Various Daylife – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Square Enix, Acquire, DokiDoki GrooveWorks
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Switch, PS4, PC, iOS
Tested on: Switch

Various Daylife – Review

Site Score
Good: Absolutely gorgeous audiovisual presentation
Bad: Shallow and repetitive gameplay
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Before we delve into Various Daylife, let’s get the title out of the way first. Square Enix certainly isn’t a stranger to naming their games like someone pulled two random words out of a hat, but Various Daylife really takes the cake when it comes to a game having a terrible title. Surprisingly, the title actually covers the game’s load pretty well, although that isn’t really clear until you actually start playing it. Of course, you can also read on and find out what it’s all about.


Square Enix’s RPGs are well known for the emphasis they put on delivering dramatic stories with a varied and likable cast, so we were perhaps a bit surprised that Various Daylife lacked a noteworthy narrative. Players create a protagonist of their own and join a group of colonists in the land of Antoecia. From there, they become head of a guild and take on various jobs to grow and expand their city. There is a light storyline where the protagonist and the friends he makes along the way discover the secrets of Antoecia, but it feels more like an afterthought. There’s a reason for this too, but we’ll get to that when we discuss Various Daylife’s gameplay.


Visual presentation is perhaps where Various Daylife shines brightest, with fantastic character designs and gorgeous environments. The character designs fall somewhere between the highly stylized ones from Bravely Default and the more realistically proportioned ones we’ve seen in other games from Square Enix like Trials of Mana. Character animations are rather limited but that has more to do with the scope of the game than with the designs. We particularly liked the illustrations that accompanied jobs, as seen below. The only thing that irked us was character mouth movements during dialogue scenes: rather than animating a character’s face, mouths are shown through a rapid series of static images. It’s hard to fully explain without seeing it for yourself, but once you notice it, it becomes incredibly distracting.


It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Various Daylife’s soundscape knocks it out of the park too… well, almost at least. Composer Go Shiina’s music is absolutely fantastic and instantly memorable, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise given his track record, which includes the Tales and God Eater series. We also quite liked the game’s sound effects and the Japanese voice acting, but where Various Daylife drops the ball is that it isn’t fully voiced. Instead, short snippets convey emotions but the on-screen dialogue is much longer than what is actually audible.


With Square Enix describing Various Daylife as a “daily life & adventure RPG”, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that the game is a classic JRPG in the same vein as Bravely Default or Octopath Traveller. This is especially true since Square promotes the involvement of people that worked on these games in Various Daylife’s trailer. If you actually spend time with Various Daylife, however, you’ll quickly discover that this isn’t the case and that has everything to do with the game’s origins. What you’re getting here is a full-priced (and admittedly, complete) version of a title that originally launched as a subscription-based Apple Arcade title. This is something that seeps through in every aspect of Various Daylife’s design and it’s clear that the game was intended to be played in short 10-15 minute bursts on a mobile device instead of lengthy gaming sessions from the comfort of your couch. This also explains why so little thought was put into Various Daylife’s narrative, as the game simply isn’t able to keep the player’s attention long enough to serve up an intricate plot.

Rather than lengthy dungeon crawls or even fleshed-out town building mechanics, your time in Antoecia is mostly spent completing simple tasks by making choices from a menu. There are a plethora of “jobs” available, and the gameplay loop is built around completing tasks, collecting rewards, and using those to improve the stats, equipment, and relationships of your guild members. This allows you to take on tasks with higher requirements. Note that we deliberately don’t call higher-level tasks more challenging -they’re not, because Various Daylife’s jobs pose no challenge at all and don’t require any kind of skill either. You simply make a choice and the game instantly tells you whether you performed the task or failed at it. All you need to do is monitor the mood and stamina of your character, as that gives you a rough indicator of how good your chances are at success. There is a profession system as well, which determines which character can take on which job, but we’ve seen similar systems implemented elsewhere to a much higher degree of success. There is no gameplay to a character’s profession other than being able to select specific tasks. This feels like a missed opportunity, but this can be chalked up to the game wanting to be as simplistic as possible in order to please the casual mobile crowd, we suppose.

Granted, the game does a good job of hiding its simplicity through its presentation. We’ve sung the praises of the visuals earlier in this review, but by fully realizing the protagonist’s hometown as a 3D environment that you can walk around in, the game feels fleshed out more than it actually is in terms of gameplay. It’s a bit baffling that so much effort was put into fleshing out the town but that actual mechanics that could benefit from more depth, such as building up relationships between party members, suffer from the same shallowness that plagues the game’s job mechanics. Building up relationships is a key aspect of improving non-protagonist guild members, which you’ll need to do if you want to get the most out of them. The heavy focus on resource management, “daily buffs” and other temporary bonuses, combined with the amount of time and resources that go into leveling up characters, feels like the game revolves around FOMO and this even feels predatory in a way. The Apple Arcade version of Various Daylife requires a €4.99/$4.99 monthly subscription, and the game probably feels this drawn out so that players keep their subscription running, but again, this is something that should have been changed up for a full console release. We’re not sure whether or not microtransactions come into play in the mobile version, but it wouldn’t surprise us, as having extra resources definitely speeds up the growth of the non-protagonist characters.

You’ll be spending the majority of your time with Various Daylife dealing with managing your guild, but the part of Various Daylife that is perhaps the most fun, relatively speaking, are the game’s Adventures, if only because they offer a little more interactivity than the rest of the game. Here, you’ll take control of a party of up to four guild members as you set out into the wilderness and deal with monsters in turn-based battles. It’s one aspect where the game actually can be challenging: you’ll need to carefully monitor your party’s stamina and make sure they rest as they become weary over time. The battles themselves allow for a minor amount of strategy as you are able to chain attacks together, something that becomes a necessity as you take on higher-level Adventures.

Unfortunately, Various Daylife never expands beyond the bare minimum of gameplay. This makes sense for a mobile game where you just quickly do your daily tasks and go on with your day, but it simply doesn’t work for a console release. To make matters worse, seeing Various Daylife through to the end requires a considerable amount of effort on the player’s part. We haven’t quite finished the game because it is such a dull and boring experience, but from what we gather, you’re looking at upwards of thirty hours before the credits roll. That isn’t exceptionally long for a Square Enix RPG, but we definitely prefer playing a 15-hour Voice of Cards title rather than sit through twice that amount of Various Daylife.


The gorgeous audiovisual presentation doesn’t do enough to hide that Various Daylife is a shallow and repetitive mess in terms of gameplay. It seems that Square Enix is somewhat aware that this isn’t their most attractive offering this year anyway, as the game’s release was barely promoted -it launched alongside the third Voice of Cards game, which received a lot more fanfare- and it’s easy to see why. Don’t be deceived by the admittedly gorgeous visuals and the connections to the far superior Bravely Default and Octopath Traveller games: Various Daylife probably isn’t worth your time, and it definitely isn’t worth the exuberant €29.99/$29.99 asking price.

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Rating: 4.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Various Daylife - Review, 4.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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