The Good Life is a very strange game from the brilliant mind of SWERY, the person who brought us the equally strange Deadly Premonition. Deadly Premonition is definitely not what I would call a good game but it is certainly one of my favorite games of all time.
You play as Naomi Hayward, a photographer from New York city who has traveled to Rainy Woods, a small town in England. It is labeled as the happiest place on Earth. Naomi has been hired to investigate the secrets of Rainy Woods to discover why the people are so happy there.
The base game play loop is very simple. You spend the day time taking photographs to earn money. You upload them to a site called Flamingo on what looks like a very old computer running Windows 98. The site has daily hash tags that are popular and if you take photographs of items that match that hash tag, you will earn way more money.
When you’re not taking photographs, you will be talking to the villagers, accepting quests from them (usually fetch quests), and exploring the world around you collecting any item that isn’t nailed down to the ground. You can also turn into animals by the way. For some inexplicable reason, the villagers turn into cats and dogs during the night time and you gain this ability as well.
Turning into animals will let you access places your human form can’t. As you explore, take pictures, and earn more money, you will be able to purchase better camera equipment. You can also cook food and learn recipes. The game is weird and has a lot of mechanics built into it that aren’t really explained so you have to do a little bit of exploring to see what does what. The food gives you temporary buffs to meters such as hunger, stamina, tiredness, and etc.
Overall ,The Good Life is definitely a weird game but a charming one. The more I played it, the more I was drawn into the world and grew an attachment to the characters despite any technical and design shortcomings. It’s a relaxing dive into a kooky, peaceful world.