Gaming

The Queen is Dead — Again: Ruling the World Through Hanako Games’ Long Live the Queen

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Since last November, the same conversation keeps happening among the Princess vs Peril staff.

It usually goes something like this:

PERSON 1: Dude, why haven’t we posted something about Long Live the Queen yet?

PERSON 2: I thought you were writing about it.

PERSON 1: I thought YOU were writing about it.

I don’t know why it’s taken so long. The Hanako Games gem fits almost every criteria for PvP adoration: clever, charming, and starring an awesome female lead. Also unlockable costumes. We love unlockable costumes.

The premise is similar to other princess maker games: mold fourteen-year-old Elodie into the queen she’s meant to be over the course of forty weeks. It’s your job to fill Elodie’s days with the correct classes, talents, and extracurriculars, all of which you choose through a series of menus.

There’s also some RPG elements. Over the course of the game, Elodie must make decisions about the usual kingdom stuff: taxes, engagements, assassinations, the constant threat of her own sudden and untimely demise…

Did I mention Long Live the Queen takes its name really seriously?

E is for Elodie, who just got eaten by a tentacled monster ooooops

E is for Elodie, who just got eaten by a kraken ooooops.

Some Spoilers Follow.

The first time my Elodie died, it was thanks to a box of poisoned chocolates. Elodie could have avoided her fate if she’d spent more time learning about the nation’s economy and, subsequently, its chocolatiers. But she’d been so sad at the beginning of the game, her face so downcast every time I forced her to take another boring trade lesson. I encouraged her to dance instead because dancing is a mood-booster, right?

Well, I guess it would be if it didn’t leave you dead.

The second time my Elodie died…well, let’s just say it wasn’t my most stunning naval victory.

Time three: bandits? Bandits!

“WHAT IS THIS, GAME OF THRONES?” I roared at my laptop.

Kind of, yeah, with a little Gashlycrumb Tinies thrown in. Beneath its playful cotton-candy exterior, LLTQ is downright dark and full of some pretty surprising themes. It’s also tricky: every decision you make directly impacts the story and its outcome.

Attempts No. 462: Turn Elodie Into Nick Fury, Stab Everything

Attempt No. 462: Turn Elodie Into Nick Fury, Stab Everything.

For example, after death number four or so, I noticed something happening to Elodie. Each time I changed my strategy, it changed Elodie, too. As I grew more ruthless, so did she. Pretty soon the sweet, naive girl from a few games ago was keeping spies on the payroll and ordering “accidents.”

Make it look like an accident, if you know what I mean.

Time to channel The Godfather.

Elodie doesn’t have to kill half the nobles of the land to become queen, though, and that’s really the charm of LLTQ. She can be anything: magical girl, spymaster, orator. I don’t even know all the ways to win the throne and I’ve sunk ten hours into this game.

The important thing is that Elodie always owns her power. Each time I got Elodie to the throne, it was directly related to her own strength and ability to navigate some literal and figurative treacherous waters. Maybe she was cunning, or persuasive, or kicked butt in battle. Didn’t matter — it was always her, ringlets and all.

LLTQ also flies in the face of the old “authentic sexism in fantasy” argument which is pretty much bullshit on every level. Is LLTQ a fantasy game set in a vaguely historical European setting? Yes. Elodie is also the barely-teenaged heir of a matrilineal kingdom that holds festivals in honor of a “Great Lady” goddess figure. And remember when I mentioned she could become a magical girl?

But guess what: the world works. It not only works, it’s a refreshing change from every other fantasy game that uses a false conception of “history” to justify sexism.

Overall, I really love Long Live the Queen. It’s not for gamers who want action or lots of bloodshed. But if you like helping pink-haired girls rule the world, it’s the title for you.

Writer, knitter, firebrand. Likes superheroes, cats, and changing the world.

2 Comments

  1. Victoria

    June 30, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    I’ve put six hours in and I’ve managed to beat the game only once. And yet I keep going back to it. Damn it, Elodie. I will find every way to kill you!

    • Kelly

      July 1, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      It’s so frustratingly hard! And wonderful!

      I can’t get the kraken ending EVER.

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