Sunday, June 12, 2016

Long Live the Queen - 9/20 hours

Playing games has been a bit sporadic of late. I'm in the middle of looking for a new apartment. The chaos of having to move has been pretty stressful, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that a game where you can be unexpectedly murdered at any moment may not be the most welcome influence at this time. Regular posting will resume in a couple of weeks when things get settled down a bit more (fingers crossed). 

Of course, it's possible to overstate the case. A lot of the humor of Long Live the Queen comes from the disconnect between its glossy, cute presentation and the absolute grimness of its storyline. Your viewpoint character, Elodie, is in constant peril from a variety of forces both natural and supernatural, and only a ruthless optimization of the character-advancement mechanics can save her. However, it's not exactly a gripping tale of suspense.

There's no real sense of building dread. Though a lot of the events seem connected to each other in subtle and surprising ways, each week nevertheless feels like an atomic unit. You face your challenge and you either pass or your fail, but if you survive, the challenge's effect on the future is too opaque to really spare much thought to contemplate.

The repetition probably plays a roll as well. I must have gone through the day 3 snakebite event at least 20 times already and it has subsequently lost its power to move me. Events later in the game may still have the potential, but even then, by the time I manage to get through them, I'll have read the lead-up events a half-dozen times and my mood will lean more towards curiosity about the ending than true engagement with the story.

My opinion of Long Live the Queen is still evolving, but I think it's more of an idle curiosity than a great game qua game or story qua story. The path to get through the plot is too winding, it doubles back on itself too often. And the skill you need to master to advance is a weird combination of memorization and time management. I like its unique combination of sweetness and grimness, but the actual game itself, I could take it or leave it.

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