Kudos applies business simulation-style strategic management to the personal life of an ordinary, everyday young adult. Instead of overseeing an entire neighborhood or a full household, as in the Sims, players focus on their single main characters, guiding them daily through all minor and major life decisions. Kudos players steer their destinies turn-by-turn, so there's plenty of time to ponder the pros and cons of a new job or relationship.
Each turn represents another day, and another chance to choose one activity for the evening after work. Taking night classes is the quickest way to improve skills and land a better job, but it also takes up free time that could be spent having fun. Socializing with friends can improve a bad mood and boost the character's "Kudos" score, but most nights out cost money, and time spent at taverns and movie theaters doesn't do much to improve one's station in life.
All said, Kudos is about simulating the life of a young adult who has absolutely nothing except an ambition to have something. Whether that something is an enviable career, an unflappable sense of self-confidence, bevy of best friends, or a collection of expensive gadgets and automobiles, is left completely up to the player.
Graphics & Sound:
If you were looking for an example of a game creating expansive play without flashy graphics, then KUDOS is your cup of tea. There is a lot of game to be played as well as being moddable.
As I just mentioned the game doesn't have a lot of flashy graphics. In fact you may best say that this a text game with a few graphical examples for flair. The most often seen graphics are those of your player character and his associated network of friends. There is no animation, but the characters do reflect their mood.
The music in the game has a nice background techno beat that is easy to listen to. Just like many other aspects of the game, simple but perfect for the job.
In KUDOS, you initially choose your avatar, name, and toggle a few initial character statistics, such as IQ and confidence. You basically start out at the bottom of the social barrel. You have a crappy basic job. You live in a small flat. You have few friends, and you are uneducated. Just like the real world, you have to juggle your social life with work, while gaining an education to get a better job.
You work all day so much like real life, you only have the evening to do anything. And, just like the real world you have to have money to do anything. The more you make, the more you can do. There are so many combinations that I could not begin to break them all down for you. So lets do this, and look at a few days in the life of... well, of me. So Monday morning, I go to work and have a bad day at work. This affects my mood. Now I have tons of options, but due to my mood, I will be content tonight to just have a jog, and my "turn" or evening is over. Tuesday morning, I have a good day at work, so I am in a better mood. I decide that since I have the money, I am going to get together with a few friends out at the bar. Depending on their personal interests, some of my friends have a good time and some don't. My interaction with others affects my Kudos score. The higher my score, the better things go for me in life. I could go on but you start to get the idea of how expansive this becomes, especially when you're faced with deciding between friends and school.
KUDOS offers an extremely challenging game. Even with me playing on Normal, I found it quite difficult to juggle it all and still succeed. There are settings for Easy and Hard as well. I didn't dare hang around on Hard for too long. When life is hard, it will beat you down quick. It is just rewarding when life is easy. I found myself entranced constantly trying to stay on top no matter which setting I had it on. One thing you can say about it all is that life sure isn't getting any easier.
There are many intricate mechanics all playing in harmony to create KUDOS. The interface is a simple, clean set up of drop-down menus and arrow pointers that are extremely simple and straightforward to operate. From there, it gets a little more complex about how each of the available activities affects all of the aspects of your mood. This is a game that is best explained through experience, just like life. This is one of the games that shows the strength of the independent game movement. It is in your best interest to give this game a try. Enjoy.
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