In Vive le Roi, you are tasked with saving King Louis XVI. You do this by working your way through each level undetected in what would perhaps be best described as a stealth puzzle game. The game consists of 30 unique levels, each being its own puzzle, where everything in the foreground is merely a silhouette. It’s got the quirky charm and unique premise that we’ve come to expect from indie titles, but sadly that’s not enough to get it across the finish line.
Any puzzle game lives and dies based off of the quality of its puzzles, and Vive Le Roi is no exception. While there are a lot of good puzzles, especially early on, as the game progresses they tend to become frustrating because they require flawless timing. Since there is so little room for error and the game relies entirely on mouse clicks, which feels unresponsive, I found myself thinking I had the wrong solution to a puzzle rather than merely mistiming my movements. On multiple occasions, I was able to understand how a puzzle was meant to be solved, but I still ended up failing because I waited a second too long to start moving.
One of the game’s strong suits is its variety of tools present in puzzles, from fireworks to barrels all of them provide new elements to utilize in the subsequent puzzles. Sadly, while the additional tools are interesting at first, the game never really progresses in terms of the puzzles’ complexity. Instead, the game sticks firmly to the reliance on timing rather than interaction, which — as I already mentioned — this is not its strong suit. Additionally, the new items are sometimes hard to notice at first, since the minimalist silhouette-based art style doesn’t draw much attention to interactable objects.
None of this is assisted by a lack of replayability. In fact, the only reason to replay the game would be to earn a higher rating, which doesn’t seem to have any real value other than completion.
The art is one of the best parts of this game. The cartoonish silhouettes for the characters and environments give the game a comical feel. It’s a nice use of minimal art that still provides most of the necessary information to play. The only major blunder in this department is that it was common to run into situations where I wasn’t aware of how objects worked which caused me to restart a number of levels.
Vive Le Roi is ultimately a mixed bag. I enjoyed my time with the title; the puzzles were generally satisfying and the game had a charming art style. But with it sitting at $3.99 on Steam ($2.99 on Android and iOS), while only offering 30 puzzles — with many of the later being unnecessarily tedious — and no replayability, I find it hard to recommend unless it’s on sale. As a free flash game, it’d be a short yet enjoyable experience, but as an actual purchase, it’s a little underwhelming.