The Good Life amounts to a feast of fetch quests without delving deeply into the life sim elements. The characters and story are intriguing enough to keep your interest, even if it is a bit of a slog at the start.
Genre: RPG, Life Sim, Adventure
Developer: White Owls Inc.
Release date: 15 Oct, 2021
The Good Life is an adventure game with life sim quests and survival elements.
Take the role of Naomi Hayward, a no-nonsense journalist from The Big Apple, who is sent on an assignment to uncover the secrets of Rainy wood dubbed “The Happiest Town in the World”.
Being a city slicker, this backward sleepy town seems like a Goddamn Hellhole to her, something which she often cusses.
It soon becomes apparent that the town harbours some deep secrets, one being that the inhabitants turn into cats and dogs on every full moon. Naomi inherits this ability to aid her in the numerous quests provided by the inhabitants, all rewarded with some much-needed cash to pay off her humongous debt.
As a journalist you are expected to take photos and report back to your newspaper with any interesting finds. Photos can be uploaded onto the Flamingo platform; a social media site which allows you to gain likes for your photos which in turn makes cash. There are certain buzzwords, for example, #fluffycat, which influence the popularity of your photo and could send it viral. Earn enough followers to be able to upload more photos.
Your publisher will send you regular emails asking you to perform certain tasks like taking photos of inhabitants or questioning them for information. Completing tasks earns you cash which is knocked off your debt of £30000 which you owe your employer.
You must manage various elements to survive like your hunger, sleep, stress, and appearance.
You need to eat regularly by frequenting cafes or pubs. Once you have eaten an item in a shop you are able to learn that recipe and cook it at home, if you have the necessary ingredients. Meat can be harvested by killing prey, or buying it in the butchers, and vegetables can be grown in your garden. If your stomach is empty, your vitality depletes which could land you with an expensive hospital bill.
Naomi must sleep regularly or she will collapse. You can travel home to your bed or unlock a campsite and sleep in a tent. The game saves when you sleep.
Stress occurs when you travel home without using a shrine or when something horrible happens. Stress can be relieved by drinking tea or taking pills.
Shower in the morning and put your make up on every day or else villagers will start to resent “your stank” and put shop prices up.
Not looking after yourself can cause various ailments like headaches and toothaches. You can brew or manufacture potions and pills for this, or see the doctor.
Naomi can transform into a cat or a dog.
Cats can jump higher and scale walls with their super vision. They can also catch prey.
Dogs can run faster, and dig up useful items. They also have the power to smell the scent of characters by sniffing a personal item of theirs.
Getting around the map can be time consuming to begin with. Shrines offer fast tracking between each other and campsites offer sleeping and cooking facilities. The dog can catch and tame sheep which can be ridden at high speed.
The more you ride your sheep, the better the handling gets and the more powerful the sheep becomes, allowing him to destroy more objects, dropping useful items.
Otherwise, you can travel the map on foot, or transform into a dog or cat and run a little faster.
You have generous storage at your home for inventory items, which can also be accessed at campsites, and your bag can hold lots of items which stack up. Inventory is sorted out into categories for quick access but dropping items on the fly is not allowed and can cause problems when your bag is full.
Money can be earned in numerous ways through your photography, quests, and selling items that you have collected or mined. Having enough money is a problem if you want to fulfil everything that The Good Life has to offer. Decorating your house or garden is expensive and having enough money is a constant worry.
When a new game element is discovered a tutorial is presented. These can be referred to in your home if you ever forget.
The Good Life is eccentrically quirky and rough around the edges. The townsfolk have bags of personality and are delightfully over the top. At first it caught me off guard and I was wondering what on Earth was going on. There are some really bizarre happenings but you must embrace it and French kiss it to fully enjoy this game. The dialogues between characters are the strangest thing to behold. Sometimes voiced but mostly partially voiced, I had the impression that some of the characters had Tourette syndrome. During conversations they would just shout out random words like “Seriously!?”
The characters are interesting to know at first but they soon run out of things to say and resort to sending you on numerous quests, which range from fetching items and bringing them back, to difficult puzzle solutions like finding items and places from cryptic clues. The main quests were imaginative and interesting to complete.
The map is HUGE but you are unable to mark waypoints, and sometimes it is difficult to find your current quest. During the game you will be doing a lot of travelling. I found this very frustrating at first. The dog runs faster but is not a good jumper and your path is full of blockades that only the cat can scale. Transforming between cat and dog could have been made easier, as you have to go back to human form each time before you transform. It soon becomes tedious.
A lot of the quests will aid you in the game, and make travelling easier to swallow; unlocking campsites gives you the ability to cook outdoors and save your game, instead of travelling all the way home; activating transport shrines enables you to fast track anywhere where there is an active shrine; and catching and training a sheep gives you a very speedy ride. All of a sudden, those grindy, annoying quests, with slow endless travel, suddenly become more enjoyable and this is when I started enjoying the game a lot more. As the game unlocked, I found myself not wanting to put it down.
Every element of the game has been watered down from its basic farming, to its primitive survival aspects. Nothing is detailed and nothing is particularly challenging. Looking after your vital statistics is just a matter of eating six jacket potatoes for breakfast and the occasional salad when needed. This routine completely circumvented any need to brew stamina or health potions; The farming is so easy; it is just a case of planting a seed and picking up the bounty the next day. I didn’t find the need to buy much food, as potatoes were incredibly easy to grow and simple to cook; The photography is an interesting idea but ultimately becomes obsolete because you don’t make much money out of it; and money becomes a deciding factor when buying clothes or adorning your house and garden, because it just costs too much, unless you want to grind for cash. There are also some pointless elements you need to do every day like take a shower and put your make up on.
The Good Life has a distinctive feeling of eccentricity and is as bizarre as it gets. If you can get past the initial slog and enjoy fetch quests then there is a wealth of content for you to enjoy; Just don’t expect anything too detailed in regards to the life sim elements.