With a name like LifeQuest, you might expect some sort of sweeping life-simulation. Perhaps a miniature saga like the board game of Life, where you pick a career, overcome hardships, build a family and ease into retirement.
But while you do most of those things in the iPad game LifeQuest, you're really only doing them for one reason: To look more successful than everyone else at your high school reunion.
To which I say: Ha! Finally, some honesty!
Or at last, an enjoyable version of honesty. The game would probably be even more honest if your character, who can be male or female and customised to your heart's content a la The Sims, only started out caring about his or her high school reunion. Post-matriculation life would begin with dreams of wealth and success, and of seeing stupid Vivian's face when she sees all the wonderful things that success has allowed.
But as time went by, life would become, well… life, and by the time the reunion actually happened, it wouldn't seem all that important anymore. "Perspective" would have been gained, and it'd be enough to just show up, have a drink or two (not too many!) and be cool with everyone.
(Of course, this could still be done while quietly noting how much thinner and better-looking you've managed to remain than the vast majority of your more-popular classmates.)
But LifeQuest isn't nearly so deep, and that's really OK. This is a Sims-esque life-building game where you manage your time and undertake a number of tasks — maintaining a job, getting a pet, building relationships, renovating your apartment — all with a limited amount of money and time per day. It's a classic time-sink and an enjoyable one.
It's a surprisingly hooky game, and one that you'll find yourself wanting to keep playing in spite of yourself. It starts out free, though once you're good and into it, you'll have a chance to buy the whole game for $5.49. Which may seem nefarious but feels like a fair practice — by the time the purchase window pops up, you'll know if this is something you want more of. Chances are good that it will be.
Despite LifeQuest's vaguely psychotic view of personal success (players have a "happiness meter" that can be filled by resting and doing leisure activities, and you can subsist on a diet consisting entirely of fast food), I found that I really enjoyed my time with the game.
That's in part because LifeQuest is resolutely, almost joyously shallow. There's something about iOS games that makes it easy to embrace shallowness, and I found that I did so with a smile.
Shallowness isn't always something to be celebrated. Sometimes, you want to regrow life on Mars, or smite an ancient evil, or solve a bedeviling puzzle.
But other times, you just want to show up at your high school reunion with with a bulging wallet, looking fabulous.
LifeQuest HD [iTunes App Store]