The Ninjabot

Long Live the Queen Review: Ordering Executions with a Smile

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 6:24 pm by Victor Chaves

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I imagine you, the reader, are pretty surprised to see a review of a princess-maker game with an anime art style, but trust me when I say this isn’t the same Barbie or Disney princess-maker games you find for five bucks at the Walmart bargain bin. Long Live the Queen is a princess-maker game that focus’s heavily on the repercussions you made on your path to becoming queen, like deciding someone needs to be executed, or favoring magic instead of finances in your studies. The result? Mostly death, lots and lots of death.

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Becoming a Queen in 52 Weeks

The princess is Elodie, a fourteen year-old who returns home when she realizes her mother, the queen, was killed. Being next in line, Elodie must train to become a queen by her fifteenth birthday by taking classes every week and participating in queenly duties. The decisions made along the way involve several of Elodie’s subjects, and depending how she reacts, determine her ultimate fate (whether that happens before her birthday, or her coronation).

First and foremost, Long Live the Queen is not about spending hours customizing Elodie, in fact there is little to visually customize at all. The meat of the game is running through the story told through very quick text conversations, and making sure to have the correct skills when parts of the story runs a skill-check. Should you fail a skill-check, the consequences are usually: 1) Elodie didn’t notice, 2) Elodie doesn’t know what to do in the situation, 3) Elodie dies. Building skills involves taking classes every week to build Elodie up to best handle the situations thrown at her. Depending on her mood, she can also earn bonuses or negatives to the rate she learns, often causing the player to think how to be as efficient as possible.

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A great example of a skill-checking event is that at one point Elodie is asked to visit a cousin for her birthday. Should you choose to go, an event will transpire where while traveling, Elodie will be attacked by arrows and pierced by one as well. This event has two skill-checks Elodie must pass, one in Arrows and one in Battlefield Medicine. If she has skills in Arrows, she survives by knowing how to defend against them. If she has Battlefield Medicine knowledge, she can save herself from bleeding out. Several checks like these happen through the game, and if you know what’s coming, you could have Elodie not attend at all or have her properly skilled for the event.

Plenty of Personality from Elodie

The first time I was killed in that event, what caught me by surprise is how Elodie reasons out her demise; more often than not, it’s pretty funny when Elodie is clueless in a situation. To elucidate, the reason she dies is not because she bleeds out, but because she shoves the arrow further in, thinking she can survive if the arrow goes all the way through her. It’s a bit mortifying, but the ridiculousness of her logic can be at levels of Adam West’s Batman. One of my favorite moments is when Elodie is asked for funds in creating a hospital. Since Elodie didn’t have medicinal knowledge, she thinks that having multiple sick people in the same place will only make things worse, and therefore denies the request. Elodie’s silly logic is certainly entertaining, and makes her all the more endearing when you see what kind of princess you are making.

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After making my own choices in my first playthrough, I found that I was a lousy princess. Choosing Sword skills, not picking a husband, always having her mood cheerful, and antagonizing other nations did not give me a long life after chocolates laced with poison brought me to my inevitable end. After dying, I found myself going back and making different choices, exploring branching paths, and managing my time to study specific skills. When I finally beat the game, Elodie was never Cheerful, but mostly Willful and Lonely, since those gave bonuses to magic and military. What was a cute anime princess turned into a military sorceress that tore down rebellions and engaged in wizard battles for kingdoms. I survived, and while there were still different and better endings, she finally survived a year with her strength.

Don’t Eat the Chocolate

What my gameplay experience had me realizing was that this game was like Persona 3 or 4 where there is a finite amount of time to better your character, except unlike those two games, Long Live the Queen branches into a wide array of different stories based on your choices. The chocolates laced with poison could never have come if I survived a Court Manners skill-check ten weeks ago, I could have stopped a war if I learned how to play an instrument and sang, and I also could have foresaw an attempted assination if I had divination. So many times in order to survive to the end, I would load a save several weeks back to better handle my class and mood choices. The game became a puzzle, figuring out how to compromise my time in better ways in order to survive certain future skill-checks. Furthermore, because the game allowed dialogue skipping, I never felt that going back took too long. Just make sure to use the one-hundred and four save slots liberally!

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Although there isn’t much art that the game has to offer from a visual standpoint, what is there is usually very nice to inoffensive. The only sizable amount of character art is switching between outfits (outfits that give bonuses to skills!), which is surprisingly aww-inducing, especially the sorceress costume which is essentially a magical-girl outift. The music reflects the situations really well, and hearing a soft-piano version of the British national anthem God Save the Queen always brings a smile to my face when I’m in the title screen. I also like how fast the game goes from a narrative perspective; events don’t last a long time, yet they give enough information and emotional gravity to be quite engaging.

Final Thoughts

Long Live the Queen is a huge surprise for me. Where the game doesn’t have much of a budget from a visual standpoint, it makes up for it with a story that arrests your attention as well as deep gameplay choices that mold Elodie over her fourteenth year on Earth. While many gamers probably skipped this title over, this was one game that I can definitely say was way better than I expected.

Presentation: 7

Gameplay: 8

Replay: 10

LEGACY SCORE: 8.3

Geek Legacy’s review scores are on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest possible score.

Follow Victor on Twitter @fake_brasilian to see him realize that he doesn’t look good in a tiara.

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