Something is so refreshing about playing a game that only lasts five minutes—particularly when most video game titles are guaranteed to steal hours upon hours of time which we simply do not have. The game has no complex mechanics to understand, the concept has to be solid, and simplicity is key. This week’s Friday Freebie, This Is Your Life Now, stands out for this reason, as the game tackles an interesting topic in a simple way.
This Is Your Life Now sets the player off on a journey through life starting from childhood through to old age and, inevitably, death. As the player walks along the side-scrolling screen, life milestones appear along the way which can be accepted or ignored. From the beginning, the developer makes clear that everything in life comes at a cost. For example, the first choice available is to have siblings. If they accept, they lose their toys; if they live life without a sibling, they are burdened with nightmares.
I think one of the reasons I found This Is Your Life Now so charming was the fact that the game challenged my own perspective on life. I am an incredibly positive person who believes that something good will always come out of the bad in life. This Is Your Life Now instead showcases the philosophy that everything comes with a price. Life is more complicated than either of these theories. Regardless, this theory makes for a great, simple game concept.
Multiple playthroughs are tempting due to the short nature of the experience. Disappointingly, they all feel similar. More pathways along the way would have been welcomed to create a more unique experience each playthrough. Some changes to the character design or music based on decisions made would have greatly enhanced the atmosphere of the game. Despite lacking these things, the concept behind This Is Your Life Now makes it both fun and solid for the five minutes it takes to complete.
Discord user Dismount that Dinosaur had plenty to say after their time with the game. Response has been lightly edited for clarity.
The concept of the game is really good, making choices with consequences. Albeit, those consequences are scripted each and every time. My biggest problem with this game is that it seems like you only get negative consequences for your actions. When you press space to pick an option you get shown both an upside and downside but when you receive the consequence its always negative. Having said that, it is still pretty cool to see you lose something when you gain something else, but that is not entirely accurate to somebody’s life. The game likes to be black and white with its outcomes with no grey area, which is a big issue for me.
I was really expecting the old age segment to have sadder music and be more psychologically taunting, having no options left to choose and only losing all the options you had left. Perhaps the walk speed could have gotten slower too. That being said, for a free five minute game the concept is great, but the execution could have been more rewarding and morally grey.
Next week, OnlySP writer and editing wizard Damien Lawardorn will be taking a look at Veiled, a horror puzzle game where players must solve the secret to a dark ritual. The game can be downloaded here. Come join the discussion on the OnlySP Discord server, or email us here.