Ever wonder if you could have done better than Mary Stuart? Or how well you would do in Sansa Stark shoes in King’s Landing? Have you been disappointed by your lack of agency as Meera in Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series? Long Live The Queen might give you some fun.
What is it about?
So in Long Live the Queen, you are going to play Elodie, Crown Princess of Nova. She used to be in boarding school, but her mother passed away recently from Mysterious ConditionTM. So she comes back to the castle in order to become Queen herself.
The goal of the game is to bring Elodie to her coronation. For that you are going with her to classes, make new friends, obtain new outfits, and go to parties in the most pinksparkling magical girl design I have ever seen.
The trick is, this a strategy game, and a goddamn complicated one at that. Because everything and everyone wants to kill you/marry you against your will/steal your kingdom etc. And this is an accurate description of how you will feel after trying and failing again to make Elodie Queen:
Rule the world or die trying!
This is it. This is the first sentence of the games description on Steam. Because you are going to die a lot while playing this game. It’s a die and try again game. And you can nearly here the game creators laugh with you at every turn you didn’t take and ended up smashing your face against another wall.
The system of the game is quite simple. You have to manage your emotions and then takes class in order to improve your capacity in different domain ranging from learning magic to court manners while passing through military tactic and hawking. Of course, your emotions make learning some subject easier and other harder. But you will need to attain a certain level in a certain subject in order to comprehend what’s happening around you and advance positively.
For example, you will need a certain level in divination or hawking in order to understand that seeing an hawl during the day is an omen. If you haven’t the capacity in one of this subject then your Elodie will be like “Oh, a bird of prey!” and the game will tell you that you have failed your hawking and divination test.
Sometimes it is of no direct consequences, but it will end up bitting you in the ass, I promisse, and sometimes it is your imminent demise.
You will be poisoned, maimed, drowned, dethroned, zapped out this world (and other joyful activities) by your cousins, fellows kings, people etc. And every time you will come back angrier at yourselves and at the other characters, knowing where not to stick your feet just to fell in another trap two days later.
It’s incredibly frustrating. It’s incredibly addicting.
Long Live The Queen is Really Fun
Now, whatever those higher gamers might say, I strongly believe that a video game should be fun and entertaining before everything else. And it’s true that most of the time I have issue with die and try again games. Because they are hard for the sole purpose of being hard, in an elitist way.
But there is a purpose to making Long Live The Queen the way it is. It serves the irony that makes the concept so incredibly new and great. A strategic, visual story, a game where you can die at every step, where you don’t know which character to trust or not, plays into the most basic shojo esthetic ever. Elodie is a goddamn magical girl! And she is tricked into forced mariage, can send people to there death etc etc. The opposition is so striking and so satisfying that I don’t understand how it is not made more often.
I mean without the ‘fanservice’ that we find most of the time in the pseudo ironic anime inspired indie games.
The fact that there are a lot of ways of going on in this game, a lot of bad endings and different ‘good’ endings, also makes the try-again more bearable. It’s not as if you are going to do the exact same thing. You might even not meet the same obstacle as you go a second time. There is also a lot of lore in there, which makes following different classes (even if they lead you to your death) entertaining. Sometimes some of the data is difficult to remember… How are you Elodie’s cousin again? And of course you don’t learn everything the first time you play.
I still don’t know who is responsible for Elodie’s mother’s death. Because I am sure she has been assassinated (let’s be real, in this world it would be weird if she hadn’t been) but who did the deed is still a mystery. And all of these little things about Long Live The Queen make starting the game over and over again nearly painless. You are going to skip some dialogue though.
Long Live The Queen is sold on Steam for less than 10€. It’s worth them. It is really good for killing time, however it might do that too well. You can spend the entire afternoon on this if you like this kind of games.
I should give it another try. So I can maybe put Elodie on the throne this time around. Who knows if I avoid the chocolats, if I manage the revolt, if this time I kill my neighbor king rather than being killed by him I might actually beat the game… Well?
Oh God fucking Damnit!
Images Courtesy of Hanako Games