Long Live the Queen – Review
Follow Genre: Visual novel, rpg
Developer: Hanako Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Platform: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: Switch

Long Live the Queen – Review

Site Score
Good: A lot of replayability through branching endings
Bad: Obtuse skill system
User Score
(0 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

A full decade after Long Live the Queen debuted on PC, publisher Ratalaika Games is bringing Hanako Games’ visual novel to consoles. It’s a niche title that flew under our radar, but given that it received almost universal praise on Steam, we were eager to discover what we’d missed out on. Of course, the majority of the positive reception can be traced back to when the game originally launched, so if it still holds up 10 years later is a different story altogether.


Given that Long Live the Queen is a visual novel, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the story is the strongest element present here. Set in a fantasy version of late 1800s Europe, Long Live the Queen tells the story of 14-year-old Elodie, the crown princess of Nova. When our story begins, Elodie’s mother has just passed away, and now the princess has one year to prepare for her coronation and take up her rightful part as the new ruler of Nova. This isn’t an easy task, of course, as the young and inexperienced Elodie has to start from scratch. There are political adversaries, arranged marriages, assassins, and foreign affairs to deal with, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s also the little fact that Elodie is a Lumen, someone naturally adept at performing magic -something the common folk look at with suspicion. The way the story flows depends on your choices as well as on the skills you choose to develop -more on that later- so we can’t quite delve into the story as much as we’d want as it is very likely your experience will turn out entirely different than ours, but although the writing is Long Live the Queen’s strongest part, that isn’t saying a lot.

The narrative felt uneven at times and the game often only gives half of the information you need or doesn’t motivate character decisions. As an example, when Elodie is presented with the option of marrying Banion, a character more than twice her age, nobody bats an eye when she chooses to do so, despite her being only 14. There is no real buildup to specific events either, and many plot elements depend on Elodie passing a skill check without looking at how this influences the game further down the line. At a certain point in our run, an attempt to poison Elodie by the duchy of Kigal failed, but there were no consequences for the duke of Kigal. It’s difficult to start caring about Elodie if the choices she makes don’t make sense in the grand scheme of things. Despite there being a large number of potential plot outcomes, the game still railroads you towards them and the focus seems to be on having the player attempt to stay alive rather than tell a compelling story.


We realize that Long Live the Queen is a decade-old game, so we can forgive some of the choices that were made aesthetically, but this isn’t a game that is easy on the eyes. The portraits look like they were pulled from one of those early 2000s ‘how to draw anime characters’ books. Apart from Elodie herself, the other characters only have a single wonky portrait, with their expressions not changing regardless of which emotion the story attempts to convey. Not a lot of effort was put into making the story itself visually interesting either. The only moment where we were treated to something different was when Elodie unlocked her magical abilities, and during the game’s epilogue; and even then these were simply static images. Add to this that the game’s interface simply looks dated and no effort was put into stylistic consistency and you’ve got a very sloppy-looking title. On top of that, you’ll be staring at the same two backgrounds -either Elodie’s bedroom or an outside view of the castle- and you’ll also start to get annoyed with the lack of visual variety.


With no voice acting present, very limited sound effects, and just generic piano music in the background, there isn’t a whole lot we can say about Long Live the Queen’s soundscape. This just further cements the feeling we had when it came to the visuals: Long Live the Queen is a title that could have used some more work on its presentation.


Although Long Live the Queen has some light RPG elements built in, the game is still a visual novel at heart. Most of your time with the game is spent reading and making choices that influence the story. Compared to other visual novels, however, there is an additional element that determines the outcome of your choices: there is a wide array of skills that you can build up, and these influence how successful a choice you make turns out to be. This allows Long Live the Queen to provide players with a much bigger amount of potential endings -many of them resulting in the death of a 14-year-old girl. Even if you manage to let Elodie survive up to her coronation, a happy ending isn’t guaranteed because those early-game choices also influence your rule as a queen, as presented through the epilogue.

You also only have a limited amount of time in which you can build up your skills, and our first try didn’t end well as we assumed that the game would just ease us into things. Instead of focusing on specific skills, we were simply winging it, resulting in not having any particular skill at the level we needed them to be. It’s impossible to play Long Live the Queen with a balanced skillset, and instead, you’ll need to focus on leveling up particular skills, as well as focusing on different skills between runs. The game doesn’t quite explain this and relies on trial and error. This does mean that there is a lot of replayability present here, but you’re better off jotting down the outcome of choices on a piece of paper or saving and reloading your game a lot.

The obtuseness of working on skills is emphasized by how poorly implemented the menus are. When you’re preparing to take classes and level up specific skills, you need to switch between a chart that lists your proficiency in any skill and a separate menu where you decide which skill you wish to focus on, as well as a menu where you can keep track of Elodie’s emotions. Her emotional state determines how much specific skills will be increased: if she’s feeling more depressed than cheerful, for example, then she’ll be better at performing music. In between classes and story events, you need to choose a weekend activity, which alters Elodie’s emotions, so you’ll constantly be juggling between influencing specific emotions and choosing the skills you want to improve. It can feel overwhelming and it isn’t made better by the fact that you don’t even know which events await you and which skills you need to focus on in the first place.

When you reach a certain skill level, you’ll unlock an additional outfit for Elodie, which boosts the related skill even further. We didn’t quite see the point of boosting specific skills beyond what was necessary to progress the story, but with the sheer amount of potential endings, these are likely to unlock additional content after you reach a specific threshold. Not that we’d aim to do so, as Long Live the Queen simply didn’t feel engaging enough to play over and over again in order to see every ending. This is in part because of the aforementioned sloppy presentation, of course, but also because of how inaccessible this game feels.


We’re not sure if we’d have enjoyed Long Live the Queen more if we had played it when it was released back in 2012, as our standards have changed since then, but the visual novel just doesn’t hold up in 2022. Not only are there far better alternatives out there in the visual novel genre in general, but the disappointing presentation, obtuse skill system, and shaky writing all add up to a game that just isn’t worth shelling out your hard-earned cash for.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

1 Comment

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Aquadine – Review
    September 2, 2022, 00:01

    […] Ratalaika Games as a company that likes to bring unconventional titles to the public, like Long Live the Queen or Anodyne 2, so we were somewhat surprised when their latest release turned out to be a rather […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.