Long Live The Queen Is The Pretty Princess Simulator You’ve Always Wanted

Princesses aren’t uncommon in video games. It’s pretty safe to say that princesses have been in video games for only slightly less time than video games themselves have existed. Most […]

Princesses aren’t uncommon in video games. It’s pretty safe to say that princesses have been in video games for only slightly less time than video games themselves have existed. Most of the time you are saving them. Games like Mario and The Legend of Zelda feature this all-too common story hook. Everyone agrees these games are great but it doesn’t give the princess much to do (though I guess Zelda got to be a ninja and a pirate so maybe she doesn’t count) Sometimes you’ll get to actually play as the princess. She’ll join our heroes, go on adventures, and maybe even bust a few heads. These games, however, are not about what it’s like to be a princess. Princesses don’t lie around all day waiting for someone to rescue them and very rarely do the go charge into battle against armies of orcs. Being a princess holds responsibilities, duties, and the fate of an entire nation depends on you.

Enter Long Live The Queen, a game all about being a princess, complete with the dangers and responsibilities the come along with the title. It’s produced by Hanako Games, a company that specializes in games for girls that don’t adhere to the traditional stereotypes of games for girls being… well, not very good. You play Princess Elodie and your mother has recently died. Your coronation as Queen is coming up and you need to prepare for your duties as Queen. In true video game fashion, nearly everything you encounter is trying to kill you. It’s up to you to choose what skills will make you the best rulers and help you survive until your coronation.

The concept alone is pretty strong in how unique it is. It was strong enough to make me forgive how poorly-done the tutorial is. The game is focused on time-management and choices, so it is understandable that the tutorial might not be the most engaging. They actually need to be wordy to express what you’re doing, since it will be clicking a bunch of buttons to raise a bunch of numbers. However the text-only tutorial actually made the game seem more complex than it actually was. Thankfully, after a few clicks you’ll begin to understand the core mechanics of the game and find yourself compelled to continue.

The game is daunting at first. There are many skills for you to learn and your mood affects how good you are at learning them. For example, if you’re angry you will be better at learning how to use a sword or military strategy but you’ll be at a disadvantage to learning court etiquette or animal handling. In your free time you’ll be able to change your mood with certain actions. Sneaking out makes you more willful and lonely while playing with your toys makes you more cheerful and yielding. To learn the skills you want you’ll have to make sure to regulate your mood.

Choosing which skills you want may be the most complex part though. The skills range from the obvious like swordplay and magic to the unconventional like courtly manners and medicine knowledge to the the esoteric like falconry and dance. Almost all of the abilities have uses, but generalization is a good way to be bad at everything. This makes it so that a relatively short game can be played in numerous ways, which gives it a value beyond its initial short first playthrough. On my first playthrough I ended up focusing on military prowess and magic. She ended up being rather tyrannical in retrospect, honestly, but it was fun to see all my magic studies pay off as I quelled a peasant rebellion with fire.

The plot is basic. It does branch, depending on what you choose. If you go out to sea with the navy, things turn out differently than if you had stayed behind. It even has romance options, some of which are same sex. Same sex romances are more difficult to achieve but it’s still appreciated that it happens to be there. There’s a very clear sense of humor charged through the entire thing as well. Deaths are punctuated by cartoonish -well more cartoonish than usual- images of the manner in which your demise occurs. One of my favorites is Elodie having gorged herself on poison chocolate. The game encourages you to explore and experiment and even provides achievements for having died in every possible way.

Long Live The Queen is a budget title and it doesn’t have the depth of many similar games. However, if the premise is appealing the ten-dollar price tag isn’t too huge an investment and returns well beyond its price. Fans of more unique fantasy ideas, intrigue, and of course princesses will no doubt be entertained.