Reviews for The Good Life
Quite awfulBurroCaralho | March 29, 2013 | See all BurroCaralho's reviews »
This looked like a quaint little sim game so i picked it up in a sale here. You start as someone who inherits a boating company in paradise, you move there to start your business and get away from your boring day job. From the get go, the look of the game, the textures, the navigation, the customer interactions, the controls, the business workings and the customers faces, oh god the customers faces, all just drain every drop of enthusiasm you had for the game out of you. 'Stunning 3D Tropical Environment' is not how i would describe this. If it was made on a Commodore 64 then i'd be blown away, but for a late 2012 game, they're awful. I have a high end gaming rig and even for me the textures, water, characters and boats look so far off the mark. It feels like this is a game that someone had a great idea for (it is, in my opinion), got enthusiastic about, then the budget got slashed just before they started production and they ended up with this abomination. In fairness, i couldn't handle it anymore after two hours so if you last to the end it may be amazing, i just don't think anyone has the patience or desire to play this game for that long. Out of the 35 i'm giving this, 30 is for the original concept of the game, 5 is for the amount of laughs the customers faces gave me. Zero is for playability.
A sad show of missed potentialhalbarad | Dec. 8, 2012 | See all halbarad's reviews »
Sim games are an almost perfect mode of escapism, they allow you to live a life that you would otherwise never encounter. From Guild 2, The Sims in a medieval setting only with more politics, mischief and murder, to X3, where you get to be the captain of a space ship and do as you please, there is a whole range out there. The Good Life appeals to a more realistic, yet still mostly unobtainable aspect of life by putting you as the owner of a boating company in a tropical resort.
The setting is simple. Derek is bored. He's at the office working late when a popup appears on his computer: His uncle has died and left him a boating company, Carpe Diem Boats, in his will. Derek rings his girlfriend Michelle to tell her the good news: They're both thrilled about it - the boat, that is - and soon enough they set off to the tropical Jo Jo Islands.
As you take control you can choose to step into the shoes of the bored office worker or his girlfriend. There's absolutely no customisation beyond the character gender. Appearances are fixed and although it lets you enter a name, you're still referred to as the name of the character you selected. A quick tutorial level delivers the basics of controlling the boat, docking and then picking a client for your next trip. This is the core feature of the game, sailing around the Jo Jo Islands, and making some cash.
The sailing is smooth enough to not become a chore. Each ship handles differently and feels reasonable, having different speeds, handing and more. The controlling of the ships is all done via keyboard control and sailing is then a case of relaxing and making sure you don't misjudge and crash.
While sailing the seas there are jobs to be completed. The majority of jobs are ferrying customers from one location to another. Other jobs include diving for lost treasure. All jobs result in a quick cash payment and an increase in fame. With this cash you can purchase property, which ranges from sunbeds to villas. However, the properties are unusable, only adding rent to your future revenue stream.
In addition you are able to buy and upgrade to a better boat. There are six different types of boats and a number of visual schemes to choose from. Your money can also be used to pay for repairs, diving equipment and more small things. The main problem is that everything you buy only serves to give you more income in the future, to then be used on buying new things. It's a circle of profit and then victory arrives by topping the leaderboard of a competing nine AI controlled opponents.
There are a few more things ImmersionFX offers in an attempt to keep things interesting. You have the ability to go diving underwater, for example. Sadly the diving is underused. There is a lot to see underwater including the wildlife, flooded ruins, shipwrecks and more but never enough time to see it. There are weather hazards such as tornados around but while looking good add no real threat.
The Good Life also throws NPC issues your way in the form of pirates, and your competition. Sadly the opposition is absolutely atrocious, bullish in its direct approach and easy to nullify. For example, the pirates you encounter will simply charge after you and eventually it becomes a conga line. Finally there is the simple ability to explore. This is the better of all these options, there are a few hidden things here and there which are nice to find and, while not key to the game, make some play sessions worthwhile.
Where these islands truly shine are in the aesthetics. When separate, the visuals and sounds offer nothing spectacular. The images are rather poor and even at maximum settings aren't top of the line, with boxy scenery and a poor draw distance. The water looks best when sailing, the ripples and effects look unpredictable, like real water. There's no voice acting to speak of, the music is all rather calm and soothing and the ambient effects sound realistic enough as you spend your time sailing around the seas. It's the combination of this music, the slosh of the sea and their presentation that set a brilliant and relaxing scene.
ImmersionFX have certainly tried a lot with The Good Life but they would have been better focusing on one or two key areas. While aesthetically pleasing and outstandingly relaxing, it offers little in terms of interesting things to do. The tycoon side of things is too predictable and easy to manipulate, offering little challenge and sadly the world wants to revolve around that. As solely a ship exploration simulator this could have been great. Sadly it's turned out too divided and a sign of missed potential.
A game like no other, literally.Gh0st233 | Nov. 5, 2012 | See all Gh0st233's reviews »
This game is one of the most different games I've seen in a while. We've had simulator games for quite some time, and we've also had games in a tropical setting for quite some time, but we never had a game that combines both of those worlds. While the result may not be great fun, the game is still not bad and is interesting, to say the least.
The Good Life tries to simulate a rich man's vacation, and the result is fun for a while. It's not worth the regular price, but you may consider picking it up on a sale if you're into simulators, and expensive vacations.