Long Live The Queen
The Queen Has Fallen And You're Next To Perish
The year 2012 was an important year for visual novel-style games as it opened the possibility of what was possible for indie developers. One of my fondest memories of that year was discovering titles like Katawa Shoujo, a romance visual novel featuring a cast of special needs students including the protagonist. Long Live The Queen was released later that Summer, substituting the romance and feel-good stories with survival, comedy, and death looming at every corner.
Learn The Rules Of 'The Game' Or Lose Before It Begins.
The story begins with Elodie, our queen-to-be, following the sudden death of her mother. As the heir to the throne, Elodie has up to 40 weeks to discipline herself through school leading up to her anointing on her 15th birthday. Over the span of nine months, there will be several allies who will come to aid Elodie. There will be those who will try to take advantage of Elodie's naivete, which makes what she learns during her lessons all the more important. It's not as simple as "choose a lesson and hope for the best" as there are several attributes that will affect her success.
There are four branches of emotions to keep track of, with two paths for each one, leading to a total of eight. Elodie begins the game depressed and slightly afraid, thinking of her mother as well as the uncertainty of her future. Whatever emotion has the highest affinity is the one that takes priority over everything else. Since depression is her dominant emotion, it will affect Elodie's focus during her classes.
Do You Take Your Mother's Legacy Or Forge Your Own?
In this case, she will focus better on Expression and Animal Handling but will have a penalty in Royal Demeanor, Conversation, and Athletics. Trying to teach Elodie how to maintain her composure while depressed will not bode well as she won't be able to focus thus not gaining any stat bonuses at all. If there's a certain class you wish Elodie to take, it's up to the player to manage her mood. The second part of the gameplay is the weekend when she is free to wander about the castle and its surrounding environment. Elodie can also interact with her father and various guests at the castle to provide insight on what she should be doing next.
Early on, her childhood friend and close relative visit the castle to warn Elodie about her mother's heritage as a "Lumen." Lumens are mages whose powers are channeled by a crystal and her mother's crystal is locked by her father. Her father blames the magic for her mother's death, so she can decide to steal it if she wishes. This is but one of many paths Elodie can take to ensure her success on the throne. There are talks of warring states who wish to crush Elodie's kingdom, those who want to court her, and others who want to assassinate her.
Be Careful Of Snakes In The Grass...
One of the earliest "checks" that Long Live The Queen gives to the player is a snake that will appear in front of Elodie's feet. She can outright fail the check before the player is aware of what is going on. As it turns out, if Elodie doesn't have enough Composure, she will freak out and the snake will bite her childhood friend, causing consequences later on. This is also ironic as in order to have high enough Composure, Elodie must not be depressed. There are several more checks the game throws at you, some direr than others, which helps to nudge the player in the right direction.
For a first playthrough, this is overwhelming and you will definitely succumb to an unfortunate fate. I recall when I played this ten years ago that one of my deaths was eating poisoned chocolate, despite all common sense pointing towards the chocolate being tampered with. It's not up to the player to know what the right decision is, it's up to the player to prepare Elodie with lessons so she can figure it out herself. This is why I say that Long Live The Queen is less "visual novel" and more "strategy." You're not here to find love and the plot is wafer-thin, yet it's a delectable taste with hidden lore to discover should the right stat alignments be made. The real meat of LLTQ is to ensure poor Elodie survives through proper stat management.
Long Live The Queen Is A Treat For Console Players
This week, Long Live The Queen masks its dark humor and suspenseful presence with its colorful graphics, imagery, and often light-hearted dialogue. Courtesy of Ratalaika Games, players can now experience the oft-frustrating but satisfying strategy title for the first time on consoles tomorrow on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, and Xbox One. For more details, check out the official Ratalaika Games website for release dates and other exclusive content.
Long Live The Queen is available on Steam with availability across all modern consoles on July 15th.