Twenty five years have passed since Kurt joined Jüngle, a large mega-corporation “delivering dreams” to its millions of customers across the globe.
While Jüngle has continued to evolve, robots have replaced workers and Kurt is the last human working on board the JFC-1 fulfillment centre, even his pregnant partner was cast aside to live in squalor down on earth.
As the last human explorer for Jüngle, you’ll have to collect the desired order and drop it off at the dispatch point, thankfully you don’t have to box the item yourself, so there’s no putting items in boxes 4 times too large like Amazon love to do, but if you notice a product that’s damaged or the wrong size or weight you’ll need to label it accordingly and make a quick trip to recycling to ensure customers aren’t receiving incorrect or out-of-range products.
Jüngle feels like a mix between a real world Apple and Amazon, multi-millionaire owners who claim to care about customers, shady practices and no doubt overpriced goods, it’s pretty easy for The Last Worker to poke fun at the way the world is today.
Throughout the 5 hours campaign, you’ll step-into the shoes of Kurt, an overweight middle-aged man who finishes work and then heads down to the scrap centre to unwind for the evening as the latest jPhones are discarded like waste paper because they’re a few hours out of date.
It’s obviously pretty easy to dislike Jüngle and all they stand for, but as the sole human working on board, you’re working beside your personal co-bot called Skew and the early sections of the game introduce you to the mechanics of your glorified flying mobility scooter that you’ll use to transport packages and manoeuvre around the facility.
Controls are fairly simple with the left stick controlling basic movement and the bumper buttons allowing you to raise and lower altitude, it’s not as smooth as I would have liked, especially moving up and down, but it works well the majority of the time.
You’ll also have a handheld device that allows you to easily pick up packages, and label them as the wrong size/shape, damaged or expired for when you need to recycle something, I would have liked it to be a little easier to switch through modes, especially during the adventure sections when you’ll be using a few additional variations you open up, but rather than a simple D-pad selection, you’ll need to hold Y and then select through to what you want to use.
It’s not long before your cosy life of being a workaholic is interrupted and you’re soon approached by a third-party group known as SPEAR who seem intent on stopping Jüngle in their tracks.
From this point on the game changes slightly, what starts as a working-sim, swiftly moves onto adventure, and there’s steady progression through the storyline which introduces you further to this third party and helps flesh out some of the back-story, towards the second half of the game, there’s still a token “work” section, but the vast majority of your time will be sent progressing the narrative to uncover more about Jüngle, Kurt and his past and SPEAR who seem quite happy for Kurt to do their dirty work.
Inevitably it all concludes with one of three endings (which can easily be revisited and changed in the final section) the story did become a little predictable and I had zero issues in starting with the good ending and saving the bad ending until last, but there’s enough within the story to make sure most people will want to see how each of these conclude, even if it only takes an extra 10-15 minutes to find out.
Graphically, the Last Work has a hand-drawn cell-shaded presentation created by Mick McMahon, similar to games like Borderlands, XIII and DeadCraft, characters, locations and your companion (and less friendly) robots are all well detailed and mostly easy to distinguish.
Dialogue is all fully voice-acted with some mostly great performances from the likes of Jason Isaacs, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Clare-Hope Ashiley, David Hewlett, Zelda Williams and Tommie Earl Jenkins, and writing, but there are a few issues we’ll touch on a little later. There are a few weaknesses in the presentation, so let’s take a look at what’s unfortunately negative about The Last Worker.
Starting off with the gameplay, I enjoyed both the working-sim and adventure sections, but it feels a little off-balance, maybe the fairly short working shifts make it seem unfulfilling, or the lack of working shifts for a large portion throughout the game , but when I look at games like Hardspace: Shipbreaker, that maintained the working system (and ALOT of it) while still doing a great job of delivering the storyline, whereas the Last Worker seems to lose itself a little and struggle to outline both, meaning you’re seemingly concentrating on one of the other.
Moving on to the overall presentation, and one glaring “feature” you’ll notice in sections is a mirror to your left, it’s no doubt included to try to show Kurt to the player, and convey emotion and personality, but the fantastic voice acting does a grand jpb without needing to distract the user’s attention unnecessarily.
While I had very little to complain about with the overall voice-acting, the writing wasn’t quite on par, there’s some sections where there seems a few too many swear words thrown in which can occasionally leave things feeling a little flat, especially when you’re effing one minute and then trying to portray emotion and sensitivity seconds later, coupled with a few bites and lines being repeated a little too often, it just holds back the delivery unnecessarily.
Finally my only other complaint is the game length. While 4 hours will suit VR players fine, for Xbox gamers, it’s not quite enough, the promised moral choices only add a matter of minutes, and even working through a few extra achievements will only give most people 5 or 6 hours of total gameplay.
Beyond that, there’s a few tougher achievements which will extend life (such as collecting every product) but as mentioned previously, the short and periodic shifts mean these are things you’ll be backtracking to specific section intentionally, rather than repaying the story as a whole.
Overall I’ve enjoyed my time with The Last Worker, while far from perfect, the work-sim | Adventure gameplay works well, and the high-quality voice acting help to deliver on the intriguing story.
The Last Worker isn’t going to struggle to hold your attention for its lifespan, but like parcels in a box four-times too large, you will be left wishing there was more, but it’s still easy to recommend for its interesting storyline and high-quality voice acting.
The Last Worker
like parcels in a box four-times too large, you will be left wishing there was more, but it’s still easy to recommend for its interesting storyline and high-quality voice acting.
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