Part Ibiza Uncovered, part The Sims, Beach Life is the latest "reality game" to hit our PCs courtesy of Ian Livingstone of Fighting Fantasy fame. Beach Life is basically a god sim which lets you create the holiday resort of your dreams, whether that's a resort full of beautiful people living "la vie de loca" or drunk Brits trying to grope the Reps, is up to you. There are two modes to play through: the campaign mode in which you work your way through a set of scenarios and the sandbox mode. The campaign has just the right balance between serving the needs of your guests and lining your pockets--you have to tackle anything from protecting your visitors from Shark attacks, spiking their beer so they get amorous on the beach or just providing them with the right balance of fun, food and respite.
It's very pick up and play and you won't find yourself getting bogged down with too much detail. Yes the game is all about providing your guests with what they want, but as long as the beer is flowing, the nightlife swinging and there's a 24 hour burger joint to hand, you won't go far wrong. That's not to say that you can't refine your pleasure island into the most beautiful, high class establishment you can afford; it's just you will probably want to rack up the beer strength, employ a few security guards and then watch people stagger about the island throwing up in bins.
Graphically the game looks fantastic particularly the weather effects. Up close though it's rather pixelated and looses some of the detail, but as with all god sims you will spend most of your time playing in the mid-isometric view so it's not a real problem. It's the sound where Beach life really comes into its own. It comes with a built-in MP3 player which not only means you can skip between the cool ambient tracks that come with the game, but that you can also import your own tunes.Beach Life isn't really ground-breaking stuff and might not appeal to the god sim fanatics, but what it lacks in depth, it makes up for in tongue-in-cheek, stylish and above all fun gameplay.