Vive le Roi, which translates from French to mean ‘Long Live the King’, is a very aptly named game. Situated during the French Revolution, Developer Meridian4’s puzzle platformer has players set out to save King Louis XVI from his impending execution and thus alter the course of history. However, while the game does incorporate fresh elements, it does not truly separate itself from the multitude of other puzzle platformers on the market. The fact that there is only one way to sneak past the guards in each of the 30 levels can be hit or miss – there were some truly fantastic levels, while others felt tedious due to the repetition necessary to complete them. Moreover, the simplistic level design and the black silhouettes that constitute the in-game characters do nothing to draw the eye or impress visually. While Vive le Roi offers some fun moments, it does not distinguish itself enough to warrant a glowing recommendation.
The game begins by giving a few paragraphs of exposition, detailing how the common people were wronged over the course of the French Revolution. The player is then offered the chance to go back in time and become a rebel who attempts to rescue King Louis XVI. The ideas that the brief introduction touch upon felt relatively fresh to me, as not many games take place during the French Revolution. I felt like the game had potential.
The first few levels of the game did nothing to dissuade me from this notion. The opening levels slowly introduce players to the actions they will utilize for the duration of the game, such as pulling levers, climbing ladders, and interacting with objects like umbrellas and barrels. Also presented here the major obstacles in Vive le Roi: the guards stationed to watch over King Louis XVI. The guards roam the levels and, if players’ in-game characters are caught within sight, will signal to the executioner to behead the king.
Additionally, Vive le Roi incorporates a unique rating system into the fabric of its. Players are judged by how many times they click their screen to successfully guide their character to the end of each level. This system does not add much difficulty to the beginning levels, but it ramps up the difficulty later in the game. This new system truly makes achieving perfection in the latter levels of Vive le Roi significantly hard to accomplish.
In these later levels is where Vive le Roi begins to lose my recommendation. In terms of gameplay, Vive le Roi never evolves past the towers, platforms, and ladders of its earlier levels. In terms of aesthetics, the backgrounds in the levels of Vive le Roi never drastically change. These facts make the game feel repetitive, even though the levels themselves all possess different solutions.
While the highs from working out the singular solutions to each level on my own were among the best experiences that Vive le Roi offered me, the level design at times also constitutes a negative aspect of the game. Making Vive le Roi’s levels only possess one solution each feels counter-intuitive, as doing so seems at odds with the innovative rating system it implements. Since players are being rated by the number of clicks it takes them to guide their character across the screen, I feel like they should be offered freedom to experiment and come up with their own unique solutions.
In all, Vive le Roi offers a glimpse into the French Revolution that many other games do not offer. While the storyline is lacking to the point of being almost nonexistent, the gameplay can be extremely entertaining at times but also can prove to be very repetitive. Additionally, the puzzle platformer’s rating system feels at odds with its level design at times. Vive le Roi is by no means a bad game, but it’s something that did not overly enthuse me either.