Kudos is a turn-based life-simulation game recently released by Cliff Harris, otherwise known as Positech Studios, in the UK. The game is available in download form only for the PC, with a limited-demo available to try for free.
When playing the game, you start out as a bachelor or bachelorette living in a small flat in Slough (a small suburb of London) on your twentieth birthday, with no qualifications and little in the way of job prospects. It is up to you to decide how to live your life until your thirtieth birthday.
Each turn is worth one in-game day, and on each turn you can go to work and then do one other activity of your choosing. How you choose to spend each day, over time, defines who your character becomes: Does she prefer to stay at home and watch TV all day, go to evening classes to improve job prospects, or hang out with buddies down at the local boozer?
There are also all manner of things to buy for yourself, most of which open up even more options to you. You can buy an instrument and become a famous band-member, or buy a cat to keep you de-stressed.
Kudos are used as an in-game point system. You are given Kudos whenever you do something that is socially apt, like meeting new people, strengthening relationships and discovering new experiences. However the significance of Kudos has been dumbed down, so that you aren't under pressure to earn them, thus you are very welcome to become addicted to video gaming (*cough*).
The game is very stat-oriented, and there are a few (unsurprising) surprises in store if you let your stats get too low (or too high). If your house gets too dirty you are increasing your risk to illness. If you are too unhappy your friends won't enjoy hanging out with you. Or if you drink too much alcohol over a short time you will become an alcoholic and need to go to AA meetings to get yourself fixed up.
The visual cues the game provides are well-implemented, too. As your relationships get stronger, the white line connecting you and a certain friend gets bolder; as your house gets increasingly dirty, specks and coffee stains appear on your screen; when there's a thunderstorm outside, the background is a beautifully animated deluge.
The game is backed up by a solid download system, which Cliff adds to frequently. These include anything from new artwork such as new friends to meet and new looks for your own character, or whole new branches of employment trees.
As it is at the moment, the game is a little unfulfilling when playing for long periods, somewhat due to the lack of goals apart from the ones you set yourself. The game is best enjoyed if you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the pace of the game. The music and art lend to this, and are definitely high points of the experience for me. After talking to Cliff I can tell that he has a lot of great ideas for where he wants to go with both this game, and new games in the future. I would not be surprised if new gameplay features turn up in future patches.
Overall the game is well worth a try, I know that some of you will love it. A full featured demo is available for download, limiting you to 28 turns.