Long Live the Queen
Developer: Hanako Games
Publisher: Same as Above
Released on Nov 08, 2013
Long Live the Queen is an anime strategy simulator disguised as a cutesy visual novel. You are the young princess Elodie, who is still grieving the death of her mother, the Queen of Nova. You are next in line to inherit the throne, of a kingdom riddled with political conflicts between nobles and commoners. Can you give her the proper upbringing she needs to become a respectable princess?
Genre: A Strategy Simulation Game
Elodie is a 14-year old girl who is thrust into the center of complicated adult affairs that threaten the stability of the sovereign Novan kingdom. As unforeseen events lead to her rise in power, the nobles have begun plotting against her, the commoners are demanding her to represent them, and the suitors are eagerly chasing for her affections.
Elodie’s father, the king is here to make sure she gets the best tutors in every possible subject because being a princess is not an easy job in times of civil unrest and foreign invasions. You have 40 weeks before Elodie is crowned queen. Which classes should she take to impress the noble families who will be attending the upcoming grand ball?
How can she negotiate with a diplomat from Ixion who insists on occupying territory belonging to one of your nobles? Is it wise to lower taxes for the sake of appeasing everyone? Should you focus on amassing a formidable army to increase your military power? Will you transform into a magical girl to protect your domain from evil forces?
There’s no such thing as crafting a perfect princess, though some stats are definitely more important than others in the long run. I’ve often had to rely on Economics for deciding how to spend the royal budget. Maxing intrigue allowed me to deal with assassins, peasant uprisings, or foreign threats before they have a chance to attack me. You only need to get them high enough to pass events in-between your classes.
Another thing to watch out for is Elodie’s current mood. If she feels more yielding over willful, then a bonus is attributed to History and Faith lessons. On the other hand, a penalty placed on Weapons and Lumen since she has no desire to fight. You want to avoid moving the heart too off-center or else her mood is stuck and she won’t be able to learn other skills efficiently during that week.
She’s going to need extensive training in her social, intellectual, physical, and mystical skills if you want her to survive all the potential dangers lurking in the game. But for some people, meeting your untimely end is part of the fun too. Before I poke fun at the death scenes, I want to evaluate the skill tree system, each having three different categories.
Elodie can gain points in Elegance to appear graceful during the Good Lady parade. She could also learn how to smooth talk out of any sticky situation with Court Manners. Some skills such as Foreign Intelligence carry more weight in the main story than others (like Animal Handling-Horses, which isn’t used besides in the annual tournament).
Picking out morning and afternoon classes is agonizing when you have no idea which skills to specialize in. But it’s also impossible to finish training every stat when you are restricted to only two lessons per week. On the bright side, in-between classes drop helpful hints about which stats can be combined to save time.
The important thing is to keep Elodie in the right mood for her classes. For example, playing with toys makes her cheerful, yielding, and lonely.
Elodie can sneak out to gain points in willful. Visiting her mom’s grave will cause her to be afraid and depressed. Attending the service pushes her mood towards neutral by removing a point from her current mood.
There are a few more activities to unlock were she to keep training in animal handling and agility-based stats. She unlocks hunting by getting horses >50, playing tennis if her reflexes are above 30, visiting the treasury with accounting >60, and be able to tour the barracks by getting Strategy over 40.
Assuming that Elodie is already a Lumen, it would make sense to raise Sense Magic and Wield Magic in case you’re challenged to a magic duel where you must pass multiple checks to successfully cast powerful spells. Of course, you can’t really predict when you’ll need those 50 points in running just by looking at the number of weeks go by.
The game provides feedback on how well or poorly you’re doing based on its assigned skill checks. This elaborate princess-maker truly tests your determination to become queen at any cost (or die trying). Based on the choices you’ve made, Elodie’s reputation in the eyes of nobles and commoners alike will change to reflect that.
Think of it as a process of trial and error while you keep track of every outcome. A min-maxing strategy is recommended since there is no guide to this game. What most people do is create a spreadsheet or long list of each weekly event and the diverging paths resulting from them in order to predict what’s likely to happen in the future.
The real danger comes from failing too many checks when it counts. On my first try, I didn’t impress the nobles so the ruling Duchess of Lillah declared civil war, forcing me to give up my title as the princess of Nova. In another playthrough, I took an arrow to the gut and died since I didn’t have a single point in Battlefield Medicine.
There’s always next time, right? Those chocolates sure look delicious, I mean what are the odds they were poisoned? I still don’t know how to win the naval battle that occurs on week 35. Apparently, you must outnumber the enemy’s troops, built additional warships, be proficient in magic, know how to climb, and I think you get the picture.
There are several side stories to uncover once you manage to succeed on a difficult check, like attending Gwenelle’s birthday party (aka hire guards that stop a bandit ambush) to meet up with Briony which reveals the Old Forest adventure. Hiring the musician Sabine as a spy lets you find out who is behind those assassination attempts that killed you in past playthroughs.
New clothing is unlocked only after obtaining 25 points in all three categories of a skill group. The best way to max out your stats is to put on an outfit that matches the skills you’re trying to improve. What Elodie is wearing could mean the difference between life and death, the outfits designed for practicality rather than pandering fanservice.
In the end, what really matters is Elodie’s survival as she graduates from being a mere princess to a respectable queen. By taking note of every little detail, from internal conflicts to the titles of noble families, you’ve presented yourself as a capable leader. Now begs the question: Who should Elodie marry to create a prosperous future for the kingdom?
The epilogue explains what happens to Nova under your rule. After overcoming one hell of an ordeal to get here, you are finally rewarded with an ending befitting of your actions. Did she invest in a printing press? Was a hospital founded to treat sick commoners? How were the foreign invaders dealt with? Are people still afraid of lumen magic?
There are many more endings to achieve when replayability is considered. And Long Live the Queen is filled with unpredictable outcomes to keep you interested in strategizing the events before the coronation of a really unlucky, pink-haired girl.