Review: The Good Life

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Deadly pre-meow-nition

It’s honestly hard to think where to start The good life. This is the latest from White Owls and Hidetaka Suehiro, aka Swery. From the start you have been Naomi Hayward, a photojournalist who has racked up inhuman debt. And so you’ve been sent to Rainy Woods, a peaceful English town dubbed the happiest place on Earth, to uncover their secrets using your sleuthing skills and trusty camera.

Then the moon lights up the night sky and the townspeople transform into dogs and cats. And soon, you too. The good life is definitely a photography game mixed with a little slice of life simulation, but it also has elements of investigation, resource management, and puzzle solving.

The good life does a lot, but I don’t really think he’s doing it well enough to complete it. It’s a world held up in the air by its eccentricity and charm, but the way it barely fits together and often puts its own gears within itself can dull its cheerful veneer.

The good life (Nintendo Switch, PC [reviewed], PS4, Xbox One)
Developer: White Owls Inc.
Publisher: Playism
Released: October 15, 2021
MSRP: $ 29.99

Soon after Naomi arrives in town, eager to uncover Rainy Woods’ secrets and learn how to transform herself into a dog and a cat, she stumbles upon even more intrigue. A beloved local is murdered, and Naomi has only a few clues to give her as she both ventures to uncover more secrets and find the killer.

This may sound like an appealing scenario to Swery’s fans. Deadly premonition, and it certainly has hues of it, both within a small town setting and in its penchant for the supernatural. Corn The good life doesn’t just look at the weird and the weird, he jumps on it.

Over the course of about 10 to 12 hours of completing the main narrative, parts of the story may feel like they’re pulling you between more and more fantastic activities. The surprise of finding out how far they go is one of the strengths, so I will avoid spoiling them; but I will say that there have been several times when I have thought that a story had reached its height of absurdity, and it got even worse.

But between its peaks of weird surprise, there are also plenty of walks. The good life can press the gas when it requires it, but overall it’s a game where you move from place to place as often as you do things in those places. And movement always costs you.

The good life has a constant running clock, on a running calendar with moon cycles and important events on certain days of the week. Characters will be in certain locations and, most importantly, will only be available for certain tasks at certain times of the day.

You’ve got health, but it’s honestly the meter I’ve paid the least attention to. Instead, I usually watched my endurance, as I ran in short sprints through the English countryside; or hunger, setting in slowly throughout the day; or my well-being, separate from my health, which could lead to a cold or a headache if not monitored. Medical bills don’t come cheap either. And at some point, I’ll need to sleep too, or I might pass out from exhaustion.

The world is pretty big, with the peaceful town of Rainy Woods at the center of a countryside that also contains lakes, quarries, ruins, farms, and even a mountain range. It’s also pretty spread out, and until you get a faster way to travel halfway through the main quest line, you sabotage him (or paw him, in animal mode).

In general, I liked how easy it always was. I filled my quest journal with small activities and ticked them off as I went through the day. On my way to see a character to advance a main plot point, I might also stop to eat some food, catch up with the quirky and endearing people living in Rainy Woods, and take some snapshots to boost my count on social networks. Of course, everything can fall apart from a little cold or lack of money, and then you are sent into a spiral trying to collect what you need to be healthy again and get back to health. quiet and relaxed rural life.

The most stable income in The good life comes from Flamingo, a social media app where you upload photos you take to the world and get paid for likes, or “Emokes”. Photography works and I love that there are options to take additional lenses in a wide angle and telephoto lens as well. There’s not much more customization beyond that, and it was definitely more point-and-click than something with involved post-processing or temperamental camera controls, but it matches the vibe.

It’s more that photography felt underutilized, and just like other aspects of The good life, starts to feel like an afterthought. The good life introduce a lot of ideas, then put them aside for other ideas. At the start of the game, it looks like a mystery game where it will be essential to know the locals and take good photos. Instead, I spent a lot of time riding sheep and stalking scents like a dog.

Most photo targets focus on either finding an object or setting in the world, or in some cases waiting for someone to do something so that you can take a picture of it. And getting more Emokes in general involves adhering to certain “buzzwords” that update twice a week. They encourage paying attention to the surroundings, but also feel they could be a little more involved. There are a lot of side quests that I could only make a little dent in, so there might be more as each citizen’s questline deepens, but I soon saw the side quests as one. way to earn money rather than something I was eager to get engaged with.

There were also some weird cases where some side quests didn’t track what I had done unless I had them active, while others did. In general, I have not encountered anything else that is major bug, but the performance of The good life on different platforms is something to note. I played the game on PC, but spent a few hours with the Switch version, and the difference is really noticeable. It blows and forgoes some of the graphics features that smooth The good lifeIt’s graphics in the PC version, which gives it a rougher look and play. The good life is also not a visual power, but its appearance has a certain charm, and this charm is best perceived when not stuttering.

At the end of the story, I felt like The good life had lost the threads of his story, as he tried to sum up a lot of story beats while putting an end to it and showing how Naomi, a jaded photojournalist apathetic to anything that doesn’t involve money, can start to worry about more than just her debt.

And while I liked some of Rainy Woods’ eccentric characters, and appreciated how overflowing his storyline was, and found an endearing charm in dealing with its many yards and side activities to become both a successful detective and a titanic influencer, The good life gives the impression that it spreads too thinly for its width to be impactful.

It’s nice that I can mine some ore and then turn it into chunks and use them to fund a home improvement, but the individual steps in it are too much like taking a special photo for a city dweller or picking mushrooms for a new dish. . Their simplicity makes tasks too repetitive after enough time to do them. There are many things to do in The good life, but the reward is often just doing more. And in between those tasks, there’s a lot of travel, unless you want to spend the cash to quickly travel between the animal sanctuaries you unlock on the map.

This will definitely appeal to people, especially if they like the feeling of checking off tasks off lists in a virtual world. But even so, there are other games that do it better. Between all the hobbies and side quests that Naomi can acquire, there is a lot to do but not enough to set it apart. The originality of his world and his characters is the only aspect that really makes The good life feel his own, and he must carry a lot on his shoulders. Even the exciting aspects, like turning into a dog or a cat, seem mundane after a while.

The good life did a lot of things, but they never felt like they were merging into one experience that could stay with me. I certainly enjoyed parts of it, and some of its weirdest moments really land like great, enjoyable highs. But there are a lot of valleys in between, and while I arrived at Rainy Woods eager for a pleasant country getaway, I didn’t feel like making a trip home after the credits ended.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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