Last weekend I got a chance to talk to Mike Ouye (CEO) and Pete Hawley (CPO) of Red Robot Labs, to take a look at Life is Crime. A first of it’s kind, Life is Crime is a free to play massive multiplayer online location-based mobile game for the Android platform and soon to be on iOS in the Fall. Life is Crime will have players competing and collaborating to dominate real life locations to ascend leader boards while building a “reputation” in order to further their criminal careers in a virtual game while at real locations.
Once a player arrives at a location, for instance a Starbucks, a bank, or even a well known local restaurant, they will then have the option of committing virtual crimes in a real location. The player will be able to commit mission based crimes at the location and sell and buy contraband or stolen goods, all while trying to conquer the individual leader boards for each location. Each location you dominate will bring in money, more locations = more money. Locations range from coffee shops, restaurants, banks, airports, etc. Although currently not all areas of the United States have locations, Red Robot Labs is working fast to fill in areas where they see people playing, based on GPS data. Also a quick visit to their forums to let them know where you play will speed that process up.
Players may also wish to fight other players who are contesting their turf or just want to get revenge for being injured by them earlier. Fighting other players is a great way to increase your reputation and show just how much of a badass you are. Fighting other players takes many things into consideration, your clothes, your weapon of choice, your level, your reputation, and your overall health.
Obviously higher level players are going to have higher health weapons and armor, but if a higher level player picks on the weak, lower level players, his reputation will fall for being a bully, and nobody likes a bully. Players may wish to added other players to their Mob (friends list), which helps in fights and to create a stronger player base. All the money you make fighting, slinging contraband, stolen goods, and completing missions will earn you money which you can spend to buy new weapons and armor.
However for some of the more over the top intense weapons and armor and sadly the items that are the best for each level, will need to be bought with R2 credits. R2 credits are either purchased with real money for a select number of credits per dollar or they are earned throughout the game by leveling up completing missions, earning achievements, and being a top player.
Red Robot Labs launched the game during PAX Prime 2011, and has some impressive statistics for 3 day launch event.
20k crimes committed
$1M in contraband trafficked through the Convention Center alone
$35M robbed, stolen and laundered
4000 fights to dominate the PAX Convention Center.
Over 800 Criminals Hospitalized during those fights and the fight still goes on.
After playing the game for a week now, I can official say I am addicted. The game has gorgeous art, simple and easy to learn mechanics, and although repetitive, Life is Crime never seems to get old and stale. Almost every time I open my phone for something I have either been killed, hopstilized, succesfully sold contraband or have been gifted items from my Mob to keep my in the fight. Sometimes I just want to drive around town purely to be able to get my name on the leader boards for every location. So if you have an Android device I highly recommend you download Life is Crime and give it a try, you might just like the life of a virtual criminal.