If you were to type life simulation games into Google it would give you a vast selection of games including the likes of Bitlife and Animal Crossing to name a couple. Yet, when I think of life simulation games, my mind instantly goes to The Sims franchise and admittedly for many of us it would be the same. In the franchises twenty-year life span we haven’t really seen many games that are incredibly similar to that of The Sims. This was until the past few years.
Back in twenty-seventeen, a game that was going by the name of Project Vie started circulating online. The game gained a lot of attention and claimed to be better than The Sims as well as being a direct competitor to it. As convincing as it seemed, Project Vie was, in fact, a hoax.
Let’s fast forward to twenty-nineteen and an Indie game called Paralives appears and it started to gain a fair amount of attention which is great! While the game is still in development at this moment, regular updates are provided online via the creator’s Twitter, Patreon, the official Paralives site and a number of fansites.
Before I talk more about Paralives, I need to make this clear. I haven’t made this post as a Paralives is better than “X” game or to start arguments over aspects of the game. It is simply a reflection of what I personally think about the game and what the community has seen through development updates and reveals so far.
Now if you don’t know what Paralives is, here is a quick description of the game.
“Paralives is an upcoming doll house life simulation indie game for PC and Mac. In Paralives, you are free to build homes, create characters and manage their lives inside their homes and all around an open world town. The game features innovative build tools that are easy to use but powerful for advanced builders. The simulation mode allows players to explore a city full of events, people to meet and ways to make their Parafolks evolve and live a happy life (or not, if they choose to)!
Building a dream house requires a lot of flexible tools. In Paralives, builders are not limited to a grid. Players can build walls of any length and at any angles. Your perfect house contains curved or slanted walls? Paralives has the tools for that. You want to recreate your real life home? Use the in-game measuring tape to recreate the exact dimensions! You can also fully customize object colors and textures as well as the size of windows and furniture. Just select an object, pull the corner anchors and make that window larger or upgrade that single bed to a king bed!
Creating the best life for your Parafolks couldn’t be possible without enjoying what the town has to offer beyond the walls of their houses. That’s why Paralives let’s you explore a cozy open world neighborhood filled with shops, parks, workplaces and other interesting spots to discover and meet people.
The name Paralives is a reference to parallel lives, allowing players to live different virtual lives and build homes to stage them.”
The first time I heard about Paralives was when an image of a small looking home started to appear all over my timeline on Twitter a day or so after it was first uploaded in early July last year. At first, I thought it was an early development screenshot of the next The Sims game as it looked somewhat similar to The Sims 4. Taking a closer look I realised it wasn’t but you could see some similarities. I didn’t think too much about it and put it to the back of my mind.
As the rest of twenty-nineteen continued the creator of Paralives, Alex Massé followed up the initial screenshot with a series of short videos that showcased some more early development features. These included curved walls, split level building tools, lot editing, the range of different units of measurement for when you are building as well. The flexibility of building a home with the tools that have been shown really gives you the idea of just how many possibilities there are for creating that dream home. There was also videos of object placement and resizing as well as one that showcased how the audio would sound and work with different objects. The resizing of objects so easily and freely I think would come in very handy especially if you weren’t too sure how something would look because of the size of the object or the placement but you could then go and make the object bigger or smaller in just a click or two rather than having to potentially find an alternative object instead.
Every time a new video was released I was curious to see how over time things had developed. What would the game look like in a year or two? These videos sparked many more questions for me but I also liked the insight into the game’s development.
One thing that did grab my attention was the two short videos from the Paralives team showcasing the custom Colour Wheel. There were two separate videos showcasing how the colour wheel worked on clothing/accessories and in more detail on a character’s hair. It reminded me of how much I loved using the colour wheel back in The Sims 3 and how much fun it was coming up with all kinds of weird and wonderful combinations.
Maggie’s Loft was revealed in early April twenty-twenty and I was honestly surprised with how much detail there was within the forty-second clip. I watched the clip a good few times trying to spot all the different things that were included. I loved the way the sunlight beams through the window, the plants that are scattered around the apartment and hanging off of the upper level, the way the curtains move in the wind. There was so much to see in that clip. Of course, there was also the first glimpse of Maggie even though it was just her shadow.
Up until this point, I have been curious to see how the game develops but overall I had been somewhat pleasantly surprised/happy with what has been shown. However, I was also intrigued to see what was next and also what Parafolks would look like.
On the Nineteenth May, Maggie and the Paramaker were revealed to the world.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first sat down and watched the Parafolk reveal video and even now I do feel a little bit mixed as to how I feel. The Paramaker looks relatively straight forward to use and that it would be easy to edit your characters outfits and customise their height with the height slider and their body shape. As for how the Parafolks look overall, I think that they do fit the games art style well and I’d love to see more on how you can customize them more in future development updates before I know how I truly feel about them.
A few things that have come to mind since watching the reveal video and I’m sure these will be answered at some point in the near future but I’d love to know if and how you customize your Parafolks personalities? Can they have aspirations they work towards? Will they have things they fear and things they want? What makes a Parafolk truly unique from the others? This could just be The Sims player in me but I’d like to see if and how it would work within Paralives.
Overall, I think Paralives has the potential to be a great game. Could it be the next big life simulation game? I really don’t know.
It will be sometime before it will be released and I look forward to seeing more development updates over the coming months, as well as finding out what things could be included in the base game. I know they have talked about cars, seasons, pets, open worlds and that’s just at the moment!
I have a lot of questions, much like many of us who have been following the game’s development have as well which, again I’m sure will be answered in time. Since the first screenshot was shared back in July last year we can see just how much work has gone into the game and how it has progressed into what we have seen recently. I’m sure there will be more changes to come too.
There are aspects of Paralives that we have seen so far that could and have been classed as very similar to features that have been included within The Sims games both past and present. There are also features showcased in the Paralives development that many people have said should’ve been included in The Sims 4 from day one. While I do agree with that to a point at the same time, I don’t. Yes, both games are life simulation games, they can and will come across as similar at times but both have their own spin on things and make it “unique” to that particular game. I could go into more depth about why I do and don’t agree with some of the comparisons being made between the two games but that wasn’t the intention of this post and would be better for a separate post one day.
I’m looking forward to seeing what is next from the Paralives team. For now, While I don’t have anything negative to say about the game so far, I’m curious to find out more but still happy with what I have seen so far. I guess only time will tell!
You can find out more about Paralives here!