“Good Life” has been in development for a long time-it failed in the initial financing campaign in 2017. But after several development pauses, funding attempts, and visual changes, its bumpy development led to a bumpy game experience. Nevertheless, “The Good Life” also contains some interesting flashes at more absurd moments, and its life fragments are unexpectedly fascinating. However, these do not offset the overall outdated design.
Reporter Naomi Hayward’s goal is clear: to uncover the secrets beneath the surface of the once happiest town in England and repay the huge debts of Morning Bell News. At the end of each main mission, a large amount of Naomi’s debt will be forgiven, which prompted me to delve into the ridiculous mysteries of the town. In one mission, I destroyed a party with a history of hundreds of years; another time, I dig up classified documents at a secret military base. These surreal missions put together such an exaggerated and interesting plot, and I found it hard not to laugh out loud even if I shook my head in disbelief.
However, writing sometimes crosses the boundary from pleasantly unfamiliar to naive. For example, Naomi, who likes cities, seized almost every opportunity to call Rainforest Town “Damn hell.” The ruthless use of this phrase makes the character feel like an angry teenager, trying to make himself sound more mature by cursing. There are also some obvious narrative waves. Delving into the game’s settings, even a little bit can cause it to collapse. Why did the New York reporter owe a British news media a debt, and how did she get into a state of essentially contractual slavery? Problems like this were not resolved in any meaningful way, which disappointed me to accept the inconsistent background story.
Even narrative elements that initially seem important are subject to this chaotic treatment. Earlier, I learned that the inhabitants of the rainforest possess mysterious deformation abilities related to the lunar cycle. Confusingly, when I gained my own transformation ability, it worked inexplicably different from the townspeople affected by the celestial bodies. My abnormal skin changes are just another strange plot point, and I shouldn’t think about it too much. But when I need to track smells or zoom buildings to uncover the secrets of paying off debts, this talent comes in handy.
The gameplay is also puzzling because it randomly mixes genres and mechanics. The good life is a murder mystery. It is also a life simulator, with collection resources for cooking, making clothes, making potions and upgrading houses. Sometimes it is an action game with button-based combat, a survival game that requires you to consume food or starve, and a photography game that makes money through camera-based challenges. I like some of these elements, but they do not establish or support each other well. For example, I was initially happy to learn different recipes, and Naomi collected these recipes by buying the same meal multiple times in the restaurant. However, money may be tight, so I feel I need to stop and spend my money on more important things, such as repairing the camera when it inevitably breaks.
This problem sometimes interferes with the story. Once, I was only a few steps away from the last confrontation in the mission, but realized that I was not sleeping enough and there were no consumables to keep me awake. This allows me to either risk exhaustion or shorten my urgent task and return to bed. In any case, a breakdown due to fatigue would stop the sequence and leave me with a small amount of medical expenses, so I provided funds to a nearby shrine to send me back.
Going home to rest, even to save money, feels dated, and it’s not the only problematic design choice. The visual effect is unremarkable, the stone wall is completely smooth at close range, and there is no life behind the character’s eyes. The sudden changes in music have surprised me many times. Sometimes walking out of the store to the main square of the town can cause the background music to visibly shake. The narrative also plays into outdated stereotypes. For example, Naomi is sometimes described by the character as a drowsy blonde. Has eangry Along the walls of the country, it is almost impossible to take shortcuts across the fields. Fast travel requires hard-earned money and can only be initiated from a specific area.
Despite the lack of polish, I still like “The Good Life”. It has some rough edges, but these can add to its charm, which is undoubtedly interesting when the story is deliberately stupid or when I have time to breathe in the world. Good Life is intentional, even if its functions don’t always work together and its design hinders it.