Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives, developed and published Owlchemy Labs, is a quirky cartoon styled virtual reality game for PlayStation VR taking place in a handful of different locations with dozens of unique items to interact with in each. When society and technology turned to robot exclusive employees, take a look at the archives to better understand what it was like to work in an era prior. You can buy the game on Steam or PlayStation Store for $29.99.
The main menu for the game, as well as the introduction, is set up in a futuristic company lobby where you sit in front of your work computer with access to a small collection of tapes that, upon inserting to your computer, will simulate the mundane jobs of the past. There are 4 different locations (office cubicle, auto mechanic garage, grocery store, and cafe). Select one to experience what life was life for humans in the past, and cause the chaos or productivity of your desires. Where should you begin after picking your tape? Truthfully, where you begin playing once in a simulation of a simulation is up to you. The possibilities are extensive and that's exactly how it was meant to be. You have a large floating monitor nearby that will display an active task as well as a robot that narrates everything you need to know or do.
Each job has a list of tasks, but you'll only get them one at a time. They aren't super complicated, for example, when working in the cubicle you'll need to plug in the desk's computer, log in to email, decide who to hire from a small stack of resumes, etc. each location has it's own unique tasks, but nothing is timed or even required. You can mess around with everything around you and find new combinations for interactions; maybe you try blending up a nasty combination in the cafe blender and drink it, you see how many donuts you can make on the 3D printer, or maybe what happens when you throw objects at different robots.
The gameplay is fun and really interesting the way it uses real jobs that would otherwise be pretty boring, and makes a big joke about them while still having you perform legitimate tasks. The quirkiness of the environments and all the things you can interact with can make for a fun gaming time but it does get a little old after awhile. It's more of a pick up and play in-between other games than it is to play for a few any lengthy amount of time. The greatest moments of enjoyment come as you test how far developers thought regarding how different things combine to make for even more interesting situations or items.
Having played the demos for many of the other releases available at PSVR launch, I was hesitant on where I should place my expectations for this game. Some demos have shown me that it's incredibly difficult to develop a smooth experience, while others have shown me there's just not much to enjoy (extremely short or very gameplay lacking). After loading up Job Simulator, I found that it is actually a great VR experience, and arguable that its one of the better ones from the launch titles. Perhaps it's the simpler cartoon styled graphics that allow it to be better interacted with or that it was just extremely well developed, but either way, it provides something refined and polished.
I would be slightly fibbing if I said I haven't felt a little nauseated from a few other VR games, but thankfully this Job Simulator avoided that whole dilemma. Of course, you're not flying around in a space ship or luging down hill, but general motion sickness wasn't present here like some others. Some difficulties I found were with the camera losing track of my controllers or simply stuttering reactions to my precise movements, but a furious wave of my hands usually allowed for everything to sync back up.
Sound and Graphics
I cannot express enough how simple and silly this game is on all levels, but how awkwardly realistic it feels at the same time. The atmosphere of each environment is set with it's ambient sounds (phones ringing all throughout other cubicles and quick clicking of keyboards, the door to the convenient store ringing as a new customer walks in, etc). The actual gameplay itself is matched with incredibly accurate sound effects from everything you interact with. When you grab/throw something, power on a machine, or pour liquid, the game provides all the appropriate sound effects you expect. It's extensive and accurate, making everything feel incredibly immersive.
The graphics, as you can tell by any of the images provided, are bright, colorful, and sharp. It's cartoon style of design makes it easy on the eyes and even easier to distinguish each object to interact with. The lighting effects are also well designed; casting shadows always match up as they should throughout the environment. The games cartoon-like graphics are what makes the VR world feel so fun to be in, and its a shame we are not able to experience even more of these wacky yet mundane locations.
Putting on the Playstation VR headset and stepping into the world of Job Simulator was met with a great amount of joy and light-hearted fun. The game provides a great twist to the way some arguably boring jobs play out in the real world. The way it has you perform the lamest tasks, yet showing you each time something new to goof around with in the environment is a perfect balance and inspires creativity every time. It's major set back is the replay value of it, or the lack of interest it may hold at any lengthy amount of time playing. It doesn't feel so much like a go-to or primary VR title, but a more than amazing one if you consider it being something to throw on for 10 or 15 minutes in-between some other titles. Goofy and creative is the only way to really sum up the game.
|+ Unique graphics and interesting gameplay||– Annoying robot guide|
|+ Simple gameplay with some diversity||– Lacks true replay value|
|+ Funny moments when goofing around||– May get boring after playing for lengthy times|