Now you’ve got more of a reason to do your chores – Habit RPG transforms your life into your very own roleplaying game. Sounds simple, right? In theory, it is. In practice, however? It’s not for the faint of heart…
Habit RPG ventures into uncharted lands; to go where no shopping list has gone before. Combining two of life’s greatest joys – roleplay gaming and hardcore list-making – it dares you to take part in one simple quest; to shape you up physically, mentally, and perhaps most importantly: responsibly.
List making. It’s not exactly fun, is it? Unluckily for all of us, Habit RPG has tons of the stuff, but does its best to make it as painless of a process as possible. It asks you to list your habits – for example, writing, drawing, or doing push-ups – so that you can come back to it later. And after that, it’s just a simple process of dedication – log on every day, tick off what habits you’ve completed, and your in-game character will earn some of his very own gold and exp to represent the hard work you’ve done in real life.
Now, if you’re an avid gamer such as I, you’ll have a special place in your heart reserved for RPG gaming. Lets think of some of the best examples – Final Fanatsy, WoW, Dragon Quest, Elder Scrolls… whether you’re an adventurer at heart, or taking a break from the battle, there’s no doubt that Habit RPG will seep it’s way into your special place.
Adopting an 8-bit aesthetic, the game essentially disguises your to-do list as an RPG. As incentives to keep playing, you’ll randomly find one of many pet eggs to collect as you complete your tasks, hatched with the aid of an appearance-altering potion. Despite being a collective incentive – eat your heart out, completionists – their presence is nothing more than for aesthetic pleasure. A bit of a downer, I reckon, but it’s somewhat outweighed by having a brand new zombie octopus.
After a while, you’ll reach a level high enough to decide on your character’s specialized class – a warrior, rogue, mage, or healer. This alters your purchasable equipment, making the “gameplay” become more streamlined as a result.
I quote “gameplay” as it lacks any sort that is truly engaging. It consists of ticking off what you’ve done that day, and simply buying more equipment. Understandably, then, the game isn’t for long stretches, and rather focuses on a drop-in-drop-out attendance to cater for a daily timetable. So, if you’re looking for some sort of 3D-adventurethon, you’ve come to the wrong neighborhood – it’s simply a very pretty UI.
The only problem with specializing in a class is how purchasable becomes effectively censored. No longer can my rogue buy shields for his defense. Sure, rogues don’t use shields, but it’s an upsetting prospect nonetheless – effectively, you have to conform to RPG stereotypes, and it makes the experience all that more… stereotypical.
Elsewhere, the site offers some nifty features to get you motivated. If the exp and gold isn’t rewarding enough, then maybe the joy of team-based game-play might spur you on. You can join one of many themed parties – such as the up-all-night owl people, or a group for straight-A students – created by people like you. Joining these parties offers you boss-fights and quests to tackle as one, united team, and over the course of a few days, everyone’s contribution to completing their tasks will help deal accumulated damage to a random boss from the quest line. It’s much like joining an episodic battle, and it’s always exciting to see your character’s name mentioned in the quest narrative.
Reminder: don’t confuse the fighting for actual game-play. It’s all done over digits and stories – as I said, there’s no actual game-play here. It works much like an incremental game – you don’t see it happen, but it’s definitely doing something.
Habit RPG goes well out of it’s way to encourage you to do your responsibilities. It’s pretty much a win-win scenario – if it’s done in real life, it’s good for your in-game character, and is ultimately beneficial for you. But there’s a latent, underlying flaw; it has the potential to ruin the game for everyone you know, including yourself. And what is it, you may ask? Why… it might just be you. Yes, you, the player.
Let me make it clear with a simple question – what is there to stop you from spamming a success in, say, doing the dishes? By button-mashing the done-button, you can quite easily give your character as much exp, gold, and levels as he needs to become the vastly superior hero compared to that of your colleagues. There is nothing stopping you from achieving world domination; the whole site is practically an honor-based system, and you can easily be the best by just breaking the rules.
And there’s more. Rewards for completing tasks can sometimes feel underwhelming. So, you’ve just saved a school-bus full of sixty orphaned children? Here’s 5 gold, 3 exp, and a chocolate bar for your cactus pet. To it’s credit, the game tries to alter rewards based on how quickly you get things done. But where Habits are concerned, the rewards are often quite random, so don’t be surprised if you all you get is a blue piece of cotton candy for slaying some sort of dragon.
Habit RPG is a whole new kind of game – a useful and innovative one. Some might shrug it off, calling it a gimmicky way of doing boring things like chores, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If there’s anything I can do to make chores a little bit more enjoyable, Habit RPG is definitely my go-to game. Sure, it relies on honor, and sure, it’s easily abused, but at the end of the day? You’ll only be hurting yourself if you decide to go rogue.
So lets get to the bottom line. It’s a good idea, but depends on whether you can give yourself a challenge. It won’t force you to complete your responsibilities – it’ll just punish your character and teammates if you don’t. But it takes the underlying appeal of RPG gaming and shapes it into something that might just appeal to you more. It’s not a game, per se, but there’s a reason to play.
So why not take up the challenge? There’s no harm in trying. Meet new people, enjoy the RPG experience, and give yourself a reason to try – get motivated, get going, and get gold. Just beware – it’s not for the faint of heart.
Oh, and…I can’t break this to you lightly, so here goes: there’s no real gold involved. Sorry!