The refreshing originality and contrast of visuals versus plot make the Family Man beta a game to keep an eye on this year. It was available to some this weekend to experience the first 30 minutes of game-play, which was roughly three days in the game. It is a first-person RPG with a sort of more stylised Minecraft aesthetic. The plot focuses on morality and ethical actions paired whilst balancing your home-life.
The beta starts and the character has just been fired from his office job for doing his friend a mysterious favor. Fast-forward to a meet-up with said friend at night, and the character is coerced into unknowingly shooting the friend – it happens to the best of us, right? Therefore, the character has now ended up with a huge sum of debt to the mafia which will be paid through favors. This is where the game kicks in and your day starts. There are family obligations to keep them happy and be back to tuck the kids in at night (otherwise they might just leave you). Also, there are daily bills which cannot reach over $100 by midnight, and how you make this money is up to you, whether it be legally or illegally. Some examples being: helping town-members by killing defenseless rabbits and their blind mothers, or through a wholesome shift at a burger place. There are also nice ways to help the town-members, like aiding a cocky man in stalking his crush for her interests so he can manipulate her into a relationship. The morality is off the charts.
This leads to the features of the Family Man beta. It is great how the developers did not go the usual RPG route of a time-skip when doing activities. Instead, working a shift at the burger place is a mini time-management game (where you can also discreetly steal from the till). This overjoyed my nostalgia and my addiction to bad, free time-management games as a thirteen-year-old. It adds to the entertainment value which means there is no boring moment. Also, from watching the trailer it seems these get more complicated as they go on and discover more jobs. This is promising that there will be no repetitiveness in the full release of the game.
Also, it helps when the dialogue is genuinely funny and not forced, it helps the game’s progression become so smooth and enjoyable. For example, there are small unexpected lines by the characters and funny descriptive lines for items. In the beginning, you must pack away your office belongings which include a stapler that is ‘definitely not your stapler.’ It is simple, and some may consider bad, but it fits in so well with the aesthetic. This aids exploration as there is a desire to find all these witty comments. The area in the beta is only a small town near a beach but it features a lot of shops – a theatre, a coffee shop and a pharmacy to name a few. This was fun to explore as the soft color tones were pleasing to the eye and created such a calming experience – which is ironic given the plot.
The only negative I found was the music. At first, the music was soothing and the definition of nice everyday music for your neighborly duties. But then it got a bit repetitive and annoying especially paired with a cow mooing at me no matter where I went. It was not even diverse moos, just the one moo haunting me potentially more than the mafia debt. However, this is not a big issue and is easily fixed by muting the game and playing other music. In fact, the soundtrack was not necessarily needed in the beta to progress so by muting it there was nothing to miss. Although, the sound may become more important in the full release; however, I expect the music must change if the area changes. But this is just all speculation.
All in all, this first look at the Family Man beta was promising and incredibly original. It is due to release early in 2019 and should be on your wishlist.