As both a Canadian and a recovering dirtbag, there’s a special place in my heart for Trailer Park Boys. Whether you grew up around folks of their caliber or simply have a cousin or two that make you shake your head, every one of my fellow countrymen has a Ricky, Julian, or Bubbles of their own. Maybe that’s why we’ve come to treasure this trio of misfits in the same way we do the hockey, apologies, and the taste of clam + tomato + vodka. (True story.)
Heck — there was even a time when not a weekend would go by where Randy and Mr. Lahey weren’t making an appearance at a local bar. It was the golden age of slighty off-book Canadiana, and I loved every minute of it.
But as someone who remembers the heyday of Trailer Park Boys fondly, I couldn’t help but approach their new mobile game with trepidation. A franchise like this doesn’t necessarily make sense as a video game, and there are few things in life worse than a property you love being stapled to a mediocre gaming experience. Lucky for me then, Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money is nothing of the sort. It captures the spirit, the humor, and the content of its source material more faithfully than any licensed game that I can honestly remember. In terms of sheer fan service, there’s never been anything quite like it.
Players are guided through the tutorial by Conky. The premium currency is hash coins, with a secondary premium currency of liquor. When you’re running low on the funds you need, Julian is all too happy to make a trade. Every single inch of Greasy Money plays like a love letter to Trailer Park Boys, right down to how it’s chapters are divided into seasons; each using a title that mimics the show’s episode names. For fans of the show, it’s pretty much perfect.
And as an idle clicker, the game has it where it counts too. It would have been fairly easy to mimic one of the genre’s more popular formulas (which seems to be done ad naseum on mobile), but instead, East Side Games have made a few clever tweaks that make Greasy Money something distinctly their own.
For one thing, there’s very little “clicking,” making this more of an idle earner than clicker. And while most tycoon games of this sort tease you with the option to prestige whenever you want, the prestige system here is baked directly into the core loop. Players will have the opportunity to build up businesses in Sunnyvale, complete a series of objectives, and — once those are done — they’ll participate in a “boss fight” that always ends with the boys back in jail, the season over, and the park waiting for their return at the start of the next season.
Creating a prestige system that’s controlled by the flow of the game rather than a player’s impulse is a brave move on East Side Games’ part, but it’s one that pays off. Buildings will retain their upgrades between seasons and unlocked characters and premium currencies will stay with you, but you’ll need to start back at square one when it comes to earning your greasy money. Which… it’s kind of perfect. This is exactly what the TV series distills down to. Ricky and/or Julian comes out of jail, the boys start up a greasy business, everything looks promising, and then… bam! Jail! When the next season starts, Lahey and Randy have restored some semblance of order to Sunnyvale and they have to start all over again.
As a fan of both Trailer Park Boys and idle clickers, Greasy Money is a game that stares deep into my soul and comes back with chicken fingers and a big [email protected]#$ of pepperoni. But if you’re not a fan of the show, it’s hard to say how much appeal Greasy Money may hold. It’s not that the underlying game isn’t top notch, but so much of what makes it work is tied to recreating the show’s spirit that it’s hard to imagine a world where someone who doesn’t love the brand could dive right in.
Having said that, I’d love to be proven wrong. The humor is so spot on that — should this be someone’s first experience with Trailer Park Boys — it may just as easily turn them onto the show as it could scare them off. Here’s to hoping for the former.
Like most games of this nature, you won’t always have something to do as you’re earning your way to your objectives — and that’s really the only bad thing to be said about it. If wishing I could spend more time in my virtual Sunnyvale is my sole complaint, East Side Games are definitely doing something right.
If you’ve ever been a fan of the show (friendly reminder: it’s still alive and well and now a Netflix exclusive), Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money should be considered an instant download. If you’ve never seen it and you’re curious how the words “crude” and “Canadian” could be used to describe the same thing, well… maybe you should start with the game and work your way backwards to the show.