The Last Worker Review


Jaxson Day

 There has been a rise of “working” games in the past couple years. From a barista, or a farmer, the idea of using an occupation as gameplay is not a new idea. What differentiates these games the most is how they take a boring idea and make it fun. Unfortunately, The Last Worker fails to do this, despite having some fun characters and well done voice acting. At the end, this working simulator has very disconnected gameplay and awkward dialogue that makes this journey feel much longer and drawn out.

Work to Death

In this first-person perspective working simulator you play as Kurt. The only human employee left in a distribution corporation called Jungle, Kurt, who’s task is to track packages and send them off their way. You control Kurt in a mech suit that allows you to fly around environments, and also uses a “JungleGun.” This gun is what primarily helps you throughout your journey, from grabbing far away things to hacking. The distribution facility is primarily where the gameplay takes place, as you track packages, determine if they are damaged as well as the right weight and size, and send them off. While this monotonous and rather boring gameplay does a great job at serving the story, it still makes these sections a bore to play for most of the time.  

The other half of the gameplay is typically clunky stealth sections mixed with puzzles that felt a little too basic to actually challenge the player. Controlling the mech and attempting to hide from security bots doesn’t really feel sneaky, but instead feels like a bull in a China shop. I spent most of those encounters unsure what would actually keep me hidden, or sneaking in giant air vents that feels a little impractical in a mech suit. Not to mention a lot of these environments remove the verticality seen in the distribution facility. 

“Playing Fetch for the rest of your life”

Later on your JungleGun is able to take on new features, such as hacking, which is where a lot of the stealth sections actually work well. Hacking proposes a small minigame where you have to match shapes together as you scroll through different sides of a cube. In these sections, the stealth gameplay actually feels challenging and fun because you are forced to hack different doors before getting caught, and there are other exciting mechanics that change up the more generic gameplay loop.

The story and characters really drive players through this journey, despite the more dull gameplay sections, and although every character has really well done voice acting, the inconsistent nature of the story unfortunately shares similarities with the gameplay. Starting with the protagonist Kurt, who is unfortunately the weakest written character in the game, with inconsistent motivations and developments that make it hard for players to connect with him.

Maybe AI and Humans can be friends!

The biggest reason for this is the constant loyalty Kurt has to the corporation, despite early cutscenes showing him helping his wife escape Jungle. However, when characters try to save him from his corporate life, he is unwilling to go for reasons that never quite made sense and felt unnatural. Thankfully, the two supporting characters Skew and Hoverbird feel much more consistent, and are easily the best parts of the game. 

Skew, a jungle bot who has always disobeyed his programming, serves as a more comedic and explicit role in the game, and serves as a much needed fan favorite. Skew brings a necessary tone change despite the overall depressing world and story, and although some of his jokes are not well-written, they assist in portraying his funny if not dumb character. When Skew really excels is his interactions with Hoverbird, a mysterious robot controlled by a woman who is helping us escape this world. The only real reason this story works is because of her character, as the main turning point and incentive to escape. She is also the character that encourages most of the character development both from Skew, Kurt and their friendship with each other.

Working Hard or Hardly Working

Outside of these characters, as well as a couple characters introduced at the very end, most of the world is empty and filled with machines. Thankfully the art-style makes this otherwise empty world much more exciting and intriguing, mostly due to the wonderfully designed hand drawn textures. This unique style really makes characters and environments stick out, and makes what is otherwise be a bland workspace one that’s fun to explore. This is especially prevalent with the character designs, which are particularly special, such as the Jungle executive with his rainbow hair, or Skew with his eyes out of place.

While The Last Worker has some great moments, it unfortunately feels too unbalanced both with dialogue, characters and gameplay to really blow players away. In the end, this imbalanced game can’t rely on its strengths to save it from its predictable story, boring gameplay and characters that are really hard to connect with. 

Game Score: 6/10

Thank you to Wired Productions for the review code! Make sure to check out The Last Worker on Steam, Xbox, Meta, Playstation and even Switch

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