Are you keen on exploring the newest adventure game from Swery? In The Good Life Guide for Beginners, I'll tell you everything you need to know to get started with this delightfully odd game.
What is The Good Life?
The Good Life is the latest game from Hidetaka "Swery65" Suehiro. Naomi Hayward is a journalist who also has a rather substantial debt - £30,000,000, to be exact. You've been subsequently tasked with exploring the town of Rainy Woods, taking photos, and finding out why it's considered one of the happiest places in the world.
Originally billed as a "debt repayment daily life RPG," its Fig campaign failed and the game took a second shot at crowdfunding over at Kickstarter. The Good Life was originally slated to launch in Q4 2019, but it got delayed until 2020. Then it got delayed again to 2021, and it finally launched in mid-October 2021 after another short delay.
Now, The Good Life is finally here! This is not your typical game, though -- in The Good Life Guide for Beginners, I'll break down the basics for this odd and charming game. Let's get to it!
The Good Life Guide for Beginners - Starting Your Adventure
Your adventure begins with Naomi arriving in Rainy Woods and repeatedly calling this charming town a hellhole. (We're off to a great start already!) You'll meet an odd woman in a wheelchair named Elizabeth Dickens -- she informs you that the town has provided you with a home for the duration of your stay.
Your home has all of the basics you'll need: a bed, a shower, a kitchen, and a computer with an Internet connection (albeit a somewhat slow one). You'll need to make the most out of all of these tools to repay your debt -- and uncover the mysteries of the town.
Our heroine Naomi Hayward is a journalist and a photographer, so she'll be making most of her early game money by taking pictures. Using the camera is fairly straightforward. Making money with those pictures is (as any real-world photographer can tell you) a little more difficult.
How to Use Flamingo in The Good Life
The next subject we'll tackle in The Good Life Guide for Beginners is Flamingo. The Flamingo software can be accessed on your PC and is one way that you can make money in the game simply by taking photos, although it's a little more complex than it first seems.
At a basic level, Flamingo can earn you money simply by uploading any picture you take. These pictures will earn you money based on the number of Emokes (the equivalent of Likes) that you get on each photo. You can also earn money by uploading specific photos that were requested via a quest.
Quests aside, regular ol' photos will only give you chump change. The bigger moneymakers -- at least in the early game -- are "Hotwords." These can be thought of as trending tags on social media. Get one or more Hotwords in your photo and you'll get a post with "Buzz," substantially increasing your income from that one picture.
The Good Life Guide for Beginners - Cats, Dogs, and the Secret of Rainy Woods
As you progress through the Prologue, you'll eventually be warned to not go outside at night. Telling any journalist not to do something is a fast track to getting them to do exactly that, and Naomi unsurprisingly follows suit. That's when we learn the first big secret of Rainy Woods: every night, most of the townsfolk transform into cats or dogs!
Following some more conversation, Naomi meets Pauline Atwood, an apparent "witch" who lives in a nearby forest. She promises to make you a concoction that will solve your recent problems. All you'll have to do is acquire a few small items:
- A Tear Fruit
- A picture of a mural
Complete the Raining Cats and Dogs Quest objectives in that order. Don't just run straight to the objectives, though -- you'll want to pick up some things along the way.
A Quick Note on Seeds and Plants
As you run around town, you may notice white downward arrows on the ground. These represent items that you can pick up such as bugs and seeds. In the case of gardens, these arrows represent crops that you can harvest. Yes, you can just straight up take food out of your neighbor's garden and they don't particularly seem to mind.
The Raining Cats and Dogs Quest will take you through a fair amount of the town and surrounding area and this is a good opportunity to stock up on food. You do have to feed yourself every day, so you may as well grab these items while they're right in front of you. Take care to stop for a moment and grab anything you can when you're out and about.
Gardening, Cooking, and Health
Cooking and eating Food is important in The Good Life, as is taking care of your body. You certainly can't explore the town on an empty stomach! Your Garden will also be essential to keeping yourself fed, especially in the early game.
You can buy various prepared foods from businesses (such as pubs) and learn how to make higher-quality food, but you'll likely want to hold off on doing that until you have a little more money in your pocket. For now, it's important to make use of all of those seeds and crops you've picked up! Let's start with your Garden -- it's a pretty straightforward affair. Simply plant a seed and it grows into a usable plant a few days later.
The Good Life Cooking system is also fairly simple. All you need are the correct ingredients in your inventory and you can cook a meal. There is also a helpful filter that will only show the Food that you can cook with the items you have on hand. Cooked food doesn't just fill your hunger meter -- it can also give you minor buffs. Experiment with various different meals and you'll find some great benefits in there!
Your Health is important, too. It's actually possible to get sick in the game, especially if you stay up too late. If you do end up getting sick, you may have to go to the local Veterinary Clinic (which doubles as a hospital) to get yourself cured.
Scaling the Church and Unlocking the Cat Transformation
After learning about the town's transformations, Pauline Atwood will give you a concoction once you've gathered the Tearfruit, Catnip, and a mural picture. Surprisingly, this potion results in your eventual transformation into a Cat. You're then tasked with scaling the Church's bell tower in an effort to discover the source of a glowing light.
First and foremost, you've gained the permanent ability to transform into a Cat at will. This has its uses for exploring the world -- note the following gameplay changes when you're a Cat:
- You are a Cat.
- The "Camera" button now brings up "Cat Vision."
- Cat Vision allows you to see Claw Marks which can be used to climb walls.
- Cat Vision also allows you to target animals and attack them.
Climb the Church and you'll find a statue of Brittania. Unfortunately, the statue crumbles into dust and you're given your next task: exploring the Shrines.
Exploring Shrines (and How They Work)
The next part of The Good Life Guide for Beginners is all about Shrines. These special buildings serve several purposes, one of which is a waypoint that allows you to fast travel around the map for a fee. Shrines require that you spend money to activate and use them. Once activated, you can travel to any other active Shrine or back Home.
This is not the only ability the Shrines have, though -- they can also be used to adjust your Dog or Cat meter in either direction. This meter will affect shops, quests, and other parts of the game world.
A Note on Quests in The Good Life
By this time in the game, you'll probably have picked up a few quests. You need to know three things about The Good Life Quests:
- You cannot advance a Quest that is not active. If you try to talk to an NPC for a Quest and the Quest is not active, nothing will happen.
- Changing Quests may cause NPCs to teleport elsewhere as they may be required to be in a specific location for a Quest. Deactivating the Quest should teleport them back to where they just were, at least in my observation.
- Aside from Main Quests and Side Quests, there are also "Urgent Quests." Urgent Quests have to be completed -- you cannot override them by switching to another Quest. Make Urgent Quests your priority so you can get back to exploring the world.
How Crafting and Shopping Work in The Good Life
Following your investigation of the Shrine, you're now tasked with crafting a pair of shoes for Elizabeth Dickens. No, really. The Running, Leaping, Hopping Shoes Quest is essentially a tutorial on Crafting and shopping.
To start, you're going to need to gather Turbid Sap -- this can be acquired from certain trees in the woods. You'll also need some Small Animal Hides; these can be picked up by killing small animals while you're in Cat Mode. Take these items to McAvoy Construction and Douglas will be able to make you Crafting materials for a fee. These can then be turned over to the proprietor at Fancy & Bunny and made into Shoes.
This is one of the easier Quests we're covering of The Good Life Guide for Beginners and the next Main Quest is fairly straightforward, so let's move on to it!
Cooking a Golden Egg
After trying (and failing) to catch Elizabeth Dickens at night, you decide to speak with three people in order to get more information: Pauline Atwood (who made you the potion that unlocked the Cat transformation), Michelle O'Reilly (who tends bar in town), and Elizabeth's brother William Dickens.
Pauline and Michelle are fairly straightforward conversations, but William Dickens proves to be unhelpful. He wants "gilded, radiant, and circular" food, and so you must head into the cafe to ask about it. The man behind the counter will tell you to acquire a Golden Egg from Jan Yi Han outside and bring it to him; he'll then cook up a Golden Full Moon Fried Egg for you to take to William Dickens.
Take note that the text about it cooling off is not flavor text -- if you take too long to deliver this food, you'll have to go through the whole process again. Once you've ordered it, pick up the plate off of the counter and run up to the road to William.
Learning the Dog Transformation (and How it Works)
Once you've given William the Golden Full Moon Fried Egg, he'll start talking about complete nonsense. Naomi's boredom reaches such heights that his drivel somehow activates her transformation into a Dog. Yes, that's right -- he literally bored you into transforming into another species.
The Dog Mode is a fair bit different from the Cat Mode -- here are the key differences:
- You are a Dog.
- You cannot jump as high.
- ...but you can run faster.
- You can more easily attack enemies by pressing E.
- The Dog transformation allows you to detect scents in Camera Mode and use them to track people down.
Naomi is then tasked with tracking down Elizabeth Dickens, but you'll have to beat a Badger in combat first. Press E and get enough good hits in to defeat your adversary; should you fail this tutorial battle, you'll get some healing items and another chance to try.
With the Badger now defeated, you can finally move on to find Elizabeth Dickens. Unfortunately, you soon find something that you did not quite expect.
An Untimely Demise
Once you've reached the end of the trail, you've made an unfortunate discovery: someone has murdered Elizabeth Dickens. The murder was quite brutal, in fact -- she has a sword lodged into her chest.
Naomi panics, of course, but quickly comes to her senses and decides to take pictures of the crime scene. These lead you to glowing footprints. Naomi then notices something moving in the corner of her eye and it goes so absurdly fast that she cannot even see it. She then passes out and the next day begins.
Moving On to Route A, Route B, and Route C
The death of Elizabeth Dickens is effectively the end of the Prologue -- and we're almost at the end of The Good Life Guide for Beginners.
It's now time to move on to the game proper. There are essentially three "Routes" to complete. Each Route is one piece of the puzzle towards the story's climax. Here's how you start them:
- Route A - Receive the e-mail "[Job] Burley's Farm," and investigate the farm to begin this route.
- Route B - Receive the e-mail "[Job] Glowing Footprints" and speak to the veteran at the pub.
- Route C - Receive the e-mail "[Job] Regarding Elizabeth Dickens" and check the registry in the Town Hall.
These three Routes can be completed in any order, but all three must be completed to reach the conclusion of the main story.
By now, you've got a good grasp of the basics and can freely explore the world of Rainy Woods. Get out there and have fun!