The Game of Life
|a game by||Hasbo Interactive|
Life is full of tough decisions, including what to do as a career, whom to marry, when to have children and how many to have. The Game of Life is a classic board game that makes it a competition to see who can make these choices (in a random kind of way) the best and retire with the greatest net worth. Life has come to the PSX, and it's attached to a virtual plastic spinner.
From one to six players enter their names and choose their car colors. If you don't have enough friends over to fill the slate, there are computer opponents to fill the empty slots. After that you get to choose whether you will be attending college or going right into the job market. Both of these options have advantages and disadvantages.
If you choose a career you will be randomly assigned one, not a big deal because your salary is independent of your career and there are penalties later in the game that can be avoided for each of the career choices. Then you will be randomly assigned a salary which will play a large role in how well you do in the game. Obviously, bigger is better. Also, going right into the job market will get you some additional paydays that players choosing college will not have access to.
If you choose college, you add to your odds of getting a good salary. In addition to getting to choose from three different career choices, you get to choose from three different salary levels. The disadvantage is that not only do you miss out on some paydays, but you may start the game with additional debt due to some of the bad spots on the board during your college years. You also may lose a turn, but this is no big deal as you will still get to finish even if it takes you multiple additional turns above your opponents.
This ends your real choices in the game. If you play the enhanced version, you may get to play some games of chance if you spin the right number after landing on the life squares. Everything else is strictly random, based generally on what number you spin. It's generally better to roll lower numbers and hit more good spots than to roll big numbers and blitz through the game. If the stars are aligned or you are really lucky you will have a lot of money flowing your way.
At any point in the game you can buy car or home insurance. These are useful to avoid large expenditures later if you hit a calamity. You can also buy stock in a number. Whenever someone rolls your number you get money. In the enhanced game, if you land on a payday, you get to choose who pays your check (you'll feel like you have a target painted on you if you have the most money). If you roll a ten and you are not the police officer, you will get hit with a speeding ticket ($5000). If you are the police officer, the game says so, "you ARE the police officer." It does this for other professions if they land on spots where their career helps them avoid costs.
The games of chance in the enhanced game are all based on the scratch-and-reveal philosophy. You choose a box and see what's inside. If you chose wisely, you will add to your bottom line. Some of the games also give you the option to quit while you are ahead or behind or keep going. All of them have a limited life span either way so your opponents don't get too bored while waiting for a chance to spin the wheel themselves.
At the end of the game you choose whether or not to go millionaire. If you do, in the enhanced version you still get a turn to either add to or subtract from your net worth with a cash value wheel spin. These turns last until the last competitor finishes the game.
Game options include turning off the animations that are triggered by landing on each spot on the board, turning off the sound, and turning off the drive-down-the-street animations. If you want to play through the game quickly or you've seen all the animations, these are nice options.
The graphics are decent and meant to be comical. But the faces of the people are kind of creepy in an angular sort of way. You have the option of turning off the drive-down-the-road graphics, which offer a more direct perspective than the standard top-down board game view. The introduction is rudimentary but serves its purpose.
Under the proper circumstances (a group of friends who want to interact socially while occasionally moving a piece around a board) this is a decent way to hang out. If you play it with higher expectations (for example, if you pay money for it), you will be disappointed. This is a much better rental than a purchase; play it at a party. Otherwise, try this game at your own risk.