Monday, June 19, 2017

Job Simulator

Originally released for the HTC Vive, Job Simulator is an early VR title with the rather interesting premise of an interactive simulator recreating menial jobs based on how a robot understands them in the future. After hearing about this title and seeing gameplay footage, I became curious as to how I would feel while playing it, and picked up a physical copy that had been released for the PlayStation VR. The game itself turned out to be quite entertaining, as well as proving to be what I think is a good introduction to VR.

The plot is fairly simple: You are a human in 2050 after robots have taken over jobs, and the robot Jobbot walks you through simulations exploring what (they think) having a human job was like. There are 4 jobs to pick from (Office Worker, Gourmet Chef, Store Clerk, Auto Mechanic), though the entertainment value comes from how the robots seem to not completely understand how various human activities work, such as burning CDs and baking a cake. Various bits of dialogue from Jobbot and posters featured in the 2050 archives help to flesh out what exactly happened prior to the events of the game, however you are only given enough information to leave the rest to your imagination. The visuals are fairly simple, however they work for the setting and are rendered well enough to immerse the player in its world.

Now you, too, can experience the life of an office worker in the comfort of VR.

The controls are very simple, in that you use the Move controllers to perform various tasks as given on a board. The game levels are designed well, making it so that everything you need to do is within arm’s length while still featuring a lot of things to discover within your surroundings. While you are told what to do in order to advance a stage, the game will at points give you some freedom to accomplish these tasks as you please, including a chance at the end of each stage to do as you please until you decide to leave the chosen job. There is also some replay value in the ability to add mods to the jobs once you’ve completed all of them (among them having lower gravity), though whether they really add to the experience is up to the player. As a side note, each level also features references to pop culture, though not such that they are in your face, and the type of reference made seems to differ between levels.

Job Simulator is a great example of an early VR title, though it’s original $30 price tag is not exactly worth it, since the entire game can be beaten within a couple of hours (I got it at a discount of $20, which seemed more worth it to me). Still, it has a great sense of humor and is a good way to get one acquainted with the realm of VR. The experience may not last long, though it’s still well worth giving it a shot.

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