SWERY, the DrinKING and developer behind some of the strangest titles in recent memory, Deadly Premonition, a survival horror with a flair of Twin Peaks and D4, a Microsoft backed episodic game that never saw completion, is back with another delight in The Good Life.
A little less horror orientated, you play Naomi, a photographer with a debt over their head and must now complete various tasks while visiting a quaint English village. However she soon realises there’s something weird about the town and that everyone at night turns into cats or dogs. Soon she too falls under the curse and finds a new cause to help pay off her debts.
SWERY has a knack for making bad games with great stories. The Good Life is a Kickstarted game and sure, it feels like it, you can tell where corners might have been cut but ultimately, it still holds that classic SWERY flavour.
For a Japanese developer, this is one of the better representations of England in games I’ve seen. There’s cheesy accents and stereotypes galore, but the essence is absolutely there in ways that I did not expect. It builds that creeping dread of something being hidden behind the local post office’s doors or something sinister about the grey cobbled walls.
While it doesn’t seem to be Deadly Premonition in scope of its mystery, having the calibre behind it of a SWERY to build its intrigue just makes me want to sit down all day and see it through.
Dialogue has that right level of weirdness, with each of the small cast really shining whenever they appear on screen. It’s fascinating to see them evolve the more you speak with them and to see Naomi interact realise she’s not a big fish in a little pond, but a small tadpole yet to realise how deep the water goes.
The game is available on Switch too, but from what I’ve seen, that version just doesn’t run particularly well. Each quest might suddenly give you a slight panic with the time limits imposed, but it nicely highlights just about everything you need to on the mini map and managing Naomi’s health and hunger never feels like a chore.
I think the game could have done without some of these elements, but it wouldn’t be a SWERY game without caveats. If you’ve nothing left in your backlog, I highly recommend you check this out and warm yourself by the twee fire.