Long Live the Queen

Score: 7.5
2013

Long Live the Queen is a visual novel and a princess simulator with RPG elements and a widely branching story line. The life of a princess definitely isn’t easy, dangers lurk around every corner and most people cannot be trusted. There are countless ways for the princess to get herself killed or fail in other ways before the coronation.

While the gameplay is pretty basic visual novel style, I wouldn’t consider Long Live the Queen to be a casual game. The player can improve the stats of the princess by choosing her weekly lessons, but the skill checks throughout the game are rather brutal. There is an actual need for strategy, the princess will not survive just training a bit of this and a bit of that.

Initially it is pretty interesting and fun to make up a strategy to train your princess and stick to the plan, see what unravels. But the difficulty also makes it a chore. I personally didn’t bother to go through all the available story lines, which I normally do with visual novels. After beating the game a couple of different ways, I plainly started to lose interest in minmaxing the numbers to the different routes.

If the story was something spectacular, I would definitely put in the effort – with a walkthru if needed – but honestly it isn’t that special. I applaud the effort in making a story line with this many branches, but the story lacks intimacy. It would be good enough if it was immersive and beautifully fleshed out, but everything is described rather briefly and distantly. I choose something, and get told what happens then. But I’m not really living and feeling it.

The story is about a teenage princess losing her mother and finding her place in the kingdom. It’s about politics, power play and war, the scheming nobles, a family mystery and some friends and romantic interests. Because of the rather disconnected storytelling, the romances most likely will not satisfy most romance-hungry players out there. There are a couple of interesting choices but romance plays only a tiny role in this game.

The cute graphics and princess theme might interest younger players, but the difficulty and many quite horrible (if also morbidly humorous) bad endings might not be well suited for children. But if reading in general or getting ones character killed and failing a lot doesn’t scare a kid, there’s no reason to stop them from playing, as there is no gore or sexual content in the game.

Despite the earlier criticism, Long Live the Queen is not a bad game by any means. I learned that I prefer my visual novels a tad easier and more intimate, but someone else might truly enjoy the challenge of crunching just the right numbers for the right outcome. I do like the basic idea of having RPG (lite) elements in visual novels, but this wasn’t the best implementation for my needs. In the end I was hooked for 10 hours and don’t feel like I wasted my time.

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