Developer: Hanako Games, Ratalaika Games Publisher: Hanako Games, Ratalaika Games Platforms: PC (Windows, Mac, & Linux), Playstation 4, Playstation 5 Xbox One, Xbox Series, & Nintendo Switch Released: 2nd June, 2012 Genre: Roleplaying Game, Political Simulation, Raising Sim, Strategy
The nation of Nova is a proud one, standing resilient for centuries under the rule of magic-wielding “Lumen” kings and queens. A recent tragedy, the loss of beloved queen Fidelia, has shaken Nova to its core and left the future uncertain. Now the people look towards young princess Elodie, not yet 15 years old, to navigate the country’s political chessboard and protect them from foreign threats.
The aim of Long Live the Queen is quite simple. Players take on the role of Princess Elodie, choose how she spends her weeks, and shape her into a strong leader before her coronation when she turns 15. Each week you’ll pick two classes for Elodie to attend (out of 42 options), decide how she spends her free time, and choose how she navigates interactions and events in the world. Your choices also affect Elodie’s mood. Your mood, in turn, affects Elodie’s studies – each mood giving bonuses and penalties to her progress in a handful of classes. With this premise, and the game’s sparkly pink aesthetic, you wouldn’t be blamed for expecting a cruisy ride. I thought the same thing, but then I died, and died, and died again. I was stabbed, poisoned, drowned, skewered, fried, drained, impaled, and many, many more…
The world of Long Live the Queen is both a labyrinth and a minefield, which you’ve been blindfolded and dropped inside. At first it felt like the only way out was to brute force my way through the world, taking note of every failure so I could be prepared the next attempt. Thankfully, the more familiar I became with the world, the easier it was to predict the dangers on the horizon. I still died, a lot, but I was able to think several steps ahead and engage more deeply with the game.
If you want to fully uncover everything this game has to offer, you’ll need to play through multiple times. There are numerous paths to follow, secrets to uncover, relationships to build and epilogues to reach. Even when you make it to your coronation for the first time, you’ve likely just scratched the surface of the game’s rich world. Every character you meet has their own secrets and aspirations, tied to the game’s rich political landscape. Your father wants to guide you to become a strong leader and protect you from the dangers of Lumen magic but is bound by the same expectations of royalty that you are. Your mentor, the Duchess of Ursul, wants to lead you to your destiny as a powerful lumen despite the universal distrust she faces. Novan nobility all want something from you, money, titles, power, marriage. Worst of all foreign powers conspire from a distance with unknowable intentions.
It can be a little bit difficult to keep track of all this information. Unfortunately there’s no in-game log to check, which is probably my biggest problem with the game. I’ve heard some people kept their own log as they played through, but I was able to develop familiarity over my many attempts and accepted being occasionally frustrated. It does, at least, feature the option to skip dialogue you’ve already seen.
Developed by Hanako Games – Long Live the Queen Originally released on PC in 2013, and I played through it completely a few years ago but I was excited to pick it up again when it released to the Switch this July. I was worried it would be difficult to navigate the game’s detailed menus with Switch Controls, but I was delighted to find out it was equipped with touch screen controls. Disappointingly few games utilize this when ported to the switch – I hadn’t even considered it was a possibility! These controls are super helpful and make it easy to navigate Long Live the Queen’s complex menus.
There weren’t any significant factors that differentiated my experience playing on PC to playing on the switch. Except maybe that playing on the switch let me get extra cozy on the couch before experiencing another royal bloodbath. Long Live the Queen can also be picked up on Playstation4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox series X if you prefer one of those consoles.