Legend of Homebody AKA Quarantine Simulator
Despite the advice that tends to flow freely from the mouths of our elders, the 9 – 5 grind is simply not for everyone (Hell, there’s enough discourse to suggest it isn’t for anyone). Plenty of people have had to adjust to a completely different work/life balance since the onset of the pandemic, forcing a larger number of people to convert their home spaces into solo-productivity centers. For the freelancer crowd, this is nothing new — making a living from the comfort of one’s home has long been how they’ve been keeping the lights on. It’s this lifestyle Legend of Homebody explores, and it’s both more challenging and more doable than I had initially believed.
Legend of Homebody asks players to choose from one of three starting characters with different stats and backstories, then asks them to see how long they can make the freelancer life work. If players can help their character of choice last for two years, they’ll effectively win the story mode, although there are easier options to choose from should that present too difficult a challenge. For my playthroughs, I decided to stick with the female programmer gone contractor and got right to work; although my first run was a little bumpy, I was able to enjoy a financially stable, even upper class existence by the end of my second try.
The controls are simple, as Legend of Homebody is all point and click. Additionally, it’s easy to get the hang of the gamplay, as it’s turn-based and not time-based. You’ll have to make sure you’re well-rested, well-fed, and wealthy over the course of two years, budgeting not only your money but also your time. Want to take some high-paying freelance work? Better take a few courses to make sure you’re qualified. Want to enter in a game jam? Make sure you’re in good health and a good mood before you start, lest you get sick while coding for two days. Carefully managing your personal stats against things like money and time is the name of this game, and it’ll take some time to get the strategy down right.
There are a few different avenues your character can explore when it comes to income methods — writing, art, music, or coding. Releasing individual chapters of online novels can bring in money or, if you’re feeling generous, you can offer them to your fans for free to build popularity. If your art skills are up to snuff, you can take on commissions like profile pictures, comics, or even design game characters, scenes, or items. You can also take on commissions for music, or create and sell your own albums. Finally, you can code an entire game and sell it, but without decent art or music skills, you’ll need to outsource that work.
Also, just winning the lottery is an option, which I highly recommend doing. 😉
After a short while, it’s possible to get the hang of eating specific meals to boost stats, taking on classes as needed, renting out warehouses to publish and sell your CDs, painting collections, and novels, and, if you’re lucky, get to travel all around Asia. I learned that focusing early on writing skills to get some passive income from my novels, then dumping as much time as possible into learning art to take on quick work that pays decently got me through the first year, then creating a massive game and outsourcing the music had me raking in the cash enough for me to travel for the entire last half of the last year and still end the game with over 384,000 in cash. This was, of course, after I failed miserably the first time around and was literally crushed under the mental pressure of trying to make it on my own. So, you know, it’s like life a little.
Legend of Homebody wasn’t without its issues, unfortunately; I found it perhaps a bit unrealistic at first due to the pressure mechanic. It’s cool, don’t get me wrong, but it starts off at about 25% and increases at a pretty fast pace unless you earn quite a bit of money early on. I was lucky enough to win the lottery my second playthrough and basically take a lot of that pressure off, but in my first go-around I couldn’t even make it to the second year before the pressure killed me. Where I found it odd was that, although I wasn’t raking in the cash, I was still making more than I was spending and had plans to release a game shortly that was sure inject a whole lotta cash into my account. What gives?
Turns out, it was dating that was screwing me over. Yes, in my character’s quest for companionship, she met with three run-of-the-mill dudes who criticized everything about her, from her age to her face to her freelance lifestyle. One of them continuously asked me for money, while another wanted to talk marriage quickly so I could take care of his parents. In my first playthrough, I think it was the dating mechanic that did me in; I didn’t bother the second time around and was able to flawlessly fly through both years with more cash than I knew what to do with. Maybe it’s not an issue with the game, but a reflection of how women tend to be happier alone?
Although I really enjoyed my time with Legend of Homebody, the game isn’t without its issues. There’s still some placeholder text (the romantic candidates let me know they worked at XXX company, for example) and the buttons on completed classes remain untranslated. The translations themselves are… fine? There are clunky errors all over the place, but they’re more amusing than detracting. Like you can absolutely get the gist of the game, but it’s not necessarily because the translations worked, but more because the game itself is easy enough to understand. If the game had gone through a few more rounds of proofreading, I would have easily scored this a point higher; unfortunately, Legend of Homebody didn’t receive the polishing touches it needed.
I spent an embarrassing amount of time playing Legend of Homebody, but I have no regrets. I feel like I saw a peek into the daily routine of a freelancer trying to find what works best for them, really giving their all into this lonely yet rewarding lifestyle. The translations really should have been attended to better, but that doesn’t stop Legend of Homebody from being simple, addicting fun. If you’re looking for a different kind of casual strategy game, you could do a lot worse than Legend of Homebody. Can you make the freelance life work for you?
Final Verdict: 3/5
Available on: PC (reviewed); Publisher: CrazyPrince; Developer: 疯王子; Players: 1; Released: July 8, 2021; MSRP: $5.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a retail copy of Legend of Homebody provided by the publisher.