I think it best that I add a caveat before starting my review of Youtubers Life OMG! I’m old. Well, old in gaming terms. I don’t play Fortnite (cue the haters lol!) and can remember when games were in black and white, there were only three tv channels, Freddo’s cost 1p and Wagon wheels were bigger etc, etc. Hopefully you get the gist! However I also understand and indeed use Twitch, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat and most forms of social media. I also know who Joe Sugg is (unfortunately) and Arron Crascall, Discoboy, Jake Paul, Pewdiepie and others of that ilk. However Youtubers Life OMG! is not really aimed at the likes of me. It is very much for a younger audience who aspire to have a Youtube channel and become social media influencers. When I think of social media influencers I immediately think of the ill fated Fyre Festival (especially having recently watched the excellent documentary about it on Netflix- well worth a watch) and to be honest their influence over me is pretty much nil. When receiving the Xbox One version of Youtubers Life OMG to review I therefore was not thinking that it was going to be my favourite game ever. However, as with all my reviews I will try to be fair…..honest.
I suppose it was inevitable that given the sheer amount of simulators that someone would tackle the subject of Youtube, social influencers and social media stars. Devs U-Play online originally brought us Youtubers Life on PC via Steam back in 2016. With publishers Raiser Games they have updated the game for console release under the guise of Youtubers Life OMG!
The aim of the game is simply to become the most successful youtuber on the planet. At the start of the game you have the option of designing your avatar although the choices were fairly basic with the most choice being in respect of clothing. You were also prompted to choose a personality type which determined you avatars goals in life. The next decision is the most important being what your youtube channel will be about. The choices are gaming, cooking and music. Being the adventurous person I am I initially opted for gaming. Essentially the aim of the game is to make video’s of your chosen interest, post them on your youtube channel and gain views and subscribers and eventually make enough money to be a full time youtube superstar. The video and editing process is dealt with via a rather baffling two stage mini-game. The first section involved picking cards to boost your stats and then arranging the clips into the most appropriate order. I’m sure there is a right way to do this however I adopted a rather random approach to this and whatever I did didn’t seem to make much difference. The difficulty of the mini-games supposedly ramps up as you progress but I didn’t really notice any difference which might be because I hadn’t progressed sufficiently in the game for things to change.
Regardless of which path you choose you start off living in your mum’s basement shooting videos with your basic setup and then posting online on your newly created youtube channel. As you progress you can upgrade your system thus improving the quality of your videos and increasing your views, subscribers and fame. In time you move out of your mum’s to a flat share and then onward and upward eventually getting your own mansion and yacht. It all sounds very straightforward but with all management sims there are a lot of things to monitor and do to get to the top. As well as making sure your video’s make the grade you have to make sure your character gets enough sleep, food and that they socially interact to make friends and create new opportunities. You get to go to the cinema, parties and discos with your friends as well as conventions and product launches. At all of these you can meet new people and try and increase your profile.Early in the game you even have to send your character to study at school so that you pass your exams and keep your virtual mother off your back. Whilst your videos and channel will eventually earn you good money you initially have to take part time jobs to earn enough money to upgrade your equipment and buy new games and consoles to play and review (if you take the gaming route). Eventually you can collaborate with other influencers and employ staff to make the video’s for your channel.
Very early on in the game you will be introduced to the social media app on your in-game mobile. This is basically a twitter rip-off with which you interact with your fans and indeed your haters. You also get to moderate the comments on your videos and although you will receive negative comments they are nowhere near as brutal as those you would receive in real life. I think the devs have missed a trick here as the interactions are fairly humourless and soon become dull. Your phone also has your calendar which you need to monitor to keep an eye on up and coming conventions, product launches etc where you can make new contacts and interact with important companies.
I played both the gaming and cooking channels and each had distinct mini-games that needed to be mastered to progress. The cooking channel/career was the most fun as you get invited to cook in famous restaurants which is done via an ‘Overcooked’ style mini-game. The gaming channel had you attending gaming conventions and playing new games and trying to beat high scores to earn new consoles and games (the space invaders style mini-game being my favourite here). The music channel/career appears to have a ‘Guitar Hero’ style mini-game which looks quite fun and despite my antipathy towards the game I will give this a try.
Whichever path you take there is plenty to do to build your channel and get the money rolling in. There are various tasks and mini-quests to perform along with churning out content for your channel, keeping your character rested and fed and making sure you maintain an active social life to increase your profile and create new opportunities. As with all simulation games you need to keep everything balanced and ensure none of your stats begin to slip or else you will lose views and subscribers. This can be quite grindy at first but as your numbers increase it becomes strangely addictive.
The graphics are absolutely fine but don’t really push a machine as capable as the Xbox One. I would say that the graphics have not had much of an overhaul since the original PC version in 2016. The cartoony look of the characters gives it the look of many a mobile game and it does not particularly stand out from other games of this genre. The Sims influence is clear in the design of the rooms and the cutesy big eyed avatars are very familiar and present in many games of this type. The cooking mini games reminded me of ‘Overcooked’ both in gameplay and look which to be honest isn’t a bad thing. To be fair the graphics suit the feel the game is going for and do not detract from the game in any way shape or form. It’s simply a case of making the game look very familiar and the devs taking an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it ” approach.
One thing that was frustrating was the camera angles. The game has opted for a Sims style overview and you can zoom and rotate the camera to find a convenient position so you can access everything in your room/office. Unfortunately it was difficult to find the perfect angle, particularly when the spaces got bigger as you progressed through the game. The fact that the walls of the room/building stubbornly remained solid was particularly inconvenient and some important items got hidden making it difficult to access everything without constantly changing the camera angle.
One word….annoying! The repetitive music is quite grating and the characters talk a strange gibberish reminiscent of Simlish in ‘The Sims’. Whilst this made up language worked in the latter, here it just comes across as annoying and was not particularly helpful in determining whether a conversation was going well. The audio really does not enhance or add to the game in my opinion which is a shame. In all fairness, with no actual comprehensible dialogue I suppose there wasn’t really anywhere for the devs to go with it.
With the three different channels/careers to pursue the game does have longevity as each takes a fair amount of time and effort to play through. By allowing you to choose your personality type at the start of each game you can apparently play each channel in a different way so there is some replayability once you have completed all three strands of the game. I found the game strangely addictive and I was curious to try out more than one channel/career. In the time I had with the game I did not see too much repetition between each channel/career which made each a reasonably distinct and unique experience. I will go back and try the music path to see how that pans out as the Guitar heroesque mini-game looks quite fun. It is fair to say that you get a good amount of game for the price and once you invest in an avatar and channel you will find it quite addictive.
I started my review with a caveat (typical Lawyer) and it was always going to be an uphill struggle for Youtubers Life OMG! to make me a fan. I must admit it did become quite addictive but ultimately I did get bored with it and didn’t really care in the end if my character became a youtube star or not . As I said just simply not a game for me. I do think the game would work well as a mobile game and indeed there are ios and Android versions already out there. Those with ambitions to be a Youtuber who are perhaps a bit too young and skint to buy the proper kit to successfully stream games on twitch and youtube will probably love this game and it is worth a look for them. I generally don’t dislike simulation games but I like them to be of something that I am probably never going to have the opportunity to do in real life and perhaps by focusing on the gaming channel it was all a little bit too close to home for me. I would never buy a Law office simulator (who would) and therefore as I review games for Thumb Culture there was no sense that I was doing something I couldn’t or wouldn’t do in real life. All that being said if the devs brought out Youtubers Life Fyre Festival dlc I would be all over it (I really do recommend that documentary on Netflix (other video streaming platforms available)).
In conclusion, I think with this one it’s a case of “It’s not you, it’s me” and therefore I give Youtubers Life- OMG! a Thumb Culture Bronze Award.
Disclaimer: We received a digital code to carry out this review.