This was only a matter of time, right? There's a sim/tycoon game for more or less every profession in some form or another, so one focusing on the noble art of the YouTuber was a dead cert. YouTubers Life originally launched on PC a couple of years ago and, as you might expect, it became a pretty popular title on the video sharing platform. It's now made the jump to PS4 with YouTubers Life OMG, an abbreviation we're not convinced it deserves.
You start your video-making career by choosing one of three paths. You can focus on either gaming, cooking, or music, all of which have their own gameplay quirks. For example, a gaming YouTuber has to purchase new consoles and games constantly to stay on trend, while a cooking vlogger will have to invent new recipes and keep their cupboards filled with ingredients. It's appreciated that the three careers all have distinct elements, possibly warranting more than one play through if you're curious to see how they differ.
However, they do have a lot in common at the same time. Whichever path you choose, you'll start off living with your mother, shooting videos in your bedroom. Starting from scratch, you'll have to make effective use of your limited resources to start building up your channel, earning subscribers and views - and a little bit of money - as you begin to make a name for yourself. In the early game, you'll also have to study for exams and go to work to get a cash injection. Of course, more money means more supplies and better equipment, which in turn will help you grow your channel. It all feeds into itself well enough.
On top of that, you need to feed your customised character and make sure they rest from time to time, and you'll also want to start making friends with others at parties and events. Having friends becomes more significant later on as you start thinking about collaborating for some videos, and getting into the good books of important companies is always a good idea.
Eventually you'll build your fortune, have employees to help push out more videos, and inhabit larger and larger spaces. It's pretty compelling; once you settle into a groove of managing your channel, your relationships, and your finances, there's definitely something satisfying about seeing the numbers all going up.
However, there are a few areas where the game disappoints, and presentation is one of them. Visually it's not too bad, but there are some noticeably low resolution textures here and there, and it's not particularly inspiring. It doesn't really need to look much better than it does, but it's pretty lacklustre nonetheless. Music and sound is about the same; it gets the job done, but it's nothing to write home about, and the gibberish dialogue and some other effects are jarringly low quality.
Navigating the game can be a bit of a pain. You can zoom, rotate, and pan the camera as much as you like, but it can be hard to get a view on everything you need to see, especially when you move onto the bigger locations. Add to this the fact that walls don't disappear when the camera's behind them, and it all feels a bit clumsy. It's not unplayable, just cumbersome to control at times.
Something else the game struggles with sometimes is explaining things properly. A tutorial consisting of various text boxes is fine, but we were left a little puzzled about a couple of things that seemed to be glossed over -- nothing too major, but a little frustrating. We also encountered a couple of bugs, one of which forced us to reboot the game.
It's a shame that there are a number of issues, because as we've said, the game itself is quite addictive once you get going. The act of shooting and editing videos amounts to two straightforward minigames, and as you progress, the difficulty ramps up at a consistent level, always leaving you with plenty to do and never quite enough time to do it all. There's a decent little management sim in here, if you can deal with its shortcomings.
YouTubers Life OMG is an agreeable video-making tycoon game wrapped up in a few fundamental problems. The main gameplay loop is compelling, and it's a pleasure to watch as your subscriber tally and bank account start to soar. However, some poor presentation, a clumsy camera, and a couple of other small issues stop it from being the viral hit it wants to be. Those looking for a casual management sim to tackle may find some enjoyment here, but it's hard to recommend it to anyone else.