Perhaps the most interesting game I’ve played in, well, forever. The Way Of Life is a social commentary on the average human life. We enter this world as children who have gigantic imaginations and are fueled by sugar. Adults get a job and move up the corporate ladder. Lastly you play a senior citizen, who isn’t quite as snappy as the other two.
Your parents are giants, a fort in your bedroom is the most awesome castle ever, playing tag or hide-and-go-seek are the highlights of every morning, day, and evening, and going to a theme park makes you the coolest kid in your neighborhood. Imagination and discovery drive a child’s life, and The Way Of Life successfully portrays both traits. The world you spawn into is huge, dragons are flying everywhere, there’s an ocean of lava, and a wooden bridge connects your starting point to a gigantic mountain that contains every child’s favorite food ingredient, sugar! Navigating through the child’s level requires timing, jumping, and a bit of luck. While that sounds like every game, playing as a child in The Way Of Life is the only time you will jump or need luck. By only allowing children to jump, Chubby Pixel has created a direct commentary that children are unbounded by their surroundings, which is the opposite of being an adult in later levels.
‘My childlike creativity, purity and honesty, is honestly being crowded by these grown thoughts’ Kanye West
Humans can’t remain children forever, and as people grow up, they tend to lose their creativity, limit their freedom, or give up other joys to fit into society. The Way Of Life shows this by spawning your character in a sea of people all wearing the same outfit, and walking in the same direction. Your job is to blend in with the crowd, cross streets, enter your workplace and make your way all the way to the office at the end of the hall. This process signifies that you’ve ‘made it’ in Corporate America. But what you’ve really made is some money in exchange for your life.
With years of knowledge and experience, senior citizens are the gem of our society, but they may not always feel that way. Living life as an older human is difficult, your body doesn’t work as well, there are new trends that you aren’t familiar with, may not remember everything, and some senior citizens even suffer from loneliness. The Way Of Life captures all of these feelings while utilizing the same in-game level as an Adult. People are still moving around, and you still have to cross the street, but your character moves slower, not to mention there is a delay in controller input versus on-screen actions. Your character becomes tired easily, requiring breaks to sit down on a bench to catch a couple breaths. Perhaps the most powerful alliteration is that even though your senior citizen character is included in society and around everyone else, they are really alone because of their physical inability to keep-up and disconnection to current popular culture. Words can’t effectively describe the feeling, it is something that has to be experienced.
The Way Of Life by Chubby Pixel is free on Steam. Available for Windows, Mac OS X and Steam OS.