Game: Long Live the Queen
Genre: Adventure, Simulation
System: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam (Windows & macOS))
Developer|Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US Teen
Price: US $9.99 | UK £9.99 | EU € 9,99
Release Date: July 15th, 2022
Review code provided with many thanks to PR Hound.
Long Live the Queen combines gaming elements that you don’t often see mashed together. A visual novel with stat building, and several endings, based on the, often political, choices that you make. It tells the story of Elodie, a 14 year old princess that has just lost her mother the Queen. Elodie has to get ready to run the kingdom herself, at first under the tutelage of her father. The decisions to make however are all her own, based on the classes she has taken and the stats that it raised. Will Elodie be successful at being a queen, or will her life end prematurely? It’s up to you!
Raising a Queen
Elodie is a Lumen, a person who can us magic, just like her mother was. As it was the cause of her mother’s downfall, her father doesn’t want Elodie to use her skill. Instead, Elodie does one class in the morning and in the afternoon, learning what she needs to know to be a good queen without magic. But of course, she is curious about magic. Julianna, Duchess of Ursul, who claims to be a friends of her mothers, tells her all about it. To do magic herself, Elodie needs a particular magical crystal. Once she bonds with that, magic would become a part of her life as long as she lives. It’s up to Elodie to make a choice: resort to subterfuge to get the crystal, as her father won’t give it willingly? Or do without magic and the possibilities it has?
That’s just an example of the many choices Long Live the Queen throws at you. I decided to pull through and order them to take the crystal from where Elodie father had it put away securely. Only to read afterward that the explosion that was used to get the crystal killed several of the guards. The first blood on Elodies hands!
Skill Stats and Moods
At the start of Long Live the Queen, Elodie is a depressed little girl, often lonely and with people all around who try to influence her. It’s up to you to try and change that. Every class she takes, every weekend activity she does and every decision she makes in ruling the kingdom, it all influences her mood.
Skills that Elodie learns provide different choices in the plot of Long Live the Queen. Learning the right skills in class can literally make the difference between life and death. Skills can be put in four main categories: social, physical, intellectual and mystical. And inside these categories there are skillsets, sorted in groups of three related skills.
The mood Elodie is in influences her ability to learn. It will give her a bonus to some skills and a penalty to others. So depending on her mood, you could end up taking classes in a skill that has a penalty matching her mood, and not learn anything at all. Or, on the upside, learn extra on certain classes.
And when you’ve got all that down, you will find that the exploits you choose for the weekend also have an effect on Elodies mood and the storyline of Long Live the Queen. Plus, the outfits you unlock aren’t just for making Elodie pretty, they give bonuses too. For example, if you have the Horses, Dogs, and Falcons skill all past 25, then you will get an outfit for Hunt Coat, that gives a bonus of +10 to animal handling.
What Kind of Queen Will You Be?
It’s difficult to decide which stat to build first. At first I played the game making decisions for Elodie that were becoming to a Queen (in my opinion). The classes she did featured caring for animals, learning about herbs, learning how to behave in court and so on. I didn’t shout “off with their head” at every prisoner that was brought before me, I tried to let suitors down gently and tried to avoid war. It landed me in the dungeon with a broom in my hand, so apparently that wasn’t the way to go.
You could of course resort to a walkthrough. As Long Live the Queen has been available on Steam since 2013 there are plenty out there. But there are really so many choices to make and so many stats to choose from, that even with a walkthrough you might not see all endings. What you can do is save often: there are loads of save slots, so if a storyline doesn’t turn out the way you want it, you can go back to a save for a game-week ago. This really is the kind of game where you need your little trusty gaming notebook to keep track.
Good Text Writing
The background music tends to be stuck in the same loop, so I toned that down during my gameplay. The visuals are okay though a bit static for my taste. Plus, some characters look downright silly, like her father who is way to young and constantly has a big crown on his head (think he must frequently have a headache as crowns tend to be heavy…).
The text writing for Long Live the Queen however is nice. After doing your classes you get feedback and learn a bit more about the topic. You learn about the history of your country, about your neighbouring countries and the people at court. I do wonder if it’s enough to keep a player entertained though to search and find all the endings. I do know my attention waned after a few playthroughs.
If you expect a visual novel with cute guys or girls and lots of romance, Long Live the Queen isn’t it. Don’t be fooled by the title image, as not all is pink and rosy. It is a novel alright, but it is a story that has you making mainly political choices. Elodie has to deal with betrayal, civil wars, assassinations, invasions, and magic… Who knew leading a kingdom could be so difficult? You can’t be a universally loved queen, you will have to make tough choices. Some will hate you, some will think you are doing okay. And all neighbouring countries try to influence you to benefit them.
If you like a story where you have to build stats and have trial and error lead you to various endings, this one is for you. This is not an easy game, and if you want to reach all endings, you will have to play the same parts over and over again. There is a skip button, however I do wonder if players will be engaged enough to search for all endings. Make sure you have a notebook handy to jot down the choices you make and save often. That way, if Elodie meets a bad fate, you can still reverse it!
Final Verdict: I Like It