There comes a time in every YouTubers Life 2 playthrough where you begin doubting things. Not just the quality of the game you’re playing, not just the concept of feedback loops in gaming keeping your attention focused on something crap yet shiny for hours on end. But everything. Like all the life decisions that have led you to this moment, hunched over in front of a screen, watching a tiny game character hunch over a screen too.
As I’ve covered previously in this feature, YouTubers Life 2 is both cutesy and horrifying. Vibrant, cartoonish graphics do little to mask what is a very cold and callous content creator simulator, and it’s impossible to discern whether or not we’re playing probably the highest form of satire possible or something so utterly tone-deaf it doesn’t realise what it’s doing.
To keep it brief, this is a game about following trends rather than setting them. Forging your own trail as a creator will get you nowhere – while you can chase the trends however you like, with gameplay videos, live-streaming or reaction content, you’ll always have to chase those trends. If you don’t, you’re just not going to get anywhere in YouTubers Life 2, and that’s just a super bleak message. It’s compounded with the games new setting – an entire city built to nurture the best and brightest YouTubers. If this doesn’t sound like dystopian fiction to you, I don’t know what would.
If this is starting to sound slightly fascinating to you, I would warn against it. Don’t fall into that trap. The eternal question of whether or not YouTubers Life 2 is satire or not does not warrant personal investigation. The gameplay largely revolves around filming videos (obviously) sharing trendy things on Instagram, and schmoozing vapid characters. You can explore the city, eating noodles, purchasing the coolest stuff and holding them at arms length like a stinky, sick-filled backpack.
So you make videos based on what everyone is talking about, you get money from those videos in varying amounts of success, and you can use that money to buy more stuff to make more videos. It’s not a satisfying loop, mainly because it’s a bit abstract what constitutes a successful video. As scenes play out you’ll pick cards which let you react to things, and your decision will shape which of the indeterminate values increase or decrease. It doesn’t really seem to make a lot of sense, and as a result the game just feels a bit pointless most of the time.
I will admit that I am far from the target audience for this game. I’m probably far too old and jaded to enjoy it for what it is – a cute, simple game that gives kids a little simulated taste of the content creator lifestyle. I think what’s at the core of Youtubers Life 2‘s sheer mediocrity is the fact that it’s just not simulating anything exciting. At least with Train/Flight/Farm Simulator there’s a mechanical element to reproduce. But all Youtubers Life 2 has to go on is this concept that streamers/content creators make money by making videos, and it can’t emulate much of what goes into that.
What’s attractive about the YouTuber career is that, from the outside looking in, you’re just getting paid to play games on camera. As it turns out, playing a game about playing games to get famous just doesn’t have that much of a draw to it. The game is functional, sure. And I bet kids would get a real kick out of it for a little while. But it just doesn’t have enough meat on its bones to be interesting. It’s actually a step back from the first game in a lot of ways – many of the upgrades you earn don’t make tangible differences to your performance in a way that you can see.
With an absolute minimum of feedback from the game, and ever-increasing costs, you just sit back and wonder – “Why am I still playing this game?”. Much like the tiny pool of energy YouTubers Life 2 gives you to complete the myriad shallow activities it offers, you just get burnt out quick.
YouTubers Life 2 overall thoughts
YouTubers Life 2 is a shallow reinterpretation of the original that has gutted a lot of what was interesting about this series. It’s done that in order to create this wider YouTube universe, with a free-roaming city and flexible goals to achieve. But too much has been sacrificed for too little. This game is just too shallow, too basic, to amuse anyone for more than a couple of hours.
Keep younger kids entertained with it, sure. But don’t expect much more than that.