Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a professional YouTuber? Dealing with the different personalities-i.e, constant hatred-of hundreds of people? Well now you can thanks to developer U-Play Online’s new title in Early Access, YouTuber’s Life. Being someone that still procrastinates to become a YouTuber and seeing actual YouTubers playing this, I decided it was time. To play this game, not start YouTube.
After creating and naming your character it’s time, to decide on a channel name and what kind of content you’ll be creating. Or at least you will in a later patch; for now, all we have to select is game play. Next decide on what personality drives your character: do you want to be famous and have the most views and subscribers ever? Or would you like to make long lasting friends? Perhaps you want to be wealthier than you can ever imagine? These are the questions you must ask yourself and you haven’t even started playing the game yet. This is the strongest aspect of the game, and frankly I have yet to find a simulator that had this built into it. The diverse options really allow you to put yourself into the game and break down that barrier allowing for complete immersion.
Now making a video isn’t as simple as just pushing a button and adjusting sliders to determine the quality like Game Dev Tycoon did. This game uses power light bulbs, an energy resource based on your character’s hunger and sleep level. You then use this energy making a video with a reaction card system-it’s assumed your character is doing this during the video-that generates statistics for your video. These cards also have arrows on the side, while editing you make better videos if you chain cards together by socketing arrows on the right side of the card, into openings on the left side of cards. There is also a mood to each card, if you match the mood with the situation you get more points as well. Better videos generate more views, more views means more subscriptions which means more income on each tick.
Going further, each card has one or two stats that go into creating your video, they are: script, performance, music and post-production with a fifth that you earn through the actual editing process called editing. Each point of these you earn increase the quality and content of the
video, keeping interest high and getting people to watch your videos. But there’s a catch to the system, currently in my play through I’m far enough in I spend “bulbs” on up to 12 cards, but I can only use seven of them. So you must choose the best cards, with the best chain potential to make your videos. To help keep your po
ints high, you can add in special effects but these cost energy from your computer to do and you can only add five effects no matter how strong your PC is. Aside from this however, the game doesn’t really go into much detail on how the video creation system is supposed to work; really giving it a true to life feel. The popular YouTubers today didn’t have someone to give them cliff notes or easy ways to do things. So-the game seems to say-neither should you, forcing a survive or die feeling to the overall experience of the game.
Videos, much like in real life, take time to both render and upload to YouTube. While this happens your computer is inaccessible. So what do you do with all this free time? The game offers several other activities that your avatar can do while a video loads on his computer. In the beginning you can go study to pass tests or else your mother will ground you, preventing you from making more videos for a while. You can also get a part time job, which at the beginning of the game is how you make most of your starting cash. There are also movies, conventions, presentations and going to parties that you can perform as well.
Although while you’re at these events, the real time clock stops, meaning that upload bar won’t progress until you leave. You do however get free energy refill while interacting with people, and certain events allow you to buy rare merchandise for your character to wear. These have no real in game effect yet, but could once the fashion videos become available.
The game also borrows from The Sims with the various NPCs that are generated. Chat with people online or at events to get them to give you their numbers. From there it’s up to you on how you choose to develop your relationship. Whether you remain just good friends, date and get married or gain collaborators for you channel. While there is an option to attempt same sex relationships, the few times that I’ve tried have met with rejection. I can’t really be certain whether the developers have put this in, where some NPCs are interested in same sex relationships, or if it’s merely an over sight. Perhaps in a later patch, but for now only opposite sex relationships seem possible.
So far, the game’s major problem is the repetition. Which is the bane of all simulators, figure out a winning and repeatable formula, win the game. It tries to make this more difficult with random events but they fall short of adding a definitive challenge later on in the game. Also, as with many Early Access titles, it is not without bugs. There was a fairly devastating bug that I came across in a second play through. Basically it prevented me from contacting anyone of my friends to come to my home. And because to advance any relationship in game you must meet in person, you can see the problem. Especially considering that I chose a sociable personality, and all my goals revolved around advancing friendships. This is the biggest bug I’ve come across and I was able to play another game without it appearing. But for a new player this essentially cripples you from accomplishing several goals. There also seems to be an error where you can only create vlogs while you’re outside of your home. Meaning that all the YouTube vlogs that I watch are clearly home invasions. Shame on you YouTubers.
If you enjoy managing an onslaught of random variables while maintaining your resources this is the game for you. If you also enjoy having that one dislike-no matter how good you make your videos-as a taunt to get better this game is also for you. Lastly, if you’re like me and always wondered if you had the makings of a YouTube superstar then this game is right up your alley. And if you don’t think that you have the mind set to strategically build a vast internet empire, well that’s kind of the point of the game. There are plenty of people out there that don’t make it on YouTube. The question you have to ask though, do you have it?