Nobody - The Turnaround

I love stumbling upon games that I hadn’t previously been aware of, especially when they have interesting trailers. Such was the case when I happened upon Nobody – The Turnaround while browsing for deals on Green Man Gaming. I was immediately captivated by the almost-granular indie art style and top-down presentation. I mean, check out this trailer:

C’mon, what’s not to like? You get to play as an everyman dude, miring in the turmoil and doldrum of a menial day-to-day life; struggling to make enough money to try to better your position and live out your dreams. Plus the dude in that thumbnail looks like Aiden Pierce — remember Aiden Pierce?! And shoot, one of the game’s descriptions even pegs it as “the most realistic life simulator,” which is a hell of a claim (definitely not hyperbole, most certainly not…)

But even though Nobody – The Turnaround just came out a few days ago (November 17, 2022), it already has a “mixed” status in the Steam user reviews. I decided to wade into the comments to learn more about this when I was struck by an odd revelation: All but one of the most recent comments were thumbs-up positive. That’s when I stumbled upon a review from user MiAh The King that opened my eyes to a perhaps more sinister reality:

Okay so at first I saw there were mixed reviews for this game.

Then I saw mostly positive then back to mixed reviews. But the only thumbs downs I could find involved the chinese chess minigame inside the game. I mean…;seriously?? What kind of review is that? It’s not one. What I’m doing now THIS….THIS is a review.

MiAh The King

Consider my curiosity piqued. So I decided to broaden my filter to include all languages and not just my regional default of English. And boy howdy, the wave of downward-pointing thumbs that washed over me was nothing short of tsunamic in force. So I fired up the old trusty Google Translate tool to try to understand what the drama was all about. What I discovered only compounded my already nigh-insurmountable confusion.

Nobody - The Turnaround

Take user zhxilo for example. If Google translate is at all accurate, this person’s review doesn’t really help me out:

中国公安帮大忙是吧 The Chinese police are very helpful, right?


Like, what am I supposed to do with this? This in no way informs me of wonky game systems or mechanics. I am only left with the knowledge, as prescient as it may be, that the Chinese police appear to be very helpful, right?

Another review, from a user simply known as Green all but broke my brain:

牛魔酬宾 女朋友比工作难找,好不容易迪厅触发对话解锁了一个女性朋友第三天就发好人卡,现在已经35天没有触发过女朋友了,jb我现实中委屈游戏里也找不到女朋友是吧 偷10次电瓶被抓10次 为啥不能跟妹妹谈恋爱 我的创意工坊呢

It’s harder to find a girlfriend than a job. After a disco triggered a conversation, a female friend issued a good card on the third day. It’s been 35 days since I’ve had a girlfriend. Jb I’m wronged in reality and I can’t find it in the game. To my girlfriend, right? Stealing batteries 10 times and being caught 10 times. Why can’t I fall in love with my sister? My creative workshop


I don’t know what to even make of that. The crazy part about this one is — considering Nobody is “the most realistic life simulator” — that this could actually pertain to gameplay. It could also be the ramblings of a fever dream. It’s hard to say.

Nobody - The Turnaround

Following a similar theme, user 强尼·淫手 seems to also be struggling with girlfriend issues. But again, these could be more personal in nature and not at all related to Nobody:


I bought it for my girlfriend all night, it was very hard


I did at least find one moderately helpful Chinese review from user Elf Lieutenant Ma Guocheng (translated) that at least mentioned other games, and ones that I had heard about, which did at the very least give me a reference point, even if only a brief one:


How about changing the name to Flashback Simulator and Rebirth: I am a rich young man

Elf Lieutenant Ma Guocheng

That’s when I finally found one that I felt like had a legitimate criticism regarding specific game mechanics and possibly even a specific quest line:

偷电瓶车必被抓 然后给你科普法律 我不明白 如果必被抓为什么不直接取消偷电瓶? 就为了正能量? 现在连玩个游戏都要搞一波教育? 你们真吃屎了是吧?恶心不恶心人?

You must be arrested for stealing battery cars, and then I will give you a popular science law. I don’t understand. If you must be arrested, why not just cancel the stealing of batteries? Just for positive energy? Now even playing a game requires a wave of education? You really eat s***, right? Disgusting or not?


So, I was making some progress, but aside from a somewhat helpful review from user Elf Lieutenant Ma Guocheng, and a slightly more specific and detailed review from user wdxwnnm11, it seemed like I wasn’t getting any closer to understanding why the Chinese market seems to be at odds with Nobody: The Turnaround.

Nobody - The Turnaround

That’s when I decided to check out all of the reviews for all of the individual languages one by one instead of grouping them together. And that was a tad bit more eye-opening because it made it clear that it really was the Chinese market that was bringing what would otherwise seem like a mostly positive user review score down to a mixed one.

I did find one negative Spanish (Spain) review, from user tyto01. This seems to be a grievance specifically related to — and I am only slightly sure about this — Nobody‘s perceived lack of a Spanish translation:

el juego va mal el tema que iva a saliren español como siempre se olvidaron

the game is going wrong the topic that was going to come out in Spanish as always they forgot user


The only other thumbs-down I recall coming across from a different language region was from user Heknerr, which comes from France but was seemingly written in English:

Haul brick for 30 days and then sell you sister to the mafia to make 200k, that’s the true chinese way of life. 🙂 Recommend!
Seriously, the story is pretty good and you can just skip it and play free mode if you just skip the 30 days. Ends up doing that because it’s f***ing hard to make 10k… i’m just to lazy, just sell the girl. 😉

The songs are great though. Just can wait for what come next.


And this is where I decided to climb out of the user-review rabbit hole and instead focus my attention on the developer of the game, U.Ground Games Studio, as perhaps some answers lied with them. But this only took me for an even murkier turn, because I was not able to locate any concrete information on U.Ground. I couldn’t even nail down what part of the world this developer calls home. The publisher of Nobody, Thermite Games, is a Chinese company, so maybe U.Ground could also be located in China, but there is no indication that is the case, nor is that anywhere near enough information to come to a reasonable conclusion about the matter.

I even found a post on that had a comment from user Disciplyne on April 20 asking this very same question, with no other user input or company follow-up:

We just received a press release for the game “Nobody – The Turnaround” today and it only listed the publisher Thermite Games based in Bejing. Does anyone have more info on this developer? Is this their first game, Are they also based in Bejing?


So at least I know I’m not the only dog barking up this tree. But I also wasn’t able to get to the bottom of this murky controversy, and I still have no idea why Chinese consumers seem to be at odds with Nobody – The Turnaround when, by and large, the rest of the player base seems to be keen on it.

If it weren’t for this discrepancy, Nobody would more than likely be sitting at a mostly positive — if not very positive — review aggregate. But all of that aside, there is just one last wrinkle to this whole affair, one that gives me the most pause when considering whether or not to gamble on purchasing a copy of Nobody.

Nobody – The Turnaround is currently in Early Access, with a release date on the Steam page of November 17, 2022, which one would expect to mean that it should be available to be purchased. But there is no option to actually buy the game. And even worse, the game has been removed from Steam temporarily due to the game not working on some older versions of Windows.

Nobody - The Turnaround

Nobody – The Turnaround is still listed on Green Man Gaming, which, you might recall, is where I came across this game in the first place. It has a status of both “Released” and “Coming Soon,” which suggests that the game was live on this service before being removed, similar to the situation on Steam. In light of the aforementioned review controversy and mystery surrounding exactly who U.Ground Game Studio is, this only adds fuel to an already blue-flamed conspiracy.

I will, of course, be watching this closely, because how could I not? I am already heavily invested in Nobody – The Turnaround, and I can only imagine that my snooping has already alerted shadowy authorities to my online presence. I’m probably on a watchlist by the Chinese authorities. So I guess at this point I’m all in, for better or for worse.

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1 year ago

My man Julian Watkins, tbh, im very thankfull for your review, i did make a brief investigation about how this game is currently removed from steam temporarily and it’s the same, chinese people just talking nonsense to or not to the game. Now im just waiting from this game to be full release, hope the developer will be fix the game. Sorry if my grammar bad, english is my second languange.

1 year ago

this game is SO MUCH FUN. it’s set in a clearer, cheerier disco elysium-graphics, just-big-enough open world “city.” gameplay is like the sims—without ability to decorate—if you actually went to work as your sim. you choose between jobs and career paths to make more and more money—the goal is $10k in 30 days. to keep your spirits up between work hours you decide what to eat and what games or activities to participate in—work out at the park to improve your strength, dance with auntie (your job broker) to improve your social relations and respect, or play games in the internet cafe. or go to school for certificates to make even more money and gain more respect.

love everything about this game. even the music has some nice variety and doesn’t get too repetitive. it’s like the perfect package for a game, not too big, not too small. i really, really hope they re-release it, maybe with a new neighborhood, or re-working of the job tree benefits. either way it’s one of the most fun, detailed, interesting and immersive small games i’ve played in a long time!

1 year ago

haha! the review from “Green” makes perfect sense if you play the game! finding a girlfriend IS harder than finding a job and moving up in the world, but having a relationship is one of your “goals” (it will improve your daily mood among other qualities). you find girlfriends by talking to girls you meet at work or while out shopping, but aftera few days of attempting to flirt with them they they can issue you a “friendzone” card, which means “move on!”…and your days of buying her flowers and spending put precious time when you could have been working and chasing paper are for nothing. the only girl in the game you have a 100% perfect relationship with always is your sister 😂

also, if you turn to a life of crime, the game will “punish” you by getting you caught, started, and fined almost every single time. in other words, it’s not worth it. there are so many legit jobs, just find the ones you like and get better at them.

1 year ago

Chinese here. For me this game is absolutely amazing, high quality in making (graphic, music, interactive mini games, and more). What moved me the most is the story, it’s so true that it hurts, all the details in the game are 100% accurate. This is not a game but an immersive documentary to an average Chinese’s everyday struggle (the reality is even worse, lol). I can understand why some Chinese players are upset about this game, because they are gaming to become someone they can’t, aka. ‘Rebirth: I am a rich young man’, they don’t want a game to remind them of the dark reality. Anyway, all of these don’t matter now, now that Beijing has banned this game, potentially because it sullies the PERFECT image of this Great country, lol. I hope the dev team didn’t get prosecuted and I hope they survive to make more wonderful games, to tell our story.

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