Review: Long Live the Queen for Windows, Mac, Linux

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Title: Long Live the Queen
Price: $12.95
System(s): Windows, Mac, Linux
Release Date: June 1, 2012
Publisher (Developer): Hanako Games (Hanako Games and Spiky Caterpillar)
ESRB Rating: N/A. Since the princess dies fairly easily, I’d say it’s best for players ages 12 and up.
Pros: There are lots of different classes for the princess to take an a description tells you exactly what she’s learning from each one, classes actually have an effect on the story, leveling up all three classes in one discipline earns you a stat boosting outfit, the princess’ mood can make it easier or harder to learn different skills, you can choose what the princess does on weekends, you can choose how the princess handles certain event situations and there’s an in-game achievement system in place.
Cons: It takes about two playthroughs to really start understanding the right way to raise a princess and keep her alive. Events aren’t random so if you’re keeping notes, you can keep track of the right way to do things. Music is generic.
Overall Score: Two thumbs up, 90/100, A-, * * * * out of 5

Hanako Games and Spiky Caterpillar have simulation games down pat. These are the people who put together Cute Knight, Cute Knight Kingdom and Magical Diary after all, three simulations that take the popular Princess Maker formula of helping a character grow over a period of time by choosing the right classes and activities into someone formidable and powerful. Most importantly, they’re all games for girls that can also be enjoyed by anyone.

Long Live the Queen continues that tradition of providing a strong life simulation experience, but also shows the companies have grown up and matured. This tale is darker and more demanding than usual, but is still just as captivating as their earlier titles.

A lot of people want to assassinate a crown princess

Elodie is the princess of Caloris. To be more specific, she used to be just a princess. Now that her mother has suddenly died, she’s in training to be queen. Nova is a matriarchal kingdom that has always been ruled by a woman, which means she has to leave her normal school life behind and begin an intensive regimen of training to prepare herself for her coronation and reign as queen in 40 weeks. She doesn’t even get time to mourn. It’s a turbulent and emotional time, which in turn influences her every action. Each event affects Elodie’s mental state and how she feels can help or hinder her progress.

To make things even more complicated, Elodie is on everyone’s hit list. A country without a monarch is vulnerable, even more so when the next in line to rule is a 14 year old girl. She has enemies everywhere and if she doesn’t keep moving forward and learning, she could very easily end up dead. Not to mention she also has to decide if she wants to learn magic and become a Lumen, just like her mother was.

Elodie will be made queen of Nova on her 15th birthday. If you can keep her alive until her coronation, she might just have a chance at living a long and happy life. If she fails, well, let’s not think about that.

Keep notes, because keeping a princess alive is hard.

At it’s core, Long Live the Queen is deceptively simple. You have to keep Princess Elodie alive for 40 weeks. You accomplish this by having her attend classes which increase her knowledge and boost her skills. The twist is, emotions and choices made during the weekend event segments also play a large part in how effective her training is and her survival.

Here’s how a week basically proceeds. You first have to check the princess’ stats to see which areas are getting a boost that week from her mood. For example, if she’s angry she’ll be better at learning athletic skills or activities, like fencing or swimming. If she’s cheerful, lumen (magic) classes will be easier. At one point when my princess’ mood was very lonely and quite afraid, she would get massive boosts if she took classes in conversation, lumen, expression and medicine. After seeing where the boosts and penalties are, you choose one subject for her morning classes that week and one subject for her evening classes. You’ll then get to see what she learned in the subjects that week.

After the class period is over, Long Live the Queen‘s event and weekend scenes appear. When an event scene occurs, some of the skills the princess has or hasn’t learn come into play. If she’s knowledgeable enough, something good happens or she can make a more informed decision. If she’s not, then she could make an uninformed decision or even die. It’s complicated. Once the event scene is over, you then get to decide her weekend activity, which influences her mood for the next week. Attending court almost always makes her feel pressured, depressed and yielding. Visiting the treasury, on the other hand, makes her more willful. It’s all about balancing things out.

The trick is to accept that Elodie isn’t going to be perfect. She’s going to fail a lot of the skill checks during events. Your goal is to just keep track of what’s happening and prepare multiple save files (you can have up to 104) so you can backtrack to an earlier point to make a different choice or focus on another skill or trait if necessary. Plus, you earn special outfits for Elodie after reaching certain plateaus in the trio of subskills under each ability that boost all three abilities when worn. Long Live the Queen is a challenging adventure that requires you to pay attention to ensure you’re making the correct choices.

An dark and intriguing take on a life simulation.

I adored Long Live the Queen. In particular, I like how it made me think. When you work with this princess, you can’t afford to be frivilous or go for balance. You have to pick certain strengths for her from the very start, or risk losing her halfway through the process because you didn’t teach her enough about diplomacy or fencing. Then, after about two playthroughs of figuring out what you have to do and backtracking through old save games to reach an ending where the princess survives, I found myself checking the achievements and discovering there were events I’d never seen because of the choices I’d made. It’s really an unusual adventure and I admire Hanako Games and Spiky Caterpillar for stepping a little outside their comfort zone to release a darker game that requires players to think smart and manage emotions to keep a character alive.

Site [Long Live the Queen]

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