The Last Worker – The Review

March 17, 2024 ·

When you think about work, what comes to mind? The job that has to be performed? Resources that are needed? Maybe deadlines have to be met to meet the needed goals. Work can mean a lot of different things to different people depending on the job and team needed to make the work-life successful. With work, we all have a role to play, even if we disagree with the task. But do publisher, Wired Productions and developers, Oiffy and Wolf & Wood Interactive, show us the true meaning of work? Let’s find out with The Last Worker for PlayStation VR2.

The Last Worker is an immersive narrative adventure centered around a lone worker’s last stand in an increasingly automated world that mixes a unique blend of work simulation and stealth strategic gameplay. The game’s setting is a lonely, oppressive but strangely beautiful environment, featuring characters designed by comics legend Mick McMahon.

So before you go with your day-to-day life and admire everything around you, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, find your favorite place to sit. In the game, the character is sitting throughout, so you might as well be comfortable while working. Second, make sure you have charged those Sense controllers. You don’t want to select a package, drop it, and receive a bad rating just because you forgot to charge them, do you? Third, I am not going to spoil anything for anyone. The story being told is a meaningful one and should be experienced. And finally, sit back, take some time, and enjoy the ride. With all that said, let’s continue.

When you begin, the menu is displayed to you. Depending on how you like to play, you may want to go into settings and select your audio volumes, decide if you want Positional VO on or off, have subtitles shown, and the scale of them. Then move on to comfort. Here you have the options if you would like to have movement blinkers, the amount of movement blinkers, and even the turning blinkers. You also have the option for headset vibration, tilt amount, and turn speed. Turn off the blinkers if you are comfortable with VR and do not get nauseous. You can also select to turn on snap turning if that is your playing preference as well as select your language. I can say that for me, with turning off the blinkers, everything was as smooth as can be. But at any time, you can go into the menu and change the settings. Once you have everything the way you like it, it’s time to start the game.

In The Last Worker, you play Kurt, who is the last human employee for a giant retail warehouse called Jüngle (think of it like Amazon), in the not-so-distant future. As automation has become a norm, it’s your job to keep pace with the robotic drones as you sort out packages for delivery. One of the first things you will notice is the art style for the game with your arms and the corporate-issued JünglePod that you are in. Destroying a wall from the start can help release a nice little amount of frustration that one would have with their job and if they were the last human employee only to be told that Mr. Josef Jüngle himself fires them. At least it’s only a bad dream that you were having.

This is when the game starts its title sequence and Kurt looks into a box of memories that starts to tell his story of how there used to be other human employees and then, one by one, the humans are being replaced by the robotic drones. But it shows Kurt’s personal side of the story with him falling in love with another human co-worker. As it comes down to either Kurt leaving or staying at his job, Kurt decides to stay and keep working at Jüngle. We then watch as Kurt grows older with his hair and new beard growing out, we can see the self-confrontation that Kurt is having within himself. So it’s one you don’t want to miss or you might miss something.

As time has passed, it’s another work shift day at Jüngle. In case you are wondering how many days this is for Kurt, it’s his 9,125th, which for anyone, would be a very long time of doing the same thing over and over. But hey, at least you are the last human employee and no one else to talk to, right? Well, there is someone or something that seems to be highly caffeinated that you can communicate with, your Stock Keeping Unit aka SKU, co-bot named Skew. Even though you have been with the company for 25 years, Skew still, and you are not sure why, feels the need to treat you like a new employee and will want to show you how things work. Just humor him, plus it serves as a tutorial.

In between the story portions, you will pick up and dispatch packages. Now, this is not going to be as simply grabbing the package and dropping it off as you will need to pay attention to the packages. If the packages are damaged or have incorrect weight, then you will need to disregard and recycle them. Lucky for you, your pod has a built-in scale to verify the expected weight of the package. Not only will you need to make sure what packages will need to go where, but you will also have to have a certain number of packages distributed before the final minutes of your shift, as Mr. Jüngle ranks you via your performance report. Each successful package that was delivered correctly will reveal the contents of the package, and each item is something to look forward to collecting. The performance report will show how many packages you distributed, what the products contained, the times you picked up and dispatched, and the result. The ranking goes from an F to a J, with J being the best. If it’s not satisfactory, Mr. Jüngle will fire you and you will have to start over. So as long as you are above an F, you can continue with the story.

As part of the game is working, there is another part will involve some simple puzzles so that it doesn’t distract you from the story, stealth, and involving new characters such as meeting Hoverbird, who is part of the activist group called S.P.E.A.R., who wants to put an end to the automated redundancy and Jüngle. The puzzle aspect requires you to match symbols to hack doors and alternate pathways. With the stealth, it may not seem like it has much importance, but it does fall into helping the story move along. Just be careful that the decisions you make will have unexpected consequences. It’s not only the characters that are intertwined as part of the story, but their interactions and dry, but subtle humorous sarcasm with each other that had me laughing at times as well as starting to understand more of the story and what the real message that The Last Worker is trying to get across.

Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. With the graphics, we have this hand-painted style, that helps bring the characters and environments to life in Virtual Reality. At times, I just sat back and watched everything around me go on its own and appreciated the amount of work that went into all of this. Even though The Last Worker is already on a variety of other non-VR platforms, I will say to get the most out of this game and truly appreciate it if you play it in and experience it in VR. With the sound, you already have the excellent voice cast of Clare-Hope Ashitey, Zelda Williams, David Hewlett, Jason Isaacs, Tommie Earl Jenkins, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, but also the music that helps with the tone of the story along the way.

There are just a few things that I would have loved to see or hear. First, more of the dry humor. As you start to get into the story, there are parts that you might relate to or have an understanding of. And at some of these points, if there was just a tad more humor, it might lift a little bit of what the characters were going through, but again, it may have also taken away from it as well. Second, more multiple endings. I won’t go into this a lot as that would spoil things. And finally, more. And what I mean by this is not simply more games from this universe, even though a sequel would be interesting. But more games from the developers with this art style and storytelling as it works very well in VR.

The Last Worker shows us what working can entail, the tasks at hand, and the performance we might receive based on the job. Sometimes what our intentions are of working for a short time, turn into years that can affect and show what can happen with some of our choices in life. It shows that some choices result in a repeating rotation that never changes and we live in self-doubt over time or it can show where we may not earn as much, but couldn’t be happier. But no matter the choices we make in life, we need to make time for the things most important in life or we may very well miss out on the time that we could have spent and regretting it for the rest of our lives.

The Last Worker is out now for PlayStation VR2 on the PlayStation Store and a retailer near you, and for the Quest 2, 3, & Pro on the Meta Store Steam VR, as well as other non-VR platforms. A review code was provided.

To learn more about Wired Productions, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter,

To learn more about Oiffy, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and follow them on Instagram.

To learn more about Wolf & Wood Interactive, please visit their sitefollow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to collect some more collectibles and see if there are other endings that I might have missed.

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