Life or Death Simulator?
It is easy to see how Long Live the Queen compares to Princess Maker. You have a princess you need to train to become the queen, and she has a lot of stats, different classes to attend, and some out-of-class activities. The girl also has moods, which adds dimension to planning her schedule. If she is not in the mood to learn manners, she might fail pretty badly.
But what should she learn first? Well, Long Live the Queen has a very curious way of directing you toward the best strategy.
By killing the princess in increasingly gruesome ways.
That’s right, you are not very likely to just guess how to train your princess. To succeed (or at least keep the girl alive), you will need to learn through trial and error that manners can prevent a war and that divination is surprisingly important. And while you are learning how to navigate a world where most people want you dead, your princess will be failing, making a fool of herself, and, yes, dying. The dying achievements are pretty cute, though.
While the style of the game is cutesy, the plot is anything but that. Be prepared to deal with real intrigue, assassination attempts, arranged marriages, freak accidents, and diplomacy. Every wrong step can mean a war, and a war can mean a slowly (or immediately) approaching bad end.
The game is small; a single run can take you less than an hour, but you will need a few of those to figure out what to do. And so, you need to explore the plot, try to unlock different routes, and adjust your style (that is, the training schedule) to your specific run. If you want to see all death pictures, that will require a lot of thinking and strategizing as well.
Now, let’s take a look at our princess. You play as Elodie, the Crown Princess of Nova. Her mother passed away just recently (and rather mysteriously). Elodie will be crowned on her fifteenth birthday, and if she survives by then, she will probably rule happily ever after. But before that, she needs to learn a lot of things in under a year, including manners, history, strategy, and magic.
The plot includes a few twists and turns, and the princess will need to pass certain checks to advance in some cases. The twists are generally presented as text quests or visual novel elements. Your princess will have options to choose from, which will lead to different outcomes and let you unlock new scenarios.
Even if you understand that an option is not too good an idea, your princess might not see that depending on her education. To unlock the decisions that can actually save the kingdom, you might need to give your princess specific lessons. And, again, you learn what lessons she needs to attend before a certain event through trial and error.
The game does offer you hints if you choose the Show Feedback option in the Preferences menu. Then, you will know which checks your princess fails and learn to play the game better.
Having played Long Live the Queen a bit, we can say that it is a complex political simulator with many routes to take. You will never be able to develop all of your princess’ skills in one run because you do not have the time and because Elodie will be dead if certain skills are not developed before certain events. What it means is that a lot of players might never see certain skills developed and certain outfits unlocked. Also, learning about the twists of Elodie’s fate is very interesting the first few times, but as you memorize the game, which you have to do to win and see most endings, the plot gets less captivating.
Your final runs might consist of skipping all the dialogue and clicking the options you remember to be correct until you get to the point where you failed the last time. Failing near the end of the game is very unpleasant, by the way, and you probably will. Neither of those features is a bug; they are very much intended to be, but you might need to be aware of them before you commit to the game.
Long Live the Queen has a stunningly interesting plot full of twists that make it so difficult to guess how to develop Elodie’s skills. The plot is what sets Long Live the Queen apart, but the fact that it will not stay new forever means that the game’s replayability is limited. Still, it is a very enjoyable experience, especially for those who love political simulators and have fond memories of Princess Maker.