Three months after your high school graduation, were you married, a proud parent of two, living in a mansion, and the President and CEO of the biggest company in your city? Pssh, slacker! Well, you can make up for your failure by attaining these goals and more in Life Quest, a life simulation game for PC and Mac.
Whether your avatar is a male or a female, and whatever color of the rainbow you paint his or her face and hair, he or she will be equal in utter messed-up-ed-ness. As the game begins, you've just graduated and moved to the big city. Suddenly, the phone rings! It's a friend from high school, mentioning that she's going to buy a fish. To a real person, this would be either a random event or a great time to reconnect. The Life Quest version of you, however, sees all social interaction as one thing: RIVALRY. Now you gotta make sure you buy a fish before Daphne does!
Step one: earn money. You quickly grab one of three jobs available to you in City Hall, saving cash and scheming over your Yo Ho Hoagie at Buccaneer Burger. Once you make enough, you rush to the pet shop and buy a fish. You're treated to a drum roll and a spotlight shining down on your goofy cartoon head while Daphne is left in the dark. Sweet, meaningless victory! No sooner than you start to celebrate, the phone rings again with another former friend mentioning some innocent plan which you will immediately vow to beat them at. It's all part of your overarching goal to be "the most talked about person at the high school reunion." Oh, they'll be talking, alright.
Analysis: Life Quest is fairly low-pressure as sims go, with only two meters to keep track of: happiness, and the time left in your day. The two affect each other. If you aren't happy, you'll sleep poorly, and wake up the next day with less time, and if you don't have much time in the day, you won't be able to do much other than try to get your happiness back up. So it's important to remember to get the happiness level over the line before the end of the day.
As you progress, you'll also build up your stats of intelligence, practicality, and charm, which will help you learn faster, work quicker, and impress the ladies and/or gentlemen. Once you've bested every goal, you can play around with decorating your pad and yourself, have some more babies, master jobs you didn't try, or start the game over and try to beat the last rival in record time.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the silliness of the plot mechanism driving you forward, Life Quest is surprisingly charming and addictive. If you're someone who like fiddling around with doll makers, that aspect of the game alone can have you happily customizing the exact shade of blue for your character's eyes and fretting over whether the color of your motorcycle clashes with the hair of your beloved, and should it be bothering you this much that it does? Well, just place another ad in the paper for someone who likes "living dangerously" and "doing long division." That can't fail.