After three disappointing episodes of Game of Thrones, we decided to embrace our inner anime Sansa and play this delightful game of court intrigue. Let us persuade you to do the same.
The transcript for the scripted portion is below. We’ll add one for the unscripted discussion ASAP!
Welcome back to Push to Smart! Today we’re doing something different. We were a little hard on TellTale Games’ Game of Thrones–in no small part because it’s terrible–but we didn’t want to be a little black raincloud over your gaming week. Today, we’re going to suggest what we hope is a more fun alternative for those who, like us and enjoyed the Game of Thrones’ Mira segments the most: Long Live The Queen by Hanako Games.
In the game, you play as Elodie, a young princess mere months away from her coronation as queen. You must manage Elodie’s daily classes to learn everything from queenly etiquette to animal wrangling, and manipulate her mood to ensure her studies progress efficiently. However, this is made more difficult by a turbulent story of political intrigue and magic.
The game lies its framework bare when it informs you whether you have made enough progress in your studies to pass the day’s challenges. Victory is sweet, but failures are all the more apparent, encouraging you to try new avenues of study while living with past mistakes. Regret becomes a both a motivating factor and fuels a constant sense of dread that seems contrary to the game’s colorful aesthetic.
With great power comes not only great responsibility, but a growing target on Elodie’s forehead. In addition to learning her queenly role and magical history, Elodie must stay one step ahead of the various assassination attempts, coups, and other possible downfalls that might prevent her from seeing her coronation day. You’ll fall often in Long Live the Queen, but Elodie’s death feels less like a failure and more like a second chance. The game both encourages and requires multiple playthroughs to try out all of Elodie’s possible skills–and tempt all of her possible fates–in order to finally reach coronation day.
The disappointing Game of Thrones left us wanting a game of court intrigue, and Long Live the Queen looks like it might be that game.
STACEY: So what did you think?
JAYLEE: I actually really loved it.
STACEY: Me, too!
JAYLEE: I actually got it during the humble bundle valentine’s/romance pack that had the pigeon dating simulator. (Laughs) That was the big draw for me, but I think this might be the star of that pack. As we have talked, in length on the episode, I love Mira’s segments but I don’t ever feel like it goes far enough and most recently in our Game of Thrones episode I mentioned the biggest issue I have in the game is how often you fail and you never have a win. And in this game you fail a lot, but it feels completely different.
JAYLEE: It feels like you are given a second chance, like you know what to do and it’s not just a game over screen. You have that experience and you know what you’re getting yourself into and you can play things a little bit differently and hopefully not die the same way.
STACEY: (Laughs) Yeah, I think that’s what’s so interesting is the way that it communicates failure. Because it is constant, and you will always have that constant sense of dread the minute you see… Like she’ll say something really positive and you’ll see “Poison Challenge: Failed” and its like “Oh, crap.”
STACEY: ‘Cause there was one instance in particular where it said “Poison Challenge: Failed,” “Dog Challenge: Failed” and I was just like “What do these two things have in common?” and then you texted me this morning saying “My dog just saved me from poisoned chocolates!”
JAYLEE & STACEY: (Laughs)
STACEY: And so it’s really interesting how it communicates that failure, because in Game of Thrones failure feels inevitable and…
JAYLEE: It’s exhausting.
STACEY: It’s exhausting and when you fail at something you feel like regardless of what you did your character would fail at it, whereas here there is definitely a palpable sense of dread when you see that pop-up, but there’s also a sense, like when I saw dog failed, I never did any dog training, what could possibly trigger a dog there? You know? It sparks not only this dread but also this sense of curiosity wanting to see possible outcomes and every variant that goes into it knowing next time “Hey, maybe I’ll train my dog and see if that changes anything.”
JAYLEE: And there are also a lot of little failures, like as soon as you start the game it feels like you can’t win these first few rolls or challenges. As those little failures build up they don’t get you down as much, I guess?
STACEY: It becomes more of a curiosity.
STACEY: But then they’ll really come and bite you later once you die.
STACEY: Like, when the first time I died it was an assassination. She was shot up, I think by poison arrows while going to a birthday party.
JAYLEE: Oh, I did that one, but I had my reflexes and my arrow skills high enough that she like… dodged. (Laughs)
STACEY: I didn’t, so I had, you know: reflex fail, arrow fail, battlefield medications or whatever that was also fail. So you’re like “Ooh!” Everyone hits you, but you just jump right back in and try again.
JAYLEE: When I played Elodie was either very depressed or very angry so in the beginning she was learning to play with falcons and dogs and then later in the game she was like warrior princess, getting all the military strategy, getting all the weapon know-how, but then she ended up getting run-through. So, I mean, I don’t know what it is about this game but it’s kind of addicting to play.
STACEY: Yeah, I love it. I have been really enjoying it, because it’s also one of those games when you first see that screen because there’s a lot of stats to keep track of so I remember when that first popped up I was like “Oh my god what did I get myself into?”
JAYLEE: I was very overwhelmed.
STACEY: Right, but then it becomes very easy to learn and easy to manage the more you get into it. So it’s a very approachable game, I found, too. There was little things like there is one very early encounter where she receives a necklace from a neighboring lord and she goes “Oh, how nice” and if you don’t have enough Court Manners, it’ll pop up as a failure which makes me wonder what that means and then later you realize that in the court parlance means that they’re betrothed or connected somehow if she’s wearing these gifts given to her by a man and its just little things like that, its just so well done.
JAYLEE: I know, as soon as that happened I was like “Oh god, it’s poison!”
JAYLEE: Whenever something fails it’s like “Oh god, it’s poison!”
STACEY: “Where’s my dog?”
JAYLEE: Yeah. (Laughs) I know, my dog can’t save me all the time.
JAYLEE: So if you share some of the grievances we did with Game of Thrones, like how often you fail or…
JAYLEE: There’s no Tuttle in this game to be seen. Your failure is often rewarded in a fun kind of way and it’s awesome so you should totally play it.
JAYLEE: So once you check out the game please come back here, leave us a little comment, tell us what you think about the game, how it stacks up to Game of Thrones, and do not forget to subscribe to keep up to date on all of our latest episodes and water cooler discussions.
STACEY: Gonna keep on… Queening. I dunno.
JAYLEE: Keep on crowning.
STACEY: That’s kinda weird… (Laughs)
JAYLEE: Yeah, sorry. (Laughs)