This guide will provide an overview of No Time to Relax and offer tips and strategies to help you get started with the game.
The objective of the game is to score points based on four stats: Money, Health, Education, and Happiness. Additionally, owning a pet can contribute to your overall score. There are three hidden bonus objectives that offer minor points and a competitive element.
- Money: This stat reflects your monetary wealth, which you can accumulate through working, investing, and earning interest from your bank account.
- Health: Your physical well-being is measured by this stat. You can improve it by visiting the gym, purchasing items from the appliances shop, participating in the hiking culture event, taking care of your pet, and buying cleansing food once you have a refrigerator.
- Education: The education stat can be increased by pursuing degrees at the college. The time required to invest in education depends on the duration of the game.
- Happiness: This stat can be enhanced in various ways, such as buying food at Cluckers, interacting with your pet, shopping at the mall and appliances shop, and purchasing tickets at the cultural center.
- Pets: You have the option to buy a pet for $99 at the mall. Taking care of your pet’s health is crucial to increase its score. Spending time with your pet in your apartment and providing them with toys can boost their happiness score. At the end of the game, pets contribute points based on their health and happiness levels.
- Bonus: Each game features three hidden bonus objectives that provide a small score boost. These objectives can be discovered by reading the newspaper at the market.
- Affordable Housing: The rent for this place is $200, payable every 4 turns. Although it is cheaper than the fancy apartment, there is a risk of items being stolen during crime waves. Additionally, living here seems to attract more unfavorable random events.
- Marketplace: If you own a fridge, you can purchase food from this location. However, it is not advisable to buy food here if you don’t have a fridge. The marketplace also offers lottery tickets with a small chance of winning around $500. The newspaper available here reveals hidden bonus objectives for the game. Completing these objectives will give you a slight boost in your final score.
- Luxury Housing: Rent for this upscale apartment is $400 and is due every 4 turns. It is recommended to move here on a rent turn before paying the $200 for the starter apartment. The $400 payment covers your rent for the week. One advantage of living here is that your belongings are safe from theft during crime wave events.
- Bank: Visit the bank to pay rent, deposit and withdraw money, and even take out loans (although it’s not worthwhile until you have some money). It’s worth noting that any money deposited in the bank earns approximately 5% interest per turn, which can accumulate to a significant amount over a longer game. The bank also offers investments in the broker tab, but be cautious as unexpected changes in the market can result in losses.
- VexCorp: VexCorp provides three different transportation options for faster travel around town, as well as the VexPhone, which enables you to make payments directly from your bank account.
- Job Office: This is where you can find available jobs. The office has separate tabs for each location in town, but not all locations offer equal opportunities.
- Cultural Center: Visit the Cultural Center to purchase event tickets. On the following turn, your random event card will be replaced with a positive cultural event, earning you happiness and/or health.
- University: The University is the only location where you can improve your education level.
- Appliance Store: Here, you can buy various appliances for your apartment. The toaster and TV tabs offer happiness, while the air conditioner tab provides health benefits. Purchasing items from this store is one of the most effective ways to boost your happiness. However, the most crucial item to consider is the refrigerator (refer to strategies for more details).
- Mall: Head to the Mall to purchase clothing when events prompt you to do so. They also sell apartment decor items, which contribute to your happiness. Additionally, you can find pets and pet products here. Taking good care of pets adds to your final score in a separate category.
- Cluckers: This is the local fast food option in town, and it’s your only choice for food if you don’t own a refrigerator. In the beginning, it is essential to visit Cluckers every turn to eat. Failure to do so results in a significant time penalty. Be mindful of consuming excessive fries, as it leads to negative penalties. A recommended strategy is to alternate between buying fries on one turn and a Clucker burger on the next, and so on.
- Gym: The Gym is the primary location for improving your health. Working out at the Gym is an affordable and effective way to reduce stress, especially at the start of the game. For mid to late game health improvement, yoga is highly recommended. It’s best to ignore the “letting it burn” or protein shake options as they don’t seem to provide significant benefits.
Work and Education
Advancing in your career is crucial in this game to earn a substantial income. To secure a job, you need to meet three requirements: job experience, education, and availability.
Job Experience: Each time you click on the “work” tab, you gain job experience equivalent to your hourly wage. For instance, if you start with a $4 per hour job, you earn 4 experience points each time you work. Higher-paying jobs require more experience.
Key thresholds to consider:
- 100 – $6/hour jobs
- 200 – $7/hour jobs
- 400 – $9/hour jobs
- 800 – $14/hour job at the market (a lucrative option)
Education: Initially, you can work in $4 and $6 per hour jobs without any education. Therefore, it is not worthwhile to spend time pursuing education in the first four turns of the game, except perhaps for a 10-week game. The first two degrees require only 6 investments of your time each. Consequently, you can obtain a degree within a single week once you already have enough job experience to qualify for higher-paying positions.
Availability: The availability of jobs seems to be somewhat random. If your desired location is not offering any positions, chances are another location with the same pay rate might have an opening (although this is not always the case).
Clothing: It’s important to note that each job has specific clothing requirements, and you won’t be able to work without the appropriate attire. Failing to notice this requirement when changing jobs can result in wasted time.
- I recommend starting with your first job at Cluckers, as it is conveniently located near cheap housing, the gym (for early stress reduction), and allows you to eat where you work.
- For your second job, consider a $6/hour position at the market or mall, which offers a short travel time and proximity to Cluckers and the gym.
- As your third job, aim for a $7/hour position at the market.
- For your fourth job, target a $9/hour role at the market.
- Reaching the fifth job, a $14/hour position at the market, might be challenging within a 10-week game, but it’s a highly rewarding option if you manage to attain it.
Food and Eating
Everyone enjoys a good meal, and the avatars in NttR are no exception. Skipping a meal in the game results in a hefty -80 time penalty, which can have a significant impact.
Early Game (Week 1-10):
- During this phase, Cluckers is your go-to place for meals. The best strategy here is to alternate between ordering fries and Cluck burgers. Be cautious not to consume excessive fries, as it can trigger unpleasant event cards. The other options at Cluckers are overpriced and only provide minimal happiness boosts, which can be obtained from better sources later in the game.
Mid Game (Week 11-18):
- By this point, you should have purchased or be close to buying a refrigerator. Acquiring a refrigerator should be your top priority and the first major purchase you make. It will save you a considerable amount of time and money, making it the best investment in the game. Once you have a refrigerator, it’s advisable to buy food in bulk (the 4-week option) from the market. There’s no need to return to Cluckers after this.
Late Game (Week 19+):
- In the later stages of the game, you can diversify your food purchases by adding some Cleansing Foods. These provide a health boost and can be bought as a one-week supply for $120. However, personally, I find it more cost-effective to rely on yoga for improving health, and I rarely opt for purchasing Cleansing Foods.
At the beginning of each turn in the game, you will encounter an event. These events are usually random, but you can influence them by purchasing a ticket at the culture center on the previous turn. Culture events are always positive in nature.
Notable events include:
- Rent: This event occurs every 4 turns. The rent for cheap housing is $200, while for fancy housing it is $400. Failing to pay your rent will result in interest charges on the outstanding balance. Additionally, a percentage of the balance will be deducted from your wages each time you work, increasing your stress level.
- Need New Clothes: When this event occurs, your clothing will be destroyed, and your character will appear in their under-clothes on the following turn. You will be unable to work or attend school until you purchase new clothes at the mall. If you don’t have enough money for clothes, your only option is to relax in your apartment. On the subsequent turn, you will receive enough money to buy the necessary clothing.
- Crime Waves: Crime waves typically last for 2-3 turns. After the announcement of a crime wave, there is a chance that you might be mugged if you have cash on your person. Additionally, if you live in cheap housing, there is a possibility that one random item in your apartment will be stolen. You can avoid both of these situations by keeping your money in the bank and moving to fancy housing.
- Investments: Two turns after purchasing an investment, it will be sold, and you will be notified whether you made a profit or suffered a loss. Investments can be a lucrative way to earn money if you are willing to take the risk. However, keep in mind that the market can sometimes behave unpredictably.
- Lottery: If you win the lottery, you will be notified on the following turn after purchasing the ticket. The prize generally amounts to around $500. The chances of winning are relatively small, although it does happen occasionally.
- Culture Events: These events always have a positive effect, granting you either happiness or health. Most importantly, they replace the random event that would typically occur during that turn.
Tips and Strategies
The following strategies are effective for any game mode except the short one (10 weeks):
- On the first turn, purchase a bus pass from VexCorp to improve your travel speed until you can afford a car (skipping the scooter to prioritize saving for a refrigerator). Get a job at Clucker’s, eat some fries, and spend the rest of the time working. Focus on accumulating enough money ($200) and job experience (100) by the fourth turn to pay your rent and secure a $6/hour job. When paying rent, don’t forget to check the broker for potential investment opportunities. Avoid going to college during this period.
- Keep an eye on your job experience. Once you reach 200, it’s time to complete your first degree and upgrade to a $7/hour job. During this phase, aim to start saving for a refrigerator, which is the most beneficial investment in the game. Manage stress by visiting the gym.
- By now, you should have acquired a refrigerator, which significantly improves your quality of life. If not, prioritize obtaining one. You’ll likely complete your second degree and secure a $9/hour job during this period. If you haven’t already, start storing money in the bank to earn approximately 5% interest each turn. Once you have a refrigerator, consider getting a pet to accumulate points (synchronize the pet’s food with your fridge). Manage stress by engaging with your pet or visiting the gym.
- You should be able to afford a car at this point, making transportation more convenient. After purchasing the car, invest in a VexPhone and deposit all your money into the bank to earn interest. You should also be close to finishing a business masters degree, which unlocks the lucrative $14/hour job at the market. Aim to have between 1,000 and 2,000 in the bank to generate decent interest. The rent event in week 16 is a suitable time to consider moving into fancy housing.
- Depending on the duration of your game, you may choose to pursue the next job, which pays $15/hour at the bank (requires business clothing). By this point, you should have a considerable amount of money in the bank, earning interest and providing investment opportunities.
For long games (week 20-30):
- Spend your money on yoga, purchases from the appliance store or mall, and maximizing your education bar. Maintain enough work to keep your money bar high and continue earning interest.
For marathon games (week 20+):
- Aim for the CEO job at VexCorp, but note that it requires a significant amount of work experience and education. Since you’ll be maxing out the entire university tree, focus on raising your bars quickly through yoga and additional purchases. Alternatively, consider pursuing an engineering education route first and obtaining jobs at the appliance store or VexCorp.
The following tips are specific to short games (10 weeks):
- Follow the tips provided for other game modes with the following adjustments: Consider purchasing a pet around the third turn, as long as you’ll have enough job experience to switch to a new job on the fourth turn.
- There’s no need to save for a refrigerator in short games, so feel free to spend more on yoga and purchases that boost happiness during this period. You only need to complete the second degree to maximize your education bar in short games, so work towards achieving that.
- In short games, it’s generally not worth attempting to save money or purchase the VexPhone. It is entirely possible to secure the $9/hour job around this time, so it’s not advisable to aim for anything higher.