Review: Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives (PSVR)

2016 Golden Minecart Awards:

  • Most Unique Experience (PS VR)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • HTC Vive
  • Oculus Touch

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 None
  • PlayStation Move Required (2)
Title: Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives
Format: PSN (2.29 GB)
Release Date: October 13, 2016
Publisher: Owlchemy Labs
Developer: Owlchemy Labs
Original MSRP: $29.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

The audio review for this game is available on Episode 510 of the podcast at 135:10.

Gameplay:
The year is 2050. Robots have taken over all essential functions in society freeing humans up to just live. No human has needed to work in a long time and they’ve forgotten what it’s like. Because of this, the robots have created a museum and virtual experience where humans can see what it was like to “job”.

This experience requires two Move controllers, there is no support for the DualShock 4. Right off the bat you’ll need to calibrate them and this is where I ran into trouble. No matter what I did, and I did quite a lot, the calibration never seemed to work right.

I moved the camera many times, tried sitting, standing, stretching arms out wide, and holding them closer to my body. I tried the original PS4, the PS4 Pro, even a different pair of Move controllers, and nothing seemed to work all that well. It was immensely frustrating, especially since I played this game at PlayStation Experience in San Francisco in 2015 and it worked quite well.

I know I’m in the minority here becuase if it was that bad for everyone we’d be hearing about it. Chazz was able to get things working and really enjoyed the game so it does work. I don’t really understand what went wrong. With the sitting and holding arms half way out calibration method suggested by Chazz, I was able to get it working for a little while but it would eventually become unusable and I’d have to go back recalibrate and hope for the best.

When the game works, it’s a delightful experience. You have the choice of four different jobs: Office Worker, Chef, Convenience Store Clerk, and Auto Mechanic. With each of them, you’re not getting the experience of those actual jobs, but the experience of what the robots perceive the job was, at least based on pop culture and incomplete data.

… eat that mouldy donut that’s in the trash can …
It turns into some really funny tasks, enough that I found myself laughing a lot while I played. As an Office Worker you’ll be tasked with having your morning coffee and donut, hiring and firing people, cooking the books, shredding the evidence, showing pictures of your kids around the water cooler and so on. One of your bosses even sounds like Bill Lumbergh from Office Space.

Your computer keyboard consists of 1 and 0 because robots. You’re also given the freedom to play a little bit within the confines of your cubicle and I encourage you to do so. Try throwing things over the walls, copying things, or if you’re brave enough, eat that mouldy donut that’s in the trash can.

As a chef you’ll need to prepare a variety of meals and you’ll even end up with a reality cooking show being filmed as you work. This was my second job and where things started to fall apart. You have to reach up a pull the order off of a wheel to get going but my virtual hands would go transparent and then disappear as I reached forward.

I went back out recalibrated and tried again and things mostly worked better until I got close to the end. I just had to kind of fight my way through it because I really wanted to finish the experience. Restarting the game entirely helped out when I jumped into the Convenience Store Clerk experience as that held up pretty well the whole time.

… the virtual hands disappeared then moved too slow or fast …
As a clerk, you’ll make hot dogs, burritos, and slushies for people, get them lottery tickets, and you’ll even be robbed. At one point you need to clean the store by guiding a small cleaning robot on a monitor which can be a bit tricky. Again, another fun experience but I did have issues dealing with magazines and newspapers on the rack to my right. Even when everything’s working great, it can be a little wonky at times.

As an Auto Mechanic, you’ll open your garage door and a car will come in with some issues that need to be looked after. This is where I had the most problems. Pulling on the chain in front of me to open the door was a hit or miss experience most of the way through.

To my right was a large cabinet with all the parts needed for the cars. I just needed to reach over and pull an arrow down to the type of parts needed and it would switch over. I had so many problems with this as the virtual hands disappeared then moved too slow or too fast while I had no control. It became more and more troubling and took what should have been the funniest experience and made it a real pain.

Visuals:
The game has a really nice design aesthetic which works in the oversimplified virtual world that the robots have created. Each job site nails the basics and everything is at your fingertips so movement is kept to a minimum. This leads to some creative choices, especially when a chef needs food that’s both cold and at room temperature, an oven, blender, sink, microwave, toaster, chopping block, and more.

… I know that it works, and when it does it’s hilarious and fun …
Audio:
The music actually adds to the humor and you even have a radio with music and talk channels in the Auto Repair shop. The voice work of the individual robots perfectly nails the stereotypical co-workers and customers for each of the different jobs without sounding over the top or out of place. This is what really helps sell the humor in the game.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

Conclusion:
It’s frustrating and kind of hard to put a number on this. On the one hand, I know that it works, and when it does it’s hilarious and fun. When it doesn’t, which was a good percentage of the time for me, it can be an exercise in madness.

That being said, I was able to brute force my way through the entire game to completion and even got a Platinum Trophy for my troubles. I just wish the journey had been more fun.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 21 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation.

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