I want to call Kudos a life sim, but that term carries the connotations of “TheSims knockoff” and Kudos is definitely not that. It’s a sandbox game, where your choices affect your next set of options. It actually reminded me more of Princess Maker than The Sims. The premise is simple.
“It’s 6.20pm on April 14th, 2006. You are 20 years old and single. Tonight is your twentieth birthday. You live alone in a small flat in Slough, a suburb of London, England. Somehow you left school without any qualifications to speak of, and you have a dead end job that doesn’t have much of a future. What are you going to do with your life? and what will you have achieved by your thirtieth birthday?”
It’s a lot more fun than actually being a 20-year-old waitress with no marketable job skills. Trust me on this one.
Kudos is not animated, its graphics are mainly icons, little squares showing your friends’ faces or items for purchase. It’s not entirely text-based, but the focus is on the story, and not the graphics. If you don’t spend enough time cleaning up your house, though, a surprisingly realistic fly crawls across the screen! I am of the text-games generation, and a bookworm at heart, so Kudos has gotten the text:graphics ratio just right.
Your avatar has a limited number of leisure hours, and a collection of leisure activities. You can go out with friends, watch TV, go jogging, go to night school, or stay home and stare at the walls. (yes, that’s an option, and no, I didn’t do it). Each activity has positives and negatives, but they go beyond the simplistic “tv makes you fat”. Watching the news, for example, increased my IQ, and decreased my boredom, but all those depressing stories made me sad.
I sent my Kudos girl to night school, to study Kung Fu, in case I run into any violent street gangs of Slough (did I mention this game is set in Slough?), but also because when a videogame offers you the chance to learn kung fu, you should take it.
I also attempted to organize outings with my sim friends, with varying amount of success. Some friends want to go out for beer, others want to go to the museum, and woe to the player who invites the wrong friend to the wrong activity! Oddly, my Kudos friends kept calling me up to go out for Chinese. PEOPLE! I DON’T LIKE CHINESE FOOD!
The flavortext in this sim is adorable… well, what else would you expect from a videogame set in Slough? It’s worth looking at all the possible options just to read the descriptions.
As your stats and skill change, so do your options for activities. Sadly, the demo doesn’t allow me to play far enough to see if “Move to China!” becomes an option. Only my inability to use PayPal in China is preventing me from getting the full version.