Job Sim­u­la­tor: The 2050 Archives

EDGE - - PLAY - De­vel­oper/pub­lisher Owlchemy Labs For­mat PSVR, Rift, Vive (ver­sion tested) Re­lease Out now (Vive), TBA (PSVR, Rift)

For so long a sig­nal of a dry-as-a-bone genre, with enor­mously de­tailed ad­her­ence to a com­plex re­al­world pas­time, th­ese days the word ‘sim­u­la­tor’ has been well and truly ap­pro­pri­ated by many a wag. Now the term is as likely to mean a com­edy goat-physics game as it is an im­pen­e­tra­ble mil­i­tary flight sim. Job Sim­u­la­tor’s boxy, low-poly aes­thetic sug­gests it falls in the for­mer camp, but in fact it sits some­where be­tween the two. It is a game of com­edy, cer­tainly, but it is grounded in re­al­ity: you are not wrestling with a com­i­cal physics model, but us­ing Vive’s flaw­less head and hand track­ing to carry out a se­ries of me­nial tasks.

The ac­tion, if you can call it that, is set in a mu­seum which of­fers the ro­bots of the fu­ture a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence un­skilled jobs from the era when hu­mans ran the world. As an of­fice grunt, you work your way rapidly up the cor­po­rate lad­der by knock­ing out mo­ti­va­tional pre­sen­ta­tions and cook­ing (both lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively) the books. As a gourmet chef, you burn steaks to a crisp, make sand­wiches with whole toma­toes in them, and put out fires when it all goes wrong. A stint be­hind the till of a con­ve­nience store has you grilling hot­dogs, knock­ing up slushies and check­ing fake IDs; as a car me­chanic you’ll ei­ther fix what the cus­tomer wants fix­ing or sab­o­tage a ve­hi­cle on the or­ders of your sleazy boss.

The game’s great achieve­ment is the way it brings so many things within reach, even if your play­ing area barely scrapes past Vive’s min­i­mum size re­quire­ments. In the kitchen a dial switches be­tween blender, toaster, sand­wich board, mi­crowave and sink; a switch tog­gles be­tween the grill and a hob with a stock pot, while a lever lets you al­ter­nate be­tween fridge and store cup­board. In the garage, a sin­gle vend­ing ma­chine has every­thing you need, while ve­hi­cles can be ro­tated to bring the part you re­quire within easy reach. It’s smart, and means this is one of the most com­fort­able games you can play on Vive. You’re con­stantly mo­bile, turn­ing round, bend­ing down, us­ing both hands – but you don’t have to move around too much, and quickly for­get the long, thick ca­ble that teth­ers head­set and PC and is Vive’s most fre­quent im­mer­sion-breaker.

While Job Sim­u­la­tor can­not ape the likes of Goat Sim­u­la­tor by get­ting yuks out of its con­trols, there are still laughs to be had from one-to-one track­ing. We got too much cathar­tic en­joy­ment out of fling­ing pa­per planes, dough­nuts and cof­fee mugs at col­leagues in ad­ja­cent cu­bi­cles. But it’s in vir­tual re­al­ity, rather than vir­tual com­edy, that Job Sim­u­la­tor ex­cels. Whether you’re flip­ping a fried egg or turn­ing a dial, this is tac­tile and sat­is­fy­ing, if slight, en­ter­tain­ment.

A fair chunk of de­vel­op­ment must have been taken up with ro­bot-joke brain­storm­ing ses­sions. If this mag­a­zine doesn’t tickle your fancy, per­haps a ro­bot jazz mag, with four whole pages of wire­frames, will hit the spot

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