Last time on Games You May Never Have Heard Of, Rebecca reviewed the vampiric bloodbath that was Vampire: The Masquerade — Redemption. This time, we're treated to Rebecca's verdict on the multi-character, indie exploration game The Way of Life, an Early Access Steam game that's already garnered plenty of fanfare:
Ever wonder if the world looks less colourful than when you were a child? No? Neither did I until I played this game. The Way of Life has an interesting plot concept: you control three people — a child, a business man and an old man — whose perception of reality makes them experience the same place in a different way.
This is an Early Access game on Steam and the first three levels are free. Now, these three levels look me a maximum of 10 minutes to complete and I kind of found myself…unsatisfied. It was too short and I didn’t really get a feel for what the game could be. However, according to the developers, there will be over 20 levels, a multiplayer mode (although I don’t really know how that will work) and, my favourite point, it will be playable on the Oculus Rift! I don’t actually have an Oculus but I think this game would very interesting to play where you can actually see the world differently from the point of view of each character.
The Way of Life is a walking simulator. You don’t get any instructions on how to play, it’s just the usual WASD key to move and the mouse to look around. You begin as a business man, stuck in a bleak black and white world. Your task is to weave through the oncoming stream of other business men to get to your office. However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds…or looks. These business men often get in your way and push you backwards.
Now, if I used my A level English skills I could probably say something like ‘symbolism’ and talk about how being pushed backwards by these other corporate individuals is clearly symbolic for society hindering your progress in life. But I’m not going to…even though I just did. Hmm…on to level 2!
As an old man, the world seems empty and bleak and your vision is kind of like looking at the world through a television disrupted by static. It’s a lot more difficult to control the man in this level since you can’t look around very quickly and your head won’t stop bobbing. The challenge here is different compared to level 1, where instead of weaving between people you have to make sure you don’t get hit by cars.
There was something about this level I found interesting: once you crossed the first zebra crossing you couldn’t go any further until you had rested on a nearby bench for a few seconds. Once the text telling you to take a rest disappears, you can continue on your journey to react the congregation of other old people on the other side of the road.
Lastly, level 3. As a child, you see the world as full of colour and adventure. I really did enjoy this level. Not only was it slightly challenging, but it was just so vibrant and the goal was what anyone with a bit of a sweet tooth would love: a giant doughnut from the Sugar Realm! To get to this realm you have to cross a sea of lava using the whites of the zebra crossing as a bridge and avoid the dragons along the way. And this was the most challenging level of the three of them. There were just so many dragons!
Although I don’t quite understand why some people are blown away by this game, I don’t think I’ve experienced enough of it to say it’s not amazing. However, I did enjoy the way the developers showed how each character experienced the word differently, not just through what they saw, but also through the way they interacted with it.
It’s quite a philosophical game really and did kind of make me wonder if I’ll ever get to the stage where all I see is darkness and the world devoid of colour. But, as long as I don’t have an existential crisis and fall into a spiralling vortex wondering why I exist and where I’m going in my life I should be fine.
Rebecca Jones, Games and Tech Columnist
What do you make of The Way Of Life? Do you have any Early Access Steam games on your radar at the moment? Let us know by dropping us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on everything else games and tech, check us out on Facebook and Twitter.