Job Simulator PlayStation VR Review
Publisher: Owlchemy Labs Developer: Owlchemy Labs Genre: Simulator Players: 1
Age Rating: 12+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A
Simulator games have become notorious in recent years, with the likes of Goat Simulator, Baking Simulator and Surgeon Simulator, amongst others, morphing the genre into quite a kitsch category. Along with them is the much more in-depth Job Simulator, which makes use of the PlayStation VR.
Taking place in a world run by robots resembling floating CRT monitors, you start in a job museum where you are given 4 jobs to choose from, which includes Office Worker, Store Clerk, Gourmet Chef and Auto Mechanic, of which my favourites are Office Worker and Store Clerk. Choosing one, you are then teleported to your chosen job that mostly consists of you standing stationary whilst using either the PlayStation 4 controller or 2 Move controllers, that represent your hands on-screen, to mess about with your environment. In this game it is recommended that you use the motion controllers as it makes the experience that much more immersive, even though you will find that you will only be using one hand most of the time.
As each game progresses, you are given simple tasks to complete, or you can choose to do whatever you like at your own pace and be a bit experimental. The tasks are shown on a big floating monitor accompanied by your CRT boss and these include such things as having you drink and chat with your colleagues at the water cooler, eating a doughnut, shredding evidence, hiring and firing employees, using a computer, making yourself some coffee, preparing meals, fixing cars and serving customers.
My favourite of all the games is definitely the Office Worker – you are in a little cubicle and it is in this game where there are lots of little touches that really enhance the experience. There’s a Magic 8 Ball you can pick up and shake, which will tell you if you are hired or fired, there’s a version of Flappy Bird that you can play on the computer, you can eat rotten doughnuts and throw up everywhere, you can print off letters and notes, play around with your photocopier, pick up the clock that has an amusing message on the back. You can throw things at the CRT monitors in other cubicles and they will look at you and say something amusing. In such a small environment there is a lot for you to mess with that the other games don’t seem to capture, with them mostly feeling linear in comparison. The Auto Mechanic is my least favourite game as it has you only standing there and fixing one car after another, and this game unfortunately feels the longest and the one that became a bit of a chore to play, becoming repetitive very quickly.
The Store Clerk is my second favourite to play as here there is also a lot for you to play with, such as the fireworks that are on sale, and a little robot you can control to move around the shop and clean up any spills. You can make customers Slushies and enlarge them on a Jumbo machine – you can enlarge anything on the Jumbo machine – you can make hotdogs, scratch off lottery tickets, create a small display. Mostly you’ll be serving customers, picking up and scanning the items that they want and then packing them away into a bag. You’ll be serving underage customers who want fireworks and will be held up by a bandit CRT monitor who has an obsession with cheese. Another nice little touch I found here is that, if a monitor is wearing eyeglasses, you can take them and put them on yourself. It obstructs the view, but it is still a nice touch for you to discover. Job Simulator encourages you to be experimental and whilst there isn’t a lot for you to discover, there are some nice little touches here and there that will make your exploring feel worth it.
Lastly you’ll become a Gourmet Chef, serving customers again, but also getting the chance to star in TV when film crews come in and want to record you for a show, including one with a Gordon Ramsey-like robot who throws insults at you as you cook. You can experiment here with food, making whatever you would like using a combination of a microwave, grill, toaster and a blender. In all the games you are free to drink whatever fluid is knocking about, and you can eat whatever food is available to you. You can also pick up anything that isn’t glued down and can throw them, examine them, shake them, toss them at your boss – anything.
Each game has its own little quirks, but three out of four of the games do feel very linear. Some of the games could have done with a bit more humour and it would have been nice to see more consequences for your actions, such as customers complaining about your food or getting in trouble with your boss for slacking on your tasks; in Store Clerk there is a CCTV camera that could have been made better use of – you are told to keep an eye on it, though there are no consequences for not doing so. Job Simulator is certainly an enjoyable game – I played the entire game in one sitting I found it that immersive, thanks to the VR – though I feel it doesn’t quite make full use of the controls and VR, and I feel the game could have been extended with more tasks. Mostly it is a game that has been created to show off some of what the VR can do and what it can do is very impressive – I felt like I was in an entirely different world and it is very easy to forget that you are still in the real world. Thanks to the VR’s 3D effects I did feel as though I was stood in a cubicle and behind a shop counter, and I felt I could reach out and touch the small cars that came into the garage or slap the cheeky customers around the face. I even attempted to walk over to places that shouldn’t have been reachable and managed to at least get through to the next cubicle in Office Worker.
Tracking-wise, there were few problems with the camera tracking my hands, at least while I was facing the camera. Sometimes I was caught up in the moment, exploring, and would turn away from the camera, only for the on-screen hands to turn transparent, meaning they were out of the play area and couldn’t be used. The sunlight also caused a bit of tracking problems (closing the curtains solved it), though for the most part I could easily manoeuvre about and pick up objects without any problems, and what tracking issues I did experience wasn’t enough to break my immersion.
Graphically Job Simulator has a cartoonish style, with simple, vibrant colours and layout and small, contained environments. The graphics suit the tone of the game well and other characters that you come across all have their own unique style that compliments their personality. The voice acting is decent and adds to the characterisation, with a quirky voice-over explaining to you certain aspects of what humans actually do in that same environment.
There are trophies that can be collected, though I didn’t find any other collectables in the game, though once you have completed all the jobs, you can then choose a job and what task to start at, though this seems unnecessary considering the length of each game is fairly short and anyone playing through again would surely prefer to start from the beginning rather than midway through.
Whilst there are other games that can really show off what the VR is capable off, Job Simulator shows off very well how a game controls. The environments are 3D and I did find myself wishing I could take a stroll around the shop or look around the office, though even standing still with lots to interact with around me was just as amusing, and as someone who experiences motion sickness with games that require forward movement, Job Simulator allowed me to enjoy a 3D environment and interaction whilst standing still. It could have done with more amusing moments and consequences for your actions, though Job Simulator is still enjoyable nonetheless.
This is a game I would recommend for those who aren’t looking for an over-the-top experience and who would prefer a game with a simple gameplay style in which you are merely looking around and interacting with the environment as opposed to a game with high-octane action and camera movement. Job Simulator is also definitely a game for those who are new to the VR and would prefer being eased into this new technology as opposed to diving right in.