Long Live the Queen: Is this Dark Souls?
Long Live the Queen is a visual novel game by Hanako Games, created in 2013 at the start of the "weird dating sim" trend that included Hatoful Boyfriend and Jurassic Heart.
The crown princess, Elodie, is groomed by an attractive anime king after her mother dies from "anime protagonist parental death syndrome." She leaves "school" to be trained by a flurry of tutor. I’m not sure what kind of school teaches crown princesses, but this is a fantasy game so I’ll let it slide.
The mechanics of the game is sort of like a dating sim except arguably less creepy. You’ve got to groom the princess to become the queen and make sure her mood is good since, you know, her mom just died. The tutorial is not very user-friendly. It throws, like, a million empty skills at you and starts explaining math problems. I just kind of skimmed it and decided to wing it.
That turned out to be a bad idea.
Instead of figuring out all the numbers or whatever (nerds!), I just tried to pick what I thought was best for the princess. I started with falconry lessons in the morning (badass!) and sword lessons in the evening. As it turns out, your mood gives you penalties or bonuses to certain skills. Understanding this process is key to doing well in the game. You either need to look up a chart or use a lot of trial and error to figure the system out.
Multiple playthroughs are necessary. I managed to get to the "final boss" of the game on my own, but actually beating the game requires a few very specific methods where you have to study certain skills, some of which are useless until the end of the game. The game does give you some hints about which skills you need when certain characters advise you about magic or diplomacy.
As rulers go, the king is useless. You'll pretty much have to solve everyone’s problems while he goes:
Bluh bluh! I hate magic! My wife’s dead! Bluh bluh!
Seeing that I had no help in Elodie's father, I decided to focus on learning about military and internal affairs to protect myself. You'll know you're on the right track when you unlock outfits that give you stat bonuses. I got a military outfit for my budding queen. Unfortunately, it didn't do me much good when I was betrayed.
There are so many nobles to remember, as well as foreign affairs! I felt about as lost and confused as the princess herself.
Unfortunately, I didn’t focus on poison and died by assassination shortly after quelling a civil war. After I died, I realized there was a save game option. I honestly didn’t know I could save the game. The interface is kind of borked.
Long Live the Queen is surprisingly challenging and also surprisingly dark. While I'm not a fan of the genre, this is a rare gem in a slurry of poorly-written text adventures.
I would play LLtQ again but maybe using a spreadsheet and a calculator next time.
Image source: Header image via dadsgamingaddiction.com; king image via in-game screenshot