[Mini-Review] WTF: Work Time Fun

Yeah, WTF just about sums it up.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: October 26, 2006
[The Good]
What can be said about Work Time Fun that wasn't already covered in our preview a few weeks back? It's essentially Sony Computer Entertainment's attempt to cash in on the non-game (or at least mini-game) movement, and it's done with a fantastic tongue-in-cheek poke at the blue collar worker that clearly doesn't want to be doing that monotonous, soul-crushing job, yet keeps plugging away at it for the paycheck.


That is WTF at its core: a handful of mini-games with a sick sort of sense of humor; capping an infinite number of pins, sorting an infinite number of boy/girl/dead chicks, playing chicken against what looks like some kind of coked-up giraffe, chopping wood while trying not to bisect a furry woodland creature. There are a bazillion tasks here that will earn you varying amount of money just so you can roll the dice and hope you get a decent prize out of vending machines.

And really, that's all there is to the game. Yes, there are some quirky "real-world" gadgets like using the PSP as a flashlight or a ramen timer), but these are merely one-off distractions for most. Yes, you can beam over a couple of games and have your friends play for you (all the while you're secretly earning money off the sweat of their brow--er thumbs), but this isn't really meant to be a game played for long spurts between friends. Oh, you'll most certainly get caught up in playing some of the games perhaps a bit longer than you should; they can indeed be addictive, but in the end, it's just, well, wasted time.

[The Bad]
There is the issue, too, of the mini-games themselves, which are certainly nice distractions, and the humor that comes with rotating and capping pens or counting the people walking by is fun, but in a game made up purely of mini-games (which you play to earn money to buy mostly useless trinkets or -- wait for it -- more mini-games), the onus is on them to carry the experience. Maybe it's because some of them are good enough to snare for more than the 5 or so minutes they're meant to be played. There is, ironically, fun to be had here, but after a while it does start to feel like work, which isn't really what games are about.

[The Verdict]
God, what a completely bizarre concept. It's easy to see why Sony Computer Entertainment America side-stepped the publishing of this here, as it probably won't move all that many units. This is, however, the perfect game for those of us who have short bus or train rides in to work, or who need to kill about five minutes with a pointless task. There's no real point to the game, though, and that ultimately means this was probably best left as one of those downloadable options for $5 that Sony has been talking about in regards to their whole e-distribution effort.

I feel torn; on the one hand, 3DPublisher America deserves to move at least a couple copies for having the balls to even pick this game up, but on the other, I just can't justify spending more than a couple bucks on it -- even at bargain bin prices, the sort of long-term payoff isn't really there. Is it because they wrapped it around the obvious dig at what many Pong players of yore are now doing to pay the mortgage? Is it because the game is, ultimately, a vapid sort of experience? Is it because I'm really just overthinking things?

Whatever the reason, WTF succeeds at living up to the other definition of that acronym, and for those first few hours, it is an experience that you want to share with others. In the end, though, just as in life,
The Verdict
6.0

It's possible that this will end up being the high end of the scores for the game -- and Lord knows it could have gone lower, but in the midst of realizing I'd wasted as much time as I did playing, I remembered too that, for a time, I had fun doing it.

5.0Graphics:

Intentionally over-simplistic and, well, crappy at times, the completely random nature of the pixel art and zany stills is at least amusing if not attractive.

6.0Sound:

Often there's little more than the repetitive din of others doing the same task of you or the rhythmic confirmation chimes of your work to pierce the silence. Neither are particularly enjoyable.

8.5Control:

Considering most games only use one button, yep, it's plenty solid, but in the rare cases where the PSP is used vertically, it can feel a little weird. Not bad, just... weird. Like the rest of the game.

6.0Gameplay:

Mini-games are supposed to be just that: games. WTF is more like masochistic tasks in hell, and I guess that was the idea, but does it really make for great games? Not long-term, nope.