SWERY's "The Good Life" catch-all (and DOGch-all)

Kickstarter-funded The Good Life is now available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and Xbox One/X/S.


The publisher story synopsis:

Journalist Naomi Hayward is drowning in debt and is at the end of her rope.

Having accepted a request from The Morning Bell newspaper to “uncover the mystery of a small English town”, Naomi finds herself far from her home in New York, in Rainy Woods.

Upon beginning her investigation, Naomi – camera in hand – soon discovers an inexplicable phenomenon in which the townspeople transform into cats and dogs as night falls...

Then, as just she’s looking into that particular mystery, a murder occurs...

Join her as she attempts to reveal the truth about Rainy Woods.

This open world "life simulator" will have you planting crops, snapping pictures, wandering town looking for the doctor/vet to treat your toothaches and colds, mining, cooking... oh, and between dealing with the very eccentric residents of Rainy Woods, you'll be transforming into a cat or a dog, or maybe riding a sheep around the countryside.

If you're familiar with other SWERY games (including the infamously polarizing Deadly Premonition) you won't be surprised that it's a very weird, very janky game that has a number of very positive reviews and a number of scathing ones.

Trying to keep the opening post unbiased. I kickstarted this, and I've been playing for a little while on a Playstation 5. My impressions (noting, again, the polarizing nature of SWERY's work):

Jank and low technical prowess are expected. Of course it looks like a PS2 game. But, there are some crashes and occasional screen flickering.

For the most part, it's an easy (if arguably tedious) game. All the cooking and crafting reminded me a bit of a simple farming sim, although you can largely ignore that part and live off baked potatoes in an unimproved run-down shack. Moving the story forward is generally simple fetch quests, although you often have to hunt down people or things without guidance. However, I hit a huge difficulty spike: the story won't continue (and I can't leave and return) without finishing a minigame I'm finding almost impossible.

The story, atmosphere, and general experience... well, can't add much to the existing reviews out there. You'll find them charmingly bizarre, annoyingly one-dimensional, or maybe a mix of both. You'll find the gameplay, controls, and UI charmingly dated, annoyingly dated, or maybe a mix of both.

I very much hope there will be a difficulty adjustment in the inevitable patch. Well, I hope the patch is inevitable; I know SWERY works on shoestring budgets, but a technical/bugfix patch would be great, too. I've got to urge folks to consider this game, but I can't recommend starting it (even if you're a SWERY fan) unless we get at least one good patch.

I've got to figure at this point that nobody else here is interested, but... one last post on The Good Life. A number of patches are out, I've finished the game, and I've soaked up discussion on Reddit.

It's still what you might call "janky" and has a few bug still to iron out, including some flickering textures on Playstation versions that some people say make it "unplayable." (But I lived with it just fine on my PS5.) But as usual for SWERY, get past that, and you have a bonkers story with a weird unquantifiable charm. Although this game borrows a lot of ideas from Deadly Premonition, it's sillier and lighter and more meta.

The tedium I complained about earlier is alleviated as the game goes on and you figure out how to more easily feed your character. Although the gameplay is far from deep, the delight of being able to turn into a dog or cat, or ride around a sheep, and explore the countryside or run bizarre quests for weird people offers hours of delight.

There have been a number of complaints about the crafting system and trophies, which require enormous amounts of grinding. (One trophy for making a ridiculous amount of in-game money-- many times more than you'd ever need-- is estimated to probably require at least 80 hours of grinding.) For maximum enjoyment, in my opinion, you need to go in to this game with no intent to be a completionist.

Anyway, you'll probably love it or hate it, and I hope my reviews here give you some idea.

I'm still interested in the game, but word of mouth is that while surreal at times it lacks the in-your-face weirdness of his best work.

So, I've got it installed due to Gamepass, but not sure I'll fire it up.

garion333 wrote:

I'm still interested in the game, but word of mouth is that while surreal at times it lacks the in-your-face weirdness of his best work.

As weird as the characters and story can get, that's probably a fair take. I think part of it is that if he's generally done "drama" games, this is much more a "comedy."