The Good Life review
Along with Sid Meier’s Railroads!, which we also review this month, The Good Life is yet another addition to the ‘tycoon’ genre of games. It’s not based on the classic comedy series starring Felicity Kendall and Penelope Keith – which, when you think about it, might make quite a good game – but instead casts you as a kind of ‘tropical tycoon’ carving out a boating and business empire across a group of tropical islands.
You play the part of either Derek Hales or his girlfriend Melissa, who is lucky enough to inherit a business called Carpe Diem Boats from a dying uncle. Your task is to keep the business running in the face of competition from rival operators. It’s not a bad premise for a game, as it combines elements of nautical adventure with the challenge of running a successful business.
Things get off to a slightly dodgy start, though, as the developers at Iceberg don’t provide an installer program or installation instructions for the Mac version of the game. I clicked on a file on the DVD that seemed to be the installer, and then had to wait ages as the entire game loaded off the DVD.
After copying the game file onto my Mac’s hard disk I discovered a few other Mac-related glitches as well. For instance, the manual states that the right-Control key can be used to cut the throttle on your boat – but Mac keyboards don’t have a right-Control key, which meant that completing the initial tutorial became a rather laborious process.
Once you get past those initial hiccups there’s a decent game to play. You can go diving, fend off pirates, and learn to sail a yacht, as well as expanding into the real-estate business by investing in restaurants and other tourism-related businesses. The shimmering, watery graphics are also pleasantly eye-catching, although some of the other graphics – particularly for the animated tourists and other characters – can be a bit crude at times.
The developers could have paid a bit more attention to the Mac side of things in order to make the initial learning stages of the game a bit more straightforward. However, The Good Life is a worthwhile addition to the tycoon genre, and its attractive tropical setting provides a relaxing dose of wish-fulfillment for office-bound gamers.