Review: Job Simulator (PlayStation 4)

Job Simulator: Official GBAtemp Review

PlayStation 4 2,801 views 5 likes 7 comments
Reviewed by Shaun James, posted Oct 17, 2016, last updated Oct 17, 2016
Review code provided by Owlchemy Labs.
Oct 17, 2016
  • Release Date (NA): October 13, 2016
  • Release Date (EU): October 13, 2016
  • Publisher: Owlchemy Labs
  • Developer: Owlchemy Labs
  • Genres: Simulation, Sandbox
  • ESRB Rating: Everyone 10 and up
  • PEGI Rating: Three years and older
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Job Simulator is one of the best launch titles for PlayStation VR and a showcase of the potential virtual reality offers.
Shaun James

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Working nine to five

Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives, developed and published by Owlchemy Labs, is a simulation/sandbox game in which you use the PlayStation Move controllers to interact with the virtual world.

The game takes place in a jobless future overrun by robots - robots with CRT monitors for heads and deadpan, almost expressionless faces. However, this is no SkyNet - as this is also a future in which certain details of human history have been lost or bizarrely misconstrued and this is where Job Simulator’s strengths are played out.

You arrive at the foyer of a ‘Job Museum’ and are greeted by the museum curator who offers you the opportunity to take part in 1 of 4 different job simulations - Office Worker, Gourmet Chef, Auto Mechanic or Store Clerk. 

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Using just the trigger button in conjunction with the motion and positional tracking of two Move controllers, Job Simulator is an incredibly immersive and responsive virtual sandbox in which you interact with nearby objects by reaching out at them and pressing the trigger button to pick up and hold items. All the objects in the virtual world respond as you'd expect and operate similarly to how you would use them in real life, giving you the freedom a conventional 2D game can't such as opening a drawer, cracking an egg or pulling a garage door chain. After just a few minutes you'll be frisbeeing CD's across the room, juggling stress balls,  throwing objects at a colleagues basketball hoop-topped rubbish bin, catching toast as it launches from the toaster and making disgusting multi-layered sandwiches with ease. You’ll soon be so confident in your actions that you’ll be holding something in one hand and performing another task in the other.

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The games main campaign has you performing office duties, making meals for customers, fixing cars and serving customers, but  exactly how you choose to complete the individual tasks is mostly up to you. The core situations may seem mundane but it’s the play that these robots put on along with their misunderstandings of these common practices that make the experience work. Played out routinely, each scenario will last approx 30 mins to an hour as you're asked to complete a series of challenges while genuinely funny interactions and dialogue from the robots keeps you entertained.

Of course you could carry out the tasks exactly as you’re told but it’s much more fun to test the boundaries, wreaking havoc in the various simulations by seeing how many different ways you can interact with the environment and how many approaches the developers have planned for. Need to ‘burn’ a music CD? Toss it on the grill or pop it in the toaster. Making soup? Throw whatever you like in the pot and see the resulting can label proudly read "Cockroach and Cookie Soup".

Tracking performance 

Adapted from the original room scale HTC Vive release, Job Simulator for the PlayStation VR has been modified to fit a more 180-degree experience due to the limited tracking of the PlayStation VR camera. Having said that, Job Simulator is one of the few PSVR titles that feels more room scale than the others as it plays best when standing. As long as you stay within range of the camera I had no trouble bending down, looking under desks or walking a couple steps to peer outside of the cubicle and down the corridors or leaning over partitions and kitchen counter-tops.


via ABucs260 on Reddit

Job Simulator asks you to stand approximately 2 metres (~6.5ft) from the camera and although I had to move a portion of my sofa; as long as I stayed within camera range - tracking performed admirably. There were two instances in which my height was misread - one where I was too short and the other too tall and as such was unable to reach out for objects properly. This was a problem that could have been solved by being able to adjust height in game via an options menu or simple button press but as far as I could see this wasn’t a feature and I had to exit to the main menu and struggle to hit a “recalibrate” button in the virtual world before I could adjust my height.

Conclusion

Job Simulator is a charming  and fun sandbox experience that will keep a smile on your face throughout its relatively short campaign. It is also a great introduction to PlayStation VR and although there is little reason to replay the main game itself, you’ll find yourself coming back a few more times to see what you missed before and because the interactivity and playability is so instantly fun and rewarding.

Verdict
Pros
+ Charming and funny
+ Interactions are well done
+ Experimenting in the sandbox is fun
+ Quick learning curve
Cons
- Strict tracking requirements
- Only 4 game modes
- Main gameplay is short
8 Presentation
Genuinely funny and well presented with fun and clean looking cartoon visuals that play to the PSVR's (and the games) strengths.
8 Gameplay
Simple and intuitive - you operate objects in the the virtual world just like you would in real life, the only difference being there are no repercussions in virtual reality. Just make sure you stay within range of the PS camera.
6 Lasting Appeal
You'll come back to Job Simulator a few times to mess around and see what other interactions work but a short, slightly repetitive campaign in only 4 scenarios soon wears thin. However, this is a great introductory title to VR for newcomers.
7.5
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
A great introduction to VR in a fun and polished, though relatively short experience. If you're looking for a high quality game to showcase VR then you can't go wrong with Job Simulator.
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