At 20 years old we were still struggling with the intricacies of laundry, but here it’s the starting point for ten years of socializing, wage slavery and dentistry. The idea is to find fame, fortune and happiness by micromanaging your character’s life. The catch? You can only choose one activity a night and two on a Saturday or Sunday. And activities make you happy.
Think The Sims boiled down to its most basic elements. You build your character, choose their outfit and hair and then it’s your job to make sure they’re clean, happy and employed. It might sound a little too close to real life and sure, the activities are all pretty mundane (football in the park, cleaning the house, taking French classes) but with only one choice a day it’s an addictive balancing act. Don’t get us wrong, we’re a sucker for The Sims’ vampires, aliens and sordid affairs, but there’s something reassuring about a life game that’s actually realistic.
The hardest thing to do is manage your social life – the whole scene could have done with a little more variety to make it worthwhile. There’s little warning when friends dump you: one day you’re dutifully taking them on a trip to the cinema, next thing you’re getting a stroppy text message and then you’re down to that geeky-looking girl who insists on museum outings. Conversation is minimal, but hearing the same reaction to cheese and wine night every time is enough to make you apply for hermit status.
Boring mates aside, it’s the little touches that make this a worthwhile investment for those after an immersive power trip. The game’s website has tips on modding so you can personalize the game, while the artwork is supplied by comic book artist Jamie McKelvie, whose fresh visual style keeps the simple interface engaging. The real trick to Kudos 2 is that it gets you to spend time doing all the stuff you avoid doing in real life. Even stranger, you’ll enjoy them. There may not be any thrills here, but spend 20 minutes with it and you’ll be hooked for hours.
Kudos 2 is only available through download from the publisher’s site.
Nov 7, 2008