Set in the year 2050 all mundane blue and white collar jobs are now completed by robots. These automated beings are more than happy to cook, perform maintenance on cars, ring up customers at a convenience store, and sit in a soul-sucking cubicle for eight hours a day.
Visiting a job museum, you are instructed by a floating CRT monitor to select a cartridge and begin to experience the wonders of working in the 20th and early 21st century. Now, what sets Job Simulator apart from other virtual reality games isn’t the game’s concept of completing tedious real life jobs, but the way that developer Owlchemy Labs lets you finish them. The quirky humor in Job Simulator is also one of the game’s best aspects, along with the interactions within the environment. Without a doubt, it is one of my favorite VR experiences, and everyone that has tried it has come away with a single word to describe it; fun.
There are four different jobs for you to experience; an office worker, store clerk, chef and auto mechanic. Each one offering different gameplay options, breaking up each of the jobs into separate tasks. You can breeze through each of the jobs in under an hour, but I found myself spending additional time simply messing around in the world. As an office worker, I had to log into a very ancient looking computer with a keyboard that only had a 0 and 1 key. I followed that up by deleting all of my emails, drinking up a cup of coffee and eating a moldy donut from the garage, which prompted me to projectile vomit all of my work space. You’re represented in-game by two floating white hands that mimic your movements using two PlayStation Move controllers.
As I mentioned, one of the best aspects of Job Simulator is the open-ended approach to all of the tasks and the interaction with all of the objects in the world. Using a single button to grab and release items, you are free to interact with anything in any way you want. Throw that paper plane across the floor, make a copy of a donut and eat your nearly created donut, or make a smoothie out of unusual ingredients. The freedom in each of the jobs is currently unmatched and enlightens the experience. Sure, using the PlayStation Move controllers won’t give you the same room-scale accuracy that you would get with the HTC Vive, but it is pretty damn close. The tracking can sometimes go awry, but it's the fault of the hardware and not related to the game itself. I’m still hoping that Sony will be releasing a firmware update to fix the shaky movements and tracking of the Move controllers at times.
While not needing the same amount of space that the game required on the HTC Vive version of the game, but you will need some space to reach around the environment. Trust me; I’ve banged into a couple of walls and shelves while reaching for things. Moving the setup out of the office and into the living room gave me the required amount of space. After booting the game, you’ll be asked to calibrate your environment, setting how far you can spread your arms out, and establishing the depth of the floor. There are a few titles that do this, and I’m dumbfounded why this isn’t a single OS-level setting instead of being set within each game. You’ll also have to stand at a set distance or else you won’t be able to start the game.
Job Simulator certainly is meant to be a humorous adventure, but nothing is stopping you from completing the tasks without messing around first. While I had fun shooting staples at work colleagues, and throwing burnt jumbo-sized hot dogs at customers, I found Joan wanted to complete the tasks perfectly, making the best dishes and doing things by the book. Both play methods are possible, and it is up to the player on how they want to experience the game.
Job Simulator is not a long experience, but I found it to be incredible fun messing around in the four different environments. I would recommend the game as one of the best games to showcase the PSVR hardware to friends and family. It’s highly accessible for all times of players, and I have yet to hear anyone not enjoy themselves in the world that Owlchemy Labs has created.
Note: The review for Job Simulator is based on a digital PlayStation 4 copy of the game, provided by the publisher.