The Good Life has been in growth for a very long time – it failed its preliminary funding marketing campaign in 2017. However after a number of growth pauses, funding makes an attempt, and visible alterations, its bumpy growth led to a bumpy gameplay expertise. Regardless of that, The Good Life accommodates flashes of enjoyable within the extra absurd moments, and its slice-of-life elements are unexpectedly partaking. Nevertheless, these don’t offset the general outdated design.
Journalist Naomi Hayward’s aim is evident: repay an astronomically massive debt to Morning Bell Information by uncovering the secrets and techniques mendacity beneath the floor of England’s one-time happiest city. On the finish of each main quest, a bit of Naomi’s debt is forgiven, which motivated me to delve into the city’s absurdly various mysteries. In a single quest, I crashed a centuries-old social gathering; in one other, I dug into categorised paperwork in a secret navy base. These surreal duties sew collectively a plot so over-the-top and playful that I discovered it onerous to not crack a smile at the same time as I shook my head in disbelief.
Nevertheless, the writing generally crosses the road from delightfully unusual to juvenile. As an illustration, city-slicker Naomi takes virtually each alternative to name the city of Wet Woods a “goddamn hellhole.” The unrelenting use of this phrase makes the character really feel like an angsty teenager making an attempt to sound extra grownup by cursing. There may be additionally some obvious narrative hand-waving. Digging into the sport’s setup, even a bit of, causes it to topple. Why does a New York journalist owe a debt to an English information outlet, and the way has she entered into what’s primarily indentured servitude? Questions like these aren’t addressed in any significant means, which left me to disappointedly settle for the incoherent backstory.
Even narrative components that originally appear necessary get this muddled therapy. Early on, I be taught the residents of Wet Woods have mysterious shape-shifting skills tied to the moon’s cycle. Confusingly, after I achieve my very own transformation powers, it inexplicably works in another way than the celestially influenced townsfolk. My irregular skin-changing turns into simply one other bizarre plot level I’m not supposed to consider an excessive amount of. However the expertise turns out to be useful after I want to trace down scents or scale buildings to uncover these debt-clearing secrets and techniques.
The gameplay is likewise puzzling because it haphazardly mashes collectively genres and mechanics. The Good Life is a homicide thriller. It’s additionally a life simulator with collectible sources for making meals, fabricating garments, concocting potions, and upgrading your dwelling. At instances, it’s an motion sport with button-mashy fight, a survival sport that asks you to devour meals or starve, and a pictures sport with camera-based challenges to earn cash. I loved a few of these components, however they don’t construct on or help one another very properly. As an illustration, I used to be initially excited to be taught totally different recipes, which Naomi collects by buying the identical meal at a restaurant a number of instances. Nevertheless, cash will be tight, so I felt like I wanted to cease to be able to spend money on extra essential issues, like fixing my digicam when it inevitably breaks.
This drawback additionally generally interferes with the story. In a single occasion, I used to be steps away from the ultimate confrontation in a quest however realized I used to be dangerously low on sleep and had no consumables to maintain me awake. This put me within the place of both risking exhaustion or chopping my pressing process brief to get again to mattress. Collapsing from fatigue would cease the sequence anyway and go away me with a small medical invoice, so I provided cash to a close-by shrine to move me again.
Returning residence to relaxation, and even to avoid wasting, feels jarringly dated, and it’s not the one questionable design selection. The visuals are unimpressive, with stone partitions which are solely clean up shut and characters that don’t have any life behind their eyes. Abrupt modifications within the music took me without warning a number of instances. Typically strolling out of a store to the city’s foremost sq. causes the background music to lurch noticeably. The narrative additionally performed to outdated stereotypes; for instance, Naomi is characterised as a ditzy blonde by characters at instances that don’t appear warranted. There are exasperating partitions lining the countryside that make all of it however inconceivable to take shortcuts throughout fields. Quick journey prices hard-earned cash and may solely be initiated from particular areas.
Despite its lack of polish, I loved The Good Life. It has some tough edges, however these can contribute to its allure, and it’s undeniably entertaining when the story is purposely foolish or after I had time to only breathe on this planet. The Good Life has coronary heart, even when its options don’t all the time work collectively and its design holds it again.