There's no singular way we could describe The Good Life that would accurately represent what the game actually is. It's a concoction of many different genres, often poking fun into their tropes, and the end result is an absolute mess of a game - which we absolutely love. Despite its constant attempts to squander our fun at every corner, there's something here that has us coming back for more. With constant surprises and a world unlike any other we've experienced in a video game, this new Xbox Game Pass title is not one to be missed.
We're going to try and describe the basic premise of The Good Life, so sit back.
In the opening moments, you arrive in the quaint English village, Rainy Woods. As a US-based journalist known as Naomi, your goal is to unearth a mysterious secret the town is covering, whilst attempting to pay back a colossal debt. Events transpire where you discover the inhabitants turn into cats and dogs under a full moon and a murder has also taken place. Whilst this is all going on, you're spending your free time growing crops, helping villagers with fetch quests, taking picture requests, playing drinking games, and even riding a sheep around the countryside as a mount. We're not joking around.
If all this sounds like a recipe for disaster, we wouldn't blame you for thinking that way. That being said, despite everything going against it, something just works with The Good Life. Its fundamental gameplay breaks down to nothing more than simple fetch quests, but it oozes charm in every single frame. From its simple music tones to its larger-than-life characters, every corner is filled with personality and it's hard not to spend hours just exploring and getting to know everyone.
The Good Life feels as though it's taken the world of the underrated Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit movie tie-in and mixed it with the dark undertones of something like Bugsnax. It's hard to pinpoint an exact tone the game is going for at any given time, ranging from comedy to downright tragedy. Creator Hidetaka 'SWERY' Suehiro, who previously worked on titles such as Deadly Premonition, has captured the same magic found in the horror cult classic. This is not a game for everyone, but for those it lands with, it's going to hit hard.
For everyone else, they'll most likely be turned away by the repetitive quests, survival elements, poor graphics and stilted animations. However, all of this often feels intentional, with SWERY delivering tedious gameplay elements to provide a meta-commentary. For anyone who is a fan of RPGs or games such as Stardew Valley, the usual tropes transpire but are playfully twisted to mock what's come before it. At times, this comes at the expense of gameplay, but it certainly makes up for those drawbacks when the jokes land.
There's a ton of content in store here and suggests this is going to be a long experience. With piles of side quests, places to explore and main objectives to complete, this is definitely going to be a time sink. Whether the game will capture our attention for its entirety remains to be seen, but for now, we're absolutely hooked by its gameplay loops. The best part is that it's available with Xbox Game Pass, so it's easy for anyone to dive in and discover whether it's for them. If it works for you, The Good Life is definitely a good time.
Have you checked out The Good Life? Let us know in the comments below.