Long Live The Queen Review (Nintendo Switch)
A deceptively deep royalty sim hidden beneath cutesy stylings.
|Our Score||7 / 10|
|The Good||Variety of character traits and choices with meaningful consequences|
|The Bad||A lack of event and character logging, forcing you to manually jot things down|
|Release Date||19 July|
|Developed By||Hanako Games|
|Available On||Xbox One/Series, PS4/PS5, Nintendo Switch, PC|
|Reviewed On||Nintendo Switch|
Wearing a crown might look enchanting, but it carries with it the burdens of a country and the faith of the people. It demands complete devotion from whoever wears it, with their entire body and soul. It is certainly not an easy feat to achieve. Long Live The Queen is a visual novel choice-based game, casting you as Princess Elodie, daughter of the late queen Fidelia, and ruler of the Kingdom of Nova. It has a bit more in the way of choices than most games in the genre. You have the choice to shape Elodie into the queen you want her to be, or more specifically, what she needs to be, in order to be safe and ready in time for her coronation.
You can’t be everything at the same time, and certainly, you can’t please everyone. In 40 days of in-game time, you will simulate the daily life of a queen waiting for her coronation. On each day, she gets two time periods to educate herself on the various aspects essential for her growth, in addition to a free time slot where she can do different activities to adjust her mood, unlock certain story progression routes and classes, or get intimate with potential marriage partners to further increase the aptitude of the young queen regarding her rulership.
Elodie is still a fledgling, surrounded by many adults who conduct themselves very differently and bear heavy responsibilities. In order to work on your body and mind, you will also need to prepare your soul accordingly. You can’t for example, practice military warfare and sword fighting, unless you are brave and ‘Willful’ enough to actually get into wars with other countries.
Players will be tested after they have spent some time honing their skills. Aside from studying and leisurely strolls in the gardens on the weekends, Elodie has to carry on with her royal duties. The queen-in-waiting will be asked to resolve conflicts, make diplomatic negotiations with different countries, get into wars, or even study magic and discover her true origins as a lumen sorceress. There are multiple scenarios varying in importance and weight, and making up your mind on each of them will not only involve decision-making, but having the required states and skills.
If you choose to follow the teachings of your magical advisor Julianaa, you will instigate the anger of your father who advised you to avoid her (for reasons we won’t reveal here!). If, on the other hand, you decide to imprison Julianaa, you will be cut off from the path of becoming a sorceress (a lumen), but instead, you may be able to use her as a bargaining chip for future diplomatic endeavors, or use her title to give a potential marriage partner status, but this will also have its own consequences. No choice is ever black and white.
This being a text-based game, the writing will tell you that the princess overcame a certain situation with her expertise in foreign affairs or other matters. It relies instead on you having to read an excessive amount of texts in classes for context. The text does a very good job of giving this fictional kingdom personality, and it also sheds some light on the life of other NPC characters, mainly how are they related to you, your family, and your kingdom, and the political circumstances they are going through.
Some NPCs, like the ambitious Duchess Arisse, may be planning rebellions, while others will see titles and favors rather than love if you’re to get closer to them. Others, like Arisse’s stepson Adair, are too young to get married, which causes its own unique drama between him and Elodie. Some of the choices you make in court might make certain relationships more difficult; no one, for example, will be too happy to be imprisoned or exiled, which will its own uses and consequences later in the game.
There are at least 10 marriage partners to choose from, from inside and outside the Kingdom of Nova. Some suitors like Brin will follow royal custom, and send you letters and flowers in a gesture to win your heart. Others like Adair need investment in certain skills in Animal handling to push the bond forward, or other skills like Public Speaking and Conversation to be able to avoid relationship drama (and rumors of having an affair). This tension can cause you to be directly or indirectly involved in the death of certain characters, or the opposite, making you vulnerable to their own schemes aimed at killing you and usurping the throne.
Whether you are asked to execute or spare a criminal, attend a party or stay in your room, or make a diplomatic negotiation with another foreign king, you will only need to have the required amount of points to make a successful choice. Intellectual parameters like History, Economics, and Intrigue, mainly affect external affairs and the needs of the Kingdom at a large. As for other parameters like social and physical parameters, they mainly influence the type of potential marriage partners and your relationship with them.
To actually succeed in these daily challenges, you will have to get through the scenarios by trial and error. You will have to note down which challenges occur on which days, why you failed at them, and what were you supposed to do in order to overcome them. There is no premonition or warning about which upcoming event will occur and what skills it will require, which is a bit of an oversight, and means you need to
I had three 4-hour runs with Long Live The Queen. In each playthrough, I focused on different aspects of our queen, between staying enclosed in the castle to avoid assassination attempts and premature death, or taking the fight to the world to deal with the enemies of the Nova Kingdom through warfare and diplomacy. Every choice I made kept having consequences until the end of the story, and some of the depth in the writing was really surprising. I certainly appreciate how most of the decisions I made throughout the game were reflected in the text at the very end of the story.
Foreign affairs and wars can have several possible aftermaths depending on what happens. Every marriage partner will have some more information unlocked depending on how deep your relationship with them. Many characters, including your father, will unlock different outcomes depending on whether they are alive or dead, or whether you agreed or disagreed with their requests. Your future as queen is also determined by the status you have invested in. So the ending is composed of various steps and aspects that build upon each other like domino pieces, and is shown in the form of 8 or 9 screens, each one concerning a different side of your 40 days rule.
The number of choices and the amount of micromanagement in Long Live The Queen can be overwhelming; each day entails scrolling between multiple choices and parameters to keep track of things. Having touch controls on Nintendo Switch made this process much easier, in addition to the option to skip already-read text. But the lack of a chart or a compendium for the characters, and how are they related to us at any moment in the story, made it much harder to keep track of them, and work on the necessary skills to engage with those characters.
The subtle and ambient piano music goes well with each scene and it adds another layer of immersion in the princess’s situation. The fictional world doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression, but the characters, their bonds, and their intertwined fates are compelling, making Long Live The Queen an exceptional choice-based game with a depth of possibilities that makes it far more than just your usual ‘princess maker’ game.