Review: Long Live the Queen

Long Live the Queen (LLtQ) is a darkly cute, somewhat macabre strategy/simulation game. You are Crown Princess Elodie, fourteen and heir to the throne after the sudden death of your mother. You’ve returned home from boarding school to be trained in the ways of court before your coronation on your 15th birthday.

Assuming, that is, you live that long. There are many others who would love to take the throne for themselves. Assassins, rebels, usurpers, monsters and other dangers abound and it’s up to you to navigate the morass and survive to coronation.

LLtQ is a visual novel (basically a digital choose-your-own-adventure) where the game progresses through a series of discussions and events. There is no button mashing or exploring; it’s all about the choices you make that will determine the path the story takes.

Elodie has a broad set of skills she can train that affect how well she can react to events. How well she can train those skills depends on her mood. Her mood, in turn, is influenced by the decisions you make throughout the game. However, she can only study up to two skills at a time and there are so many skills that it’s impossible to train them all effectively.

For such a simple premise, the game is right on the edge of addictive. I’ve not yet come close to surviving, but after each death I feel compelled to give it one more shot. However, it can also get repetitive as you need to go through all of the same events again in the same order every time you restart. Saving helps this, but only if you’re willing to keep your skills are they are.

Throughout the game LLtQ maintains a cutesy, amusing vibe. The deaths can be horrible (she’s been stabbed, poisoned and shot through with an arrow, among others), but the imagery is adorable. There is a good bit of humor in the dialogue as well; it won’t have you laughing out loud, but it will keep you entertained through a lazy afternoon. ┬áIf you like visual novels, or are looking for a twist on the traditional strategy game, LLtQ may be just the thing for you.

Long Live the Queen is available for PC, Mac and Linux and just about any computer less than ten years old can play it. I picked up my copy from Steam, but you can also buy it (or download the demo) from the company’s website: http://www.hanakogames.com/llq.shtml.

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