Kudos 2

Life's a Funny Old Thing, Innit?

Demo Download
Positech Games

If you say "Cliffy," it might mean one thing to a mainstream gamer, but to someone interested in indie games, we're talking about Cliff Harris of Positech, a refugee from the conventional industry now releasing one excellent indie title after another -- Democracy, the original Kudos, and Rock Legends, and now this game.

In both this game and the original Kudos, you begin as a 20 year-old with no particular skills and a shit job as a waitron. It's essentially a resource management game; as in The Sims, your character has a bunch of needs you need to balance to avoid them becoming morose, losing all their friends, or being stuck in shit jobs for their entire lives. It is, however, mostly carried in text, in a turn-based way; each weekday, you can do one thing (other than work), and each weekend day, two. You've got a huge variety of things you can potentially do -- spending time with friends doing any number of activities with different price tags attached, doing stuff at home, shopping for equipment, looking for a new job, going to night school. Everything you do has some effect on your stats and skills.

The most immediately visible difference between Kudos and Kudos 2 is that the more recent game has more configurable avatars, and more animations associated with them; this comes at a cost, however, as the newer avatars are more cartoony and less excellent as illustrations. The second noticeable difference is that there are vastly more possible actions, minigames associated with them, and potential paths for your characters.

This is all to the good, but there's one difference I dislike: Harris has, in essence, de-Britified the newer game. Doubtless the US audience is larger, but from my perspective this is a disapointment. I like the sense that the earlier game gave me of being a Mancunian chav, and the quirky Englishness of both the reporting language and the options. Version 2 is much more Americanized, and therefore blander.

Yet, like the original, it sucks you in; you develop an emotional connection to your character, and trying to get him or her into some more stable and happier lifestyle takes effort and imagination. The fact that it's basically a text game disappears as you play, and you're likely to find yourself looking up after hours and wondering where the time has gone.


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Why do you feel the new

Why do you feel the new graphics are less excellent as illustrations? They're quite well-drawn and I found the original Kudos 3d renderings kind of creepy and unsympathetic (uncanny valley, even). And stylization isn't a bad thing.

Well, I liked 'em, I guess.

Well, I liked 'em, I guess.

I feel the same way. I

I feel the same way. I purchased the original Kudos and loved it. It had a bit of character which made me feel like I was just another Brit trying to live my life. I don't think Kudos 2 really has this. Was it a good move towards US users and a wider audience in general, yes, but I think the quirks of the first Kudos are what made me like it.

Hmm, but it raises an

Hmm, but it raises an interesting question: Would you buy the second one for something you already own in the first one? The britishness? I mean, the britishness would be the same as before and you already own that.