I don’t remember how I first learned of Long Live the Queen, beyond I was interested in trying visual novels and it was a title that came up in that search. This indie game is seemingly simple: fourteen-year-old Elodie’s mother has passed, and she now must prepare to ascend the throne…if you can survive long enough to get there! Elodie must face potential assassins, keeping the people’s favor, and threats from abroad all while trying to learn what she needs to learn to be a proper queen.
Now, putting aside the ridiculous amount of stuff this kid is expected to learn over the course of a year (and the obvious question of why some stuff, like manners, hadn’t been drilled into her since practically birth), Long Live the Queen is one of the funnest games I’ve played in a while! Normally dying in a game is kind of a bummer, but there is a checklist for the ways you’ve found to kill off Elodie, making it just part of the game and the “death” chibi graphics are hilariously cute. Not that I didn’t feel immense satisfaction when I finally got her to the throne, safe and sound, but still, losing often gave me laughing fits too.
The sheer intricacies of how deciding what to learn this week might affect what happens the next, how a seemingly small decision can have huge consequences, and the paths the story can take are all just amazing. There are fourteen different areas Elodie can study in each week (two per week), with three subjects in each area. That alone should give you an idea of the sheer scope of this games pathing. 42 different subjects, and every single one can effect at least one if not more events, how people view her as queen, and so forth!
Suffice to say, picking what to study is a large part of this particular game, but so is managing Elodie’s mood, as different moods effect how well or poorly she studies certain subjects (or if she will even study them at all). Also key to her learning are earning outfits. There are fourteen outfits, one for each area, earned by getting at least 25 points of learning in each of that area’s three subjects. Wearing the outfit for a subject area will boost the learning in those subjects quite nicely. With good management of mood and outfits, it’s entirely possible to have high marks in a lot of subjects by the time the game’s 52 week span is done.
I really can’t emphasize enough how impressed I am with the amount of ways this story can branch and go. I’ve played through more times than I can count now and still hit something new every time, with some play through’s being so different it almost felt like a new game! As I said, what you study can effect the game, including what choices, if any, are available to you during key story events. The availability and selection of choices can cause the game to branch off in wildly different directions. In addition to eleven ways to die, even more ways to lose without dying, and forty-five steam achievements to earn, there are twenty-four epilogue endings to find (I’m still missing one darnnit!) as well!
For a game costing just $9.99 at full price, it is well worth grabbing and a ton of fun. According to my Steam account, I’m at 15 hours of playing, and I still have a few more paths to explore! It’s a fun, addictive game that’s easy on the CPUs but delightful on the graphics. The music is also good, though I did end up muting it as I couldn’t get the volume to turn down enough for my tastes.