Whether reality superstar or gameplay queen, becoming a celebrity in 2021 seemingly comes down to how viral a nonsense clip can become. In this sense, there are entire YouTube and TikTok channels thriving on how memeable their hosts are. In reality, however, it actually comes down to a nerve-wracking hustle. Any YouTuber worth their salt has to do everything in their power to stay relevant while remaining true to themselves. It is a constant tug of war between doing something new or staying consistent for their viewers. After all, “earning that bread” slowly beckons more attention as creators slip into a one-track mind of internet popularity. This is the glitz and the glamour, the nitty and gritty, and all too real-life that YouTubers Life 2 attempts to simulate.
After choosing a starting area and home town, gamers who have ever played The Sims will find a familiar, almost nostalgic, feeling in YouTubers Life 2. Players start their journey by building their ideal player character. This is done by choosing one of two body types, then moving on to making the heart-wrenching decision of which hairstyle, face type, eye colour, facial hair, and oh-so-many-more things a game like this rightfully ought to have at face value. The sheer amount of options are surprising, to say the least, but it does allow one to create, or recreate, whomever they choose to be.
From there, the game throws players into a mostly empty home save for a bed, a basic gaming computer on a desk, and a drawer or two for storage. Thereafter, the game introduces a little robot helper whose sole purpose is to ensure gamers remember certain tasks — activities like shooting, editing, and publishing videos; going about town to meet with new and/or old contacts, and more. Soon after, gamers are set on their way to creating their first video – a vlog.
Creating videos is much more involved than expected. There are four to five “rounds” of recordings players have to make. Each round presents with a set of cards dictating the direction and flow the video will take. These include how to open videos (for instance whether by asking for subscribers, or some terrible joke), then moving on to a selection of comments regarding the video at hand, and eventually closing out with another choice between just awkwardly cutting the feed, telling more jokes, or asking for subscribers and likes. As is evident, there is some overlap between the various rounds — this comes into play once players jump onto their computers and start the editing process.
Editing videos is a smooth process. All recorded clips are presented at the top of a window resembling most video editors. These clips can be dragged into the bottom timeline of the video and sorted to best fit into a final video. In order to make it easier on players, every clip also comes with a puzzle-like mechanic where it showcases how the clips could flow into each other. It does this by using little tabs on either side of the clips. Some clips will feature limited tabs, while others will have three tabs on either side. Naturally, linking the tabs together neatly will result in a video that flows nicely. Once the editing is done, players need to choose a title, ensure all relevant tags are present, and hit publish.
From the first two (2!) likes and zero subscribers, through to the first milestone of 30 subscribers and a thousand total likes, the endgame here is to become the best creator YouTubers Life 2 has ever seen. With every like and subscribe coming in after publishing a video comes a little bit of a mood boost. This grows into something of an addiction as various milestones start flying by. 30 Subscribers may be exciting, but imagine what it feels like hitting that first thousand?! As expected, this means players will go up against the best of the best. Those who choose to specialise in Commentary or Gaming videos will eventually meet up with the likes of JackSepticEye or PewDiePie (both of whom have faithfully been recreated in the game), while players who want to focus on vlogging, music, or even cooking; will get to collaborate and meet up with prominent creators in those respective fields.
YouTubers Life 2 does a great job of walking players through the basics of becoming a cool and collected new YouTuber. From shooting, editing, and publishing videos, through to the nail-biting experience of checking the like to dislike ratio, and even making sure the comments under each video are relevant and free of toxic behaviour; YouTubers Life 2 truly does simulate what it means to be a creator. On top of all of that, players will also have to run around town to meet up with friends, see what the latest and greatest is in regards to technology (there are cute mockups of both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X); ensure their YouTubers are fed and/or have slept well enough, and a whole lot more. Similar to The Sims, characters in this world also talk a whole lot of gibberish.
This simulation extends beyond the overworld gameplay as well. Mock versions of prominent social media platforms (Instagram, TikTok, and Patreon) are also present in the game, and to grow a following, players need to choose one of these and start snagging pics everywhere they go. While this system is a lot more rudimentary than the actual YouTube bit, it works well to simulate the real life of an online superstar.
One factor of the game that might give players pause, is how quickly characters rise in popularity. While YouTubers Life 2 is a game at the end of the day, the rate at which players become “successful” feels unnaturally fast. Thankfully this is the only real issue caveat experienced throughout the review period. Of particular (and personal) note is how hosting and/or going to social events can cause just as much anxiety as events in real life!
In most of the big events, players get invited to serve no real purpose other than to meet one or two new faces and grow that ever expanding contact list. In this way, the game has a relationship bar for every contact of note, but maxing said bar does not do anything much beyond opening up collaborations with certain creators or learning more about the kinds of videos they like. While the mock social media aspect is nice and simple, the whole social event aspect ends up feeling kind of hollow and unecessary. At the end of the day these only exist to further promote the ‘celebrity’ experience.
It must also be noted just how rudimentary the game feels on a conventional platform like Xbox Series X. The aesthetic of the game, as well as the simple way everything plays out, would serve much better on – hear me out – a mobile platform like iPad! From the onset, the game absolutely seeps mobile game energy, but in the best possible way.
Commands and inputs are simple, single button presses, and walking around is a matter of using a single analogue stick. Loading, while not the best, will likely translate accordingly to mobile. Perhaps the biggest reason why it “feels” like a mobile title is simply because of the way the game looks and how it is designed. It is so… simple and basic in its graphical requirement. There is no heavy lifting here in terms of graphics; making it easy to port the Nintendo Switch version to iOS and Android in the future. Very few console first games lend themselves so well to mobile platforms, but YouTubers Life 2 is definitely one that feels like it will fit the bill.
YouTubers Life 2 is a very unique simulator. While not exactly “based on real-life”, it does a good job of offering gamers a glimpse into what might be involved in the process of becoming a fancy pants online celebrity. It accurately portrays the glitz and the glamour of garnering likes and building a reputation for millions of viewers, while the person behind the camera slowly counts the subscriber count and wishes for it to skyrocket overnight. There is a tiny bit of overlap with other games like the Sims, but in the end YouTubers Life 2 stands on its own as a prominent new simulator worthy of interest and playtime. It may not be profound in any way, but it certainly is good fun.
|Beautifully nerve-wracking||Progress feels too quick|
|Cool seeing your favourite YouTube celebrity||Filming and editing mini games can become tedious|
|Great Sims-like aesthetic|
Title reviewed on Xbox Series X with code supplied by Raiser Games.