There are some indie games you never truly forget about and Long Live the Queen was definitely one of those. It’s a quirky visual novel where you have to balance stats and skills to try and get your Princess through the events that occur. With multiple story choices and a light management style of gameplay you’ll likely be reminded of games such as Yes, Your Grace which feel similar. Given Long Live the Queen came out nearly 10 years ago it’s fantastic to see the HD version finding its way to consoles (aside from Switch, Long Live The Queen is also coming out on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Microsoft Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S this week)
Long Live the Queen starts off dropping you in at the deep end with a Princess who’s now being fast-tracked to be Queen after the sudden death of her mother. Each week is broken down into a choice of her lessons, a piece of story and a choice of activity for the weekend. You’ll then repeat those actions until you either reach an ending or (more likely) die trying. There is a lot of fantastically written dark humour throughout Long Live the Queen and if you’ve played and enjoyed Reigns before you’ll get plenty out of this. The relationship between characters can be changed drastically depending on your actions and the real weight to those choices make Long Live the Queen still fun to play today.
Each week you’ll chose 2 classes for the Princess to take and depending on the Princess’ mood you’ll get a bonus or detriment to the stats these classes increase. Once you reach a certain point in one specific discipline for a skill, you’ll need to level up the other 2 disciplines to further the skill as a whole and continue increasing the disciplines. These stats are used as checks during the story to see if you fail or pass and to what degree. Quite early on if you’ve levelled up your reflexes or elegance you’ll succeed in avoiding a maid falling into you and this little change can have a cascade of options later in the story, it’s largely guesswork at the start but you’ll start focusing on specific skills depending on the story you want to see.
Long Live the Queen on console is essentially the same game as PC but now (on the Switch version) it has touchscreen support which makes quickly choosing from the lessons and options a snap. The story encourages the player to repeat to find different ways to progress and change outcomes much in the same way Overboard! does. Long Live the Queen also gives you the option to skip previously seen dialogue at the touch of a button. You’ll be dying and diving right back in to see how differently things can be in no time but if you want to be cautious there is a save and load system with 3 screens worth of saves to use.
The default HD option in Long Live the Queen updates a lot of the graphics and backgrounds and if you turn this off in the options it does start to show its age. There’s no voice acting but frankly it’s better for it as the text is readable and once you get to grips with the gameplay it’s fairly self explanatory. The short looping music is pleasant and non-intrusive enough that it helpfully signposts important moments. There is a checklist to see which deaths, epilogues and achievements you’ve missed but no spoilers are given allowing an extra layer of challenge.
Long Live the Queen has a few quirks still. It’s annoying that the blue highlighted options are the one’s you’re picking and this indication could have done with a little more to make it obvious (the first option of ‘have you played before’ had me choosing the wrong option before realising this) There’s a lot of skipping through previous text where choices can flash up and accidentally be picked. Although you unlock outfits when your skills are high enough that provide a small boost to your stats these do not carry between playthroughs. It can be a little tedious to unlock the same outfits over and over. It’s also a little disappointing there’s no options to change the text size or borders.
Despite the niggles playing Long Live the Queen is always a blast. It’s a fantastic example of what can be achieved with great writing and an interesting system woven into a visual novel. The aesthetic and magic girl cover art is both a fantastic indicator of what can be achieved in the story and devilish twist given how unlikely you are to achieve it on your first playthrough. In a market packed with huge deep ‘epic’ visual novels Long Live the Queen stands out as a short, sharp and fun game that you’ll want to pick up and play for a few loops just to see if you can make it.
8/10 – The Queen can live a little longer on consoles
Long Live The Queen is a game by Hanako Games and you can play a free PC/Mac/Linux demo and get some free wallpapers here!
Review code provided by PR Hound check them out here