads included flavor text like “my girlfriend’s character is already queen!” Whose girlfriend, you ask? There was only one way to find out. I had to play the game.
Turns out, it’s not very horny. As advertised, this looked like it would be a game about having children and marrying them off. Having played my fair share of Princess Maker and Long Live The Queen, I thought I might as well give it a shot. Spoiler alert: that is not what the game is about.
In the opening cutscene for Game Of Sultans, you learn that you’re a prince at your father’s deathbed. He dies due to old age, and you ascend as sultan. You’re given a chance to name this young king, and I hit the random button until it landed on Hardy Castenada. An appropriate name, right? I thought it might add to his fortitude.
From there, you enter menu hell. I quickly found out that you don’t even unlock the ability to get married until you’ve played through most of the lengthy tutorial. Game Of Sultans is more about raising the overall strength of your empire than anything else. You do that by training your viziers, which you do by spending the in-game currency of gold coins on them. You earn gold coins by either levying them—an option nested under the Imperial Parliament screen, which can be completed by tapping a button—or by winning battles on the campaign. In order to win battles, you have to have soldiers, which you can also earn by levying them.
During battles, you’re basically just matching up a bunch of numbers, like the overall power of your empire and the number of soldiers you have, against the numbers of the enemy. Are your numbers higher than their numbers? Great! Put your phone down and return to find more gold after the game has finished scrolling through about a minute’s worth of tedious animations.
Game Of Sultans is a spiraling tangle of a game. Even after playing a healthy amount over the past day or so, I’m still finding new parts of this game. You can join Unions with other players, or you can have your Viziers fight other players’ Viziers in the Arena. There’s events in the Frontier, where you can earn gold and rewards from hunting. You can gain allies from other nations, who will give you gifts. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time slapping a Barbarian, which has also earned me some gold and other random awards as all the players in the game collectively wear their health down.
The attractive ladies and their royal children are possibly the smallest part of the game. You’ll gain one wife during the tutorial, Canfeza the Dancer, and I got another one via leveling up. Her name’s Cecilia, which makes me feel weird (one of my Kotaku coworkers is also named that).
You can also find new wives via random encounters in The Masquerade, which you can only visit three times every couple of hours. Visiting your wives in your harem will raise their charm and intimacy with you, and also introduces the chance of them giving you a baby. I’ve had four so far, and I was already able to marry one off. In this game, all you need to do to raise children is feed them, which ages them rapidly. You only get food for your kids every couple hours, but that was enough to raise one kid to an adult and find him a wife. He seems pretty happy!
I’m finding that I’m playing through all the rest of the bloat in this game just for the chance to have more babies. The ads for Game of Sultans really made me want to have those babies, and by gum, I’m gonna do it. But you’re not able to visit your wives or raise your children very often throughout the day—at most, you can visit a couple times every few hours. That is, unless you pay real money to buy packs of items that will shorten or temporarily eliminate all the timers. Did I not mention the timers? Everything, everything in this game is on a timer, and some of them are as long as three hours. Not only do I want this game to be hornier in a figurative sense, but also, in a literal sense. I feel like Hardy should have a shorter refractory period than three hours.
I still haven’t deleted Game Of Sultans off my phone yet. I still want to see what my babies will look like when they grow up. While I’m waiting for all my timers to reset, though, I should probably just start a new game of Princess Maker. That game won’t make me wait all day just to see my partner.