YouTubers Life 2 Review: A YouTuber’s Life for me!
Like a fair share of millennials, I can name a slew of YouTubers that I watch regularly; in fact, I think I’ve dramatically increased my YouTube intake since the pandemic began. Markiplier, Smosh, Bailey Sarian, Brad Mondo, Jaime French, Cloudie McDoom, the late Unus Annus, and, a new fave, Nate the Hoof Guy (the algorithm sure is weird!). Although I really enjoy catching up with all the new videos these creatives put out (and rewatch old videos on repeat), I don’t think I’ve ever envied their lives. Sure, some of them play video games or do makeup for a living, but they put in an awful lot of work to stay on top — or at least relevant. But I won’t lie… sometimes I do wonder… what if… ?
If you’ve also ever wondered what it’d be like to be a YouTuber, UPLAY and Raiser Games have two answers for you — YouTubers Life and YouTubers Life 2. The team’s first foray into the cute YouTubing simulation series was a wild hit, with a Very Positive rating on steam from over 12,000 reviewers. The sequel, released on October 19, 2021 — a full five years later — aims to steal the spotlight from its predecessor. Featuring some familiar faces like PewDiePie, Rubius, InoxTag, GermanLetsPlay, Crainer, WillyRex, LaurenzSide, and more, YouTubers Life 2 takes players back to Newtube City and lets them run freely around town… literally.
YouTubers Life 2 starts off where the first game ended — again, literally. Players are treated to a meta version of themselves finishing YouTubers Life when — surprise! — a guy named Xavier pops up and congratulates you. You’re the first person to beat YouTubers Life, and, as such, you’ve won the grand prize, which is a new life as a bonafide YouTuber in NewTube City! You’ve always wanted to be a YouTuber, right?
Great! Then pack your bags, because it’s time to leave your boring old life behind and enter the world of grindy content creation.
Although I usually stress that it’s imperative to give each game a fair shake and not compare it too much to its predecessors, I have to say that YouTubers Life 2 feels like YouTubers Life flipped on its head. Where the first game allowed you to stay indoors and focus on creating specific content, be it a gaming channel or a music channel — even going as far as to eliminate the need for things like meals or a good night’s rest — YouTubers Life 2 wants players out and about creating a varied amount of content. This is because YouTubers Life 2 puts emphasis on following trending topics rather than setting them, which makes sense, but it eventually feels cumbersome and tedious.
For the first few hours, a typical day in YouTubers Life 2 starts out with players checking their phones for commissions to earn some side hustle cash. Often, this means you’ll need to deliver a package from a store to a person about town or take a photo with something specific in the background. While playing gopher, you’ll need to keep an eye out for any trending hashtags, like #boxing or #dancing. If you’re lost, check Instalife and see if other people have posted about the trending topics, as they usually point you in the right direction. You’ll then need to get your camera drone ready for interviewing, streaming, or snapping a photo, followed by some video editing and uploading back home.
After you’ve collected some coin and have upgraded your editing software, drone, and gaming setup, you’ll start earning more cash from your videos; however, the “freedom” you have to explore town ends up kind of tying you down to creating the kind of content the game wants you to create and not the other way around. The town itself is cute and lively, don’t get me wrong — in fact, it’s like a social media-minded Harvest Moon — but after the first 5 hours I was hoping to be farther into my own channel and content and not reliant on running clear across town to participate in a dance-off, only to run back to my house and try to edit a gaming or random interview.
As for the real-life YouTubers inserted into the game, they’re woven into the fabric of the game through little storylines that play out like a regular day. For example, PewDiePie’s entrance starts out very early on with a mysterious game releasing that can only be purchased from a shady dude in an alleyway. Pewds figures out something’s up, and his pug Maya sniffs out the bad guy trying to con other influencers around the city. With his help, you’ll pull off your first stream session (which is basically a Stepmania mini-game); afterwards, he’ll thank you for stopping the scam and remind you that “with great power comes great responsibility.”
I’d like to say that my grumblings end there — unfortunately, YouTubers Life 2 is slightly buggy at the moment. There are some smaller issues, like this extremely loud and sudden grinding noise that lasts a split second when exiting the game or the UI not being all that communicative in the form of poorly explained icons (the faces next to the subscribers, are they just varying levels of angry at me all the time?). Unfortunately, there’s a much, much bigger issue of the mouse input not working on occasion, which prevents players from not only playing the game, but exiting it entirely. It only happened to me once or twice, but it was a few times too many that I’d complete a full day of running errands and fulfilling the Instalife hashtags to come home and FINALLY film, only to have the mouse input stop working. I’d then have to force quit, get back into the game, and redo my whole day again (since the game only saves after sleeping). I was absolutely crestfallen to say the least, and perusing the Steam reviews seems to indicate that I’m not the only one experiencing such a devastating bug.
Despite all these issues, I can’t be too harsh on YouTubers Life 2 because I genuinely think some players are going to get a lot of mileage out of this one. I’d say those who haven’t played the first game will like it best, as they have nothing to compare it to. Additionally, those who love the grind that comes with farming games like Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons, or Stardew Valley will see the appeal, as not only is gameplay similar, but getting to know the townsfolk, giving them gifts, and even marrying them is all possible here. Finally, I think teenagers will probably enjoy this game best — the mechanics aren’t any more difficult than the aforementioned farming games, and the writing feels fairly aged down. On its own, YouTubers Life 2 just feels a little too grindy and lacks the necessary focus creating a YouTube channel actually requires — here’s to hoping the team can tighten gameplay to bring it back to broadcasting ourselves.
There’s an audience for YouTubers Life 2, certainly, but due to a series of odd choices, it’s not the same audience that fell in love with YouTubers Life. With the freedom of running around town comes the restriction of what videos you can actually make for your channel, which will frustrate those coming from its predecessor. If you’re in high school, love farming sims, and haven’t played the first title, this could very well be your next gaming obsession; for everyone else, be sure to like, subscribe, and check back later when the bugs have been fleshed out.
Final Verdict: 3/5
Available on: Switch, Xbox One, PS4, PC (reviewed); Publisher: Raiser Games; Developer: UPLAY; Players: 1; Released: October 19, 2021; MSRP: $29.99
Editor’s note: This review is based on a retail copy of YouTubers Life 2 provided by the publisher.