Here in the UK the weather is getting wetter and colder and it’s not all that great, even in ‘summer’ the sun rarely makes an appearance, so why not close your curtains, forget the great outdoors, fire up your PC, and whack in a copy of The Good Life, a luxury private island sim / boating company tycoon game that’ll soon help you forget the horrible weather us Brits are currently experiencing.
When I first heard about The Good Life I didn’t know what to expect. Is it a desert island simulator, or a luxury resort tycoon, or a boating company manager game, but as soon as I started playing I soon realised that it was all that – and more.
The story of The Good Life is that you’re the nephew of a wealthy business man, and he has left you his life’s work and his pride and joy, The Carpe Diem Boating Company so that his competitors don’t buy it up and take his place now he can’t run the company any more. As you begin the game you have the choice of either Derek or his wife Michelle as your characters, from here you’re thrown immediately into a tutorial showing you the basics of the game.
The game essentially is like a more luxurious and relaxed Crazy Taxi, your main objective is to take passengers from one island to another in a certain amount of time. At the beginning you’re the skipper of a rather slow wooden boat, and after a few journeys, things do start to get a little tedious, but the developers have realised that too I think because during some voyages, you’re thrown into a mini-game style rescue mission! If you then Right Click you’re taken to the front of the boat with a rubber ring in hand, you earn money for each save, and the further you throw the life ring and save someone, you’re awarded more money. Other mini-game’s are less action packed such as avoiding sea storms, diving missions, or pirates.
If you manage to get a diving mission, you best stock up on scuba gear because you’ll need it! I’ve only been on a few scuba missions, but each time I’ve often found myself lost, spinning in circles. The controls aren’t easy at all, and your objective isn’t laid out too well either which is a shame because it could be a really fun aspect of the overall game. Pirates however are the most annoying part of this game, if they manage to catch you, they’ll trap you, ram you, and shoot at you until your boat is destroyed.
The further you progress and the more money you own you can purchase bigger, better, and faster boats. If you decide to go with a sail boat though, I must warn you, the controls are completely different! As you’d expect with a boating simulator, you’re going to have to compensate for the water pushing you along, you can’t slam on brakes either if you find yourself careering into another boat – or pier, so you’ve really got to be patient if you want to get away without having to pay repairs!
So that’s the main part of the game for you, but there’s another side I haven’t mentioned yet – the business tycoon side of things. During your many, many voyages between the JoJo islands you’ll occasionally be prompted that there’s a new property on the market, these can vary from sunbeds to restaurants, to full blown holiday resorts, if you’ve got the cash to buy anything, do it! Once you’ve bought a property you’ll have to compensate for the running costs, but usually they’re covered in the profits each month. The more properties you own, and the more money you’re receiving the higher your rank will be compared to the AI business people you’ll often come across during the game.
Overall, the idea of this game sounded amazing and to be fair to it, it’s not too far off that, but it lacks a couple of things that could make this a truly top simulator/tycoon game, and for me that’s the property management. There’s no way of seeing all of the properties you own in their real environments, you basically just buy properties, and leave it at that. The only real thing you see of the properties you own is the picture that comes up in the initial “this is for sale” screen. As well as that, the scuba diving part of the game is a real disappointment for me, but that might be down to the fact that I’m terrible at controlling the character!
The Good Life in my opinion is borderline brilliant putting aside the things I noted above, if you whack the graphics up full to experience the time the developers have taken to make everything seem very real you’ll be amazed. Everything that you’d hope to expect from taking a trip out into the middle of the ocean is there, I’ve even heard that a whale has been spotted (luckily I haven’t come across one, I hate whales. They freak me out).
The game is still being updated often, and the developers have admitted that it’s still in it’s infancy, so this game could turn into something truly amazing. So if you’re interested in getting away from it all and running your own tropical island boating company then you can first, click “yes” on Steam Greenlight for the game to be available to you on Steam, but if you can’t wait for acceptance you can buy a copy from Amazon or from Immersion FX at around £15.