Being queen isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For all the fame, fortune, and limitless invitations to balls, there are assassination attempts to fight off, rebelling commoners, war barking at the boarders, and an endless stream of plots to steal your crown. All of this and more is what awaits Elodie, the queen to be, as the impromptu death of her mother accelerates her path to the monarchy in Long Live the Queen, a game that is anything but what it appears.
The most important thing to know about LLtQ is that it isn’t a girly diversion devoid of strategy and intended solely for would be princesses to live out their fantasies. On the contrary it is an absolutely brutal challenge of wits! Your time is split between taking classes and dealing with the day-to-day events that befall a queen, both of which are intimately woven together and require a keen knowledge to predict the outcome of the choices you make.
As you progress through the game you shape Eldodie into a princess of your choosing by way of the various skills you aquire by taking classes. You can only learn so much before push comes to shove and you need to put your skills into action, and finding the balance in it all is where the strategy really comes into play. By manipulating your mood you can gain bonuses to different skills, boosting the amount of skill points you earn in a session, which further adds another layer you need to pay attention to in order to succeed (or even survive).
It is all but a certainty that you will die many, many times before you make it to your coronation, however death in LLtQ isn’t a gameover but just taking a wrong path at one point, and is intended to be a learning experience above all else. Because events typically unfold in a similar way each time, your main goal is to pick and choose which skills to upgrade in a timely manner in order to succeed and push onto the next plot point. Should you fail you can reload a save and try again with new tactics, or start over from scratch and plan your path in a whole different direction.
The freedom coupled with the inherent linearity is an odd combo but what I love so much about the game. It doesn’t change so much that you can’t easily plan for future events, but allows a lot of variation for different outcomes which gives a lot of replay value for those so inclined as to seek out the different endings.
It is also my biggest complaint about the game however, as for all its freedom it does a poor job telling you how to use it and leaves you floundering in the dark trying to find the perfect combo. Getting a “good” ending and seeing Elodie crowned is far harder to do than you would likely expect, and repeatedly dying with only vague mentions of what you did wrong and how to change it can be very disheartening and will likely put many off early on as they are still trying to work out how everything fits. I’m all for letting the player find the answers for themselves, but a bit more guidance would have been much appreciated for all the times I failed in ways that seemed no fault of my own.
But even with the bothersome lack of direction LLtQ is still an extremely addictive and original game, one that immediately sucked me in and kept me hook for hours at a time. It would be easy to get the wrong idea of the game from the screenshots, but I imagine many would be pleasantly surprised if they gave it a chance. The music is lovely and the artwork very nice, with a clean-cut design and humorous, engaging writing that makes it hard not to fall in love with Elodie and the other characters around her.
I have never played a game quite like Long Live the Queen, and hope to see more original titles like this popping up on Steam soon. If you are even the slightest bit interested don’t turn away after the first impression, it has a lot more depth than I think anyone would expect, and is a wholly refreshing and enjoyable experience that most any should enjoy whether they have ever dreamed of being the prettiest princess or not!