Review: “Long Live the Queen” (Nintendo Switch)
Originally published by Hanako Games in 2013, Long Live the Queen has recently been re-released on all next gen platforms.* The game is a visual novel that revolves around a young girl named Elodie who is training to become the next queen of the land. She has forty weeks to prepare because on her 15th birthday she will be coronated. During these crucial forty weeks, players have to make choices so you won’t die or lose your spot on your throne. You might even find love and get married if you make the right choices. Like other visual novels, the story changes depending on the path you take, so in the end the story is somewhat up to you.
So, you are intrigued, eh? Well let me help break you of that.
I racked my brain on how to describe how Long Live the Queen plays, and I think I can boil it down to this. If you like both math spreadsheets and RPG style texts, then this game is for you. Long Live the Queen is broken up into three sections. Every week, you pick two classes that you want to attend to boost up specific stats (42 skills, to be exact). Depending on the day, certain stats will have provide boosts or handicaps for growing your stats. These stats are your life and death of the game; if you don’t have a certain skill at a high enough level in the story portion for the week, you will fail a checkpoint that could get you killed or at least prevent you from progressing the story. If you want to beat the game, you will have to save often (and in multiple save slots) so you can go back and level up the skills you need to survive, because Long Live the Queen gives you zero clues on what skills are needed. After leveling up each group of skills, you will unlock Elodie’s alternate costumes which can boost her stats in specific areas, so that’s neat.
Next, you have your weekend to roam around the castle, which is essentially a worker placement system. Areas like the throne room, treasure room, etc. will uniquely boost your mood stats. For example, going to play with your toys in your room will boost your cheerfulness stat but it will also make you more lonely. Depending on your mood, specific events and choices come up in the story section, sometimes even bringing you to an untimely demise. so you have to watch your mood constantly and keep it in check.
You can unlock other areas as you progress, like the barracks or the sports field, but none of them are really necessary. What is necessary, however, is talking with certain people on the board to progress through certain parts of the game. For example, you may need to talk to the king to progress a part of the story, but you won’t always know when you will want to do that. I must also point out that when I say you can “go” to a place, that doesn’t mean you actually “move” there. You stay on the incredibly bland castle map page and a text box pops up and tells you that you went somewhere. Woohoo.
Finally, we have the story section. Very simply, you will occasionally have conversations via more RPG text boxes, and often you will have to make a choice regarding a specific event. Many times what you think is the right choice will get you killed or have some other negative effect. You never know until you die, or get someone else killed.
Unfortunately, this repetitive cycle is boring and incredibly frustrating at times. You die because you didn’t have any clue that you needed to level up the climbing skill, so now you have to start over at your most recent save point. It’s really just a guessing game, and once you die you start over with the knowledge and you have to try again. Some people may find this enjoyable. I don’t. Luckily, I was able to beat Long Live the Queen after about two hours of gameplay, and trust me, that is plenty of time with the game.
Graphically, there’s simply not much to say. There are only something like seven backgrounds throughout the whole game, and the only full body images you see are of the main character. This whole experience could be called a text-based game. Most visual novels are just that, they are visual. Right? Along the way, someone working on Long Live the Queen was like, “Screw that. We would rather focus on math.”
The music is all piano arrangements, which was fine, but none were particularly special. There are maybe around 25 songs, and most were only about a minute long. As an American, I did find the title screen comical, as the music there is the melody of “God Save the Queen”. For us in the good old United States, very few connects that tune with God Save the Queen because we know it as My Country ‘Tis of Thee. And before anyone goes off on me saying God Save the Queen was first so get over it, I would like to point out that we kicked Great Britain’s ass in a thing called the Seven Year Civil War of English Aggression, so we earned the right to say that it is our song now. Because freedom.
Overall, Long Live the Queen is not great. It’s a repetitive, unpredictable cycle; it’s boring, and visual novels have come a long way since this game originally came out in 2013. The complexity of the character build was interesting, but everything else falls short. I feel like my high school students in my computer science class build more complicated and interesting games on a regular basis. If I were you, I would depose this queen with swift and decisive violence. Sic semper tyrannis!
Long Live the Queen is available now for Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbone and SeXbox.
*Disclosure: a copy of Long Live the Queen was provided to The Splintering for the purpose of this review.
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