Work…it’s a bad word to some and a dreaded word to others, but no matter how you cut it, it’s a thing we ALL must do in life. It’s the core idea around Oiffy and Wolf & Wood Interactive Limited’s latest game – The Last Worker takes a more than critical look at working culture, as well as how businesses treat their employers… as it’s often more a case of living to work, than working to live. It’s worth noting that The Last Worker can be played in VR or in a more standard “flat” format and this review will be focused on the Xbox Series X version… though check out the additional info at the end that looks specifically at the PSVR2 build.
The Last Worker is a narrative solo adventure centred around… Kurt the last worker (a self-proclaimed fat guy in a high-tech mobility scooter) at a mega corporation called Jüngle – who are the world’s largest retailer, and basically Amazon in all but name in the not-so-distant future. Kurt is very good at his job and has been doing it for some time as the intro video shows; it also highlights the sacrifices and losses he has gone through, as well as Jüngle pushing for an increasingly automated factory and world. In the beginning you’ll be doing Kurts day to day job i.e., find packages and ship them or reject them if they are damaged and the like. In this stage your goal is simple – do a good job, as each day you are rated on your shift. Fail to make the grade and you’ll have to do your shift all over again. This is the status-quo until one day events have Kurt starting to think that Jüngle are maybe the bad guys and maybe you could change things for the better and bring the corrupt corporate machine down from the inside.
It’s at this point when the game opens up a bit more giving you and your multi-purpose JüngleGun more actions and options. The real core of the game is its tale, as though gameplay is enjoyable for a time, it quickly evolves into seeing you hacking, tackling stealth sections and races, but also instant fail moments which really impacts its flow. The strength of the tale is really hit home when you spot the cast of talent it features: like Jason Isaacs, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Clare-Hope Ashitey, David Hewlett, Zelda Williams and Tommie Earl Jenkins. With a pack like that, you can bet the voice acting is of a very high standard, yet the overall writing is a bit hit and miss at times. The game aims for a cheeky and satire filled tale, but more jokes fail to land than hitting the mark I found. That’s not to say there weren’t moments where I laughed out loud as there is a strong undertone of British humour running through it. But… the laughs were few and far between at times, plus it never shakes the feeling of “oh it’s cool to swear, so let’s swear for swearing’s sake”, like a sugar fuelled teen discovering the joy of saying the F-bomb for the first time.
Visually it’s striking with a real Void Bastards look reminiscent of a comic book, all powered by cell shaded visuals and it’s cast of colourful characters look the part – thanks to being designed by comics and 2000AD legend Mick McMahon. The Last Worker is a five to six hour tale that starts really wanting to be thought provoking, while also trying to make a point. Sadly it gets bogged down over time through gameplay missteps and writing that thinks it’s just a bit too cool for school at times. However, when it gets all its ducks in a row, there is an enjoyable one and done title here that does get its overall point across, by hook or by crook.
Xbox and PS5 review copies of The Last Worker were provided by Oiffy and Wolf & Wood Interactive Limited’s PR team, and the game is out now on nearly all platforms for around £20.
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