Review: Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives
Want to work in virtual reality, Owlchemy Labs' Job Simulator is put to the test.
Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives has seen much change since VRFocus‘ initial hands-on with the videogame. Many aspects have been adapted or improved upon, while the very first ‘job’ experienced, Chef’s Kitchen, has seen a complete overhaul. There’s clearly a lot of love been put into the development of Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives, and the emergent humour that comes from this is second-to-none at the launch of the HTC Vive.
The basic principle of Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives is ‘to job’. In the future humans have developed robots capable of handling all basic labour, and the humans have forgotten what it was like to go to work. Therefore, the robots have created a simulation to remind humans of this; Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives is a virtual reality (VR) simulation inside a VR simulation, though neither of them are entirely accurate portrayals of the real world.
The player begins in a museum like environment and is instructed how to begin and job and subsequently exit it before beginning. Everything in Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives is designed to remain in character: there is no pop-up tutorial or indirect hint mechanism. You are told by in monastic dialogue by your accompanying Job Bot what your role is, and a monitor ahead provides you with pictorial information on how to complete each phase of said job.
The jobs themselves are loosely tied to their real-world counterparts. The bots, you see, have taken their research to the furthest logical extent and interpreted human activities as binary. Cooking a steak is simply placing meat on heat; ‘jumbo’ sizing a slushie is performed by enlarging the product via a growth machine; being a mechanic is all about fooling your clients, but not in a stereotypical modern day fashion. All of these activities and more are performed mostly by flicking switches and pressing buttons.
While in the preview builds the Store Clerk was arguably the most exciting job, the final delivery of this seems to have been toned down somewhat. Instead, it’s the Office Worker that now takes pride of place in Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives‘ catalogue, offering the widest range of activities to do outside of what is instructed. A large part of the fun of Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives is ignoring the objective given and simply messing about; it’s as much a playground for emergent fun as it is a videogame.
Sadly, there are issues with Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives‘ directed gameplay that hadn’t previously been seen in the preview builds. For example, certain objectives can be failed before even being put before the player as necessary objects can be disposed of without possibility of regaining possession of them. These are few and far between, but it’s certainly irritating when such issues do occur.
The aesthetic design of Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives is simply wonderful; full of the character that makes the experience so unique and inviting. From the musical score and the dialogue to the varied presentation of the many bots the player will encounter, Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives is a memorable VR experience.
Making good use of the HTC Vive’s roomscale without demanding an excessive playspace, Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives is a great starting point for both Owlchemy Labs and users set to experience their first taste of modern VR. It’s humorous and inviting without ever truly being too taxing, and the potential for expansion is nigh-on unlimited. Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives is an easy recommendation for anyone looking to jump into VR and a great advertisement for the fact that virtual worlds don’t necessarily need to lean towards photorealism to be immersive.