|Genre||Life (isn't fair) Simulator|
|MtAMinutes to Action||4|
|Score||7 Gameplay: 7
Fun Factor: 6
Kudos 2 is a computer game made by indie developer Positech Games. Easiest way to describe it is as a turn-based Sims. You create a character, and balance their stats and needs as you live their life. That's really where the similarities end though as we'll see. In some ways, Kudos 2 seems to have even more potential than the Sims series.
The game is available for both Windows and Mac (just released the other day!), and features absolutely no DRM. One guy, Cliff Harris, makes his living off making video games. I think that's pretty awesome, honestly. Full disclosure, he gave me a review copy to play. This is the first time anyone has ever done that, indie or not, and I feel a bit honored. At the same time, I'm suddenly thrust this new and worrisome responsibility: will the free review copy somehow affect my score of the game? Will it adversely affect the score because I'll be trying too hard not to give it a good score? I will try to be as honest as I possibly can. Now let's get to the first hour of Kudos 2.
(minutes are in bold)
00 - I click New Game and the first hour of Kudos 2 begins. First things first, create my character. I'm never very good at this stuff...
01 - There's only about three or four options for each part of clothing, I guess I'm done with "Greg Noe", who looks nothing like me.
03 - Greg writes himself a note, it's his 20th birthday and he's setting a ten year goal of fame, fortune, or happiness. I don't remember my own 20th birthday... I probably had a college math final or something that day.
04 - All right, first day of work and living the life. I'm going to walk to work today. I also only have 15 dollars on me!
05 - With work done, I've earned $11 and my happiness has increased. This is interesting, looks like this is the game's entire interface.
07 - I can see my social network, I have four friends, and time for one activity tonight. I think I'll go to night school, Greg looks more intelligent than a waiter.
09 - I've decided to start law school to become a lawyer. Which isn't that far off from what I do in real life... okay, it is pretty different, but you'd be surprised. I gain a little weight and it's off to work again. Law school happens on Fridays, it's only Tuesday.
10 - After work, I pull up the stats and summaries of my four friends. Kim, Jessica, Philip, and Veronica. Veronica has green hair... and spending time with her will increase my reasoning skills. Lawyers should have strong reasoning skills, right?
13 - Just got back from the museum with Veronica (I chose the museum because it seemed like it would stimulate a reasoning conversation). We both had a good time and I got a bunch of pluses across my stats.
15 - It's raining today, and I had a nasty walk to work. I'm still only making about $13 a day, I think it's time to look for a new job. I think I'll do a job search.
18 - A couple of days have passed, and it's still raining. There were other jobs besides waiter available, but I clicked away from the window and my opportunity to keep job hunting ended. The next day, I went shopping and bought an umbrella!
19 - Today is Friday, my first day of class. Not sure if I was awake enough for the class, only got a bit out of it. It's Saturday now, so maybe I'll look for another class to take and hang out with Veronica again.
22 - I signed up for basic science, and then took Veronica to a movie called Zulu Sunset. I thought it would stimulate her reasoning mind... but she just had an okay time.
23 - Jessica invites me to go to the casino on Sunday... but it costs $10, and I only have $9.18! Crap, can't go.
25 - Instead I spend Sunday jogging and looking for another job. Things make a bit more sense now... Right now I walk about two miles to work and have a salary of $6,000. There are better jobs available that I can apply for, but they're much further off, and outside of walking distance.
27 - Basic science class went a lot better than basic law, three points instead of one. Looks like I need about 20 points to take the next level? Anyways, Kim calls me after work on Tuesday and wants to get a beer. It costs $13, but I have about $22 on me now. Let's do it.
31 - Things are progressing, if not nicely. My loneliness level keeps rising (which is bad), and I hardly have any money. I decide to go shopping again, there's some books on law and science. Maybe I'll invest in them soon.
33 - Greg keeps writing about how crappy his job is, guess I'll seriously look for something new. I could become a legal assistant once I get some law and IT skills. But you need 40% honesty and I'm only 31%! I'm not even honest enough to become a lawyer!
37 - Another basic science class, this is going pretty well. Maybe I should be a scientist instead of a lawyer? Veronica asked me to dinner, but I had to turn her down because of class. She's mad at me now!
38 - Veronica won't go out with me tonight, so I ask Kim to a Chinese restaurant. Wow! I get to see the whole menu! I order pork and tea.
40 - The "date" only went okay, but I seemed to have enjoyed it. My loneliness is pretty low, that's good!
41 - Now Philip invites me to go golfing. I used to golf, in real life. Pretty much everything rises, nice.
43 - The weekend again, I think I'm going to make a drastic change and apply for a new job... as a stock assistant! It's ten miles away, but I should be able to take the bus, and the pay is a bit higher.
46 - I applied on Saturday and spent the rest of my time off jogging and sleeping around the house. On Monday, the recruitment office calls and offers me a job! I'll make $9,900 a year and would start immediately. I'll take it!
48 - Oh no! This might have been a bad idea! I only make $13, the same as being a waiter after tips, and it cost me $5 to take the bus round trip. I'm making less money than before!
50 - Either I need to change jobs fast or get a bicycle. I'm going to shop for one of them tonight.
51 - Bikes cost $70, I have $22. Think it's back to being a waiter...
52 - I apply and the next day get an offer, for less than I was making before. Suck. Gotta take it though.
55 - Few days later now, went to my new waiter job for the first time and actually made a bit more than my first job with tips. Forgot to change my commute method to walking though, so I took the bus to work! Whoops.
57 - This is a relaxing game, it's easy to just go from day to day. Comparing it to the Sims isn't very fair.
58 - Oh no! I get a call from Kim, she says it's clear I don't want to be her friend anymore! She's off my social network...
59 - I decide to invite my three remaining friends to go play tennis with me. Didn't really help any of my relationships, I think I invited too many people.
60 - Today is my dentist appointment, but it costs $25, and I only have $21. Guess my teeth will remain unclean and crooked. Well, that's the end of the first hour of Kudos 2.
Time for some scores out of 10.
Minutes to Action: 4
Being a turn-based life simulator, Kudos 2 doesn't contain a lot of "action" as we know it. On the other hand, its simple gameplay and polished user interface makes this game a charm to play. There's nothing to do but click the mouse, but menus, options, and story elements are organized well on the screen making it easy to progress quickly and efficiently. There's really not much more we can ask for here.
Maybe the toughest part of Kudos 2 is managing all of your character's stats! There are 20(!) individuals stats, each affecting something in your life. Balancing them seems to be pretty difficult: do I head out to the bar and have some fun but take a hit on my sobriety stat, which affects how well I can concentrate in class, or do I just sit home and lay on the couch? These are tough decisions and things are multiplied by so much information. I'm a numbers kind of guy, and it's taking me a while to take it all in!
Fun Factor: 6
The first hour of Kudos 2 was pretty rough going for me. There's so much to do and explore, that I was entertained quite a bit, but money is always an issue. I know this is a model of real life, but geez, I don't think I've ever been this poor! People invite you out and you have to turn them down because you can't afford the ten dollars it costs to go bowling... it's sad. I'm watching my wife play the game right now and she has plenty of money and has a good job, so I think you just need to tough out the early-20's and you'll be fine.
Graphics and Sound: 9
I love the art style in this game. Though the character options are kind of limited, the backgrounds are wonderfully detailed and feature some excellent choices in color palettes. Seeing the sun set on the city is beautiful. The menus look clean and everything is very readable and easily navigable, and there's some nice musical numbers always playing in the background. I always enjoyed the music from The Sims and Kudos 2 has captured a similar style without being so obvious.
The story in the first hour of Kudos 2 is whatever you make of it... if that story means being a poor waiter walking to work in the rain every day! Well, I don't mean to sound negative but this is closely tied with the fun factor, it's a tough first hour! Not difficult like God of War but tough as in there are so many options out there in the world, and you feel so limited! Everything seems to cost so much money and I was just struggling to pay for a dentist appointment. I really think this is the kind of game that will develop itself much better as you put more time into it.
Kind of like that time you first played The Sims, and you didn't know about money cheats or anything like that, and you had to put up with a ton of crap just to get by. That's what the first hour of Kudos 2 is like. Money is short, time seems to fly by, and you're still just a waiter at a crappy dead end job. It's a little too much like real life sometimes! Also, this definitely is not a 2D Sims clone. While Kudos 2 and The Sims share plenty of similarities, Kudos 2 seems like a much deeper game. I look forward to keep playing, and I will also get my wife's impressions of the game, since she's been playing it non-stop the last couple of days. Try this game out, there's a free demo over at the Positech website, I think you'll like it.