Picture: Wired Productions
The Last Worker promises a critique of capitalism combined with exciting gameplay. Read our review to find out if the concept works.
In the 1947 country/folk song 16 Tons, Merle Travis sings about the life and suffering of American coal miners during the years of World War II: “You load 16 tons, what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt”.
Although working conditions are not what they were in the mid-20th century, it is large corporations that are repeatedly accused of acting in ways that are anything but employee-friendly in the rush for growth and ever-higher profits.
This development is taken up by Oiffy and Wolf & Wood with their game The Last Worker. The adventure from the first-person perspective is designed as a critique of capitalism. The story revolves around a huge mail order company, an eccentric boss and exploited employees.
The Last Worker review in a nutshell
The Last Worker offers an exciting story, interesting characters, and varied gameplay – at least in theory. In practice, it turns out that the story is one-size-fits-all, the characters are bland, and the gameplay is repetitive. This is a pity because despite the shortcomings, I felt that the developers wanted to create a special experience with The Last Worker.
The passion that went into the VR game saves it from being a complete failure, but it still doesn’t make it good. If you are interested in the subject and have nothing better to do on a free afternoon, you can take a trip to Jüngle’s warehouse. But I can think of a lot of VR games where the money would be better invested.
Primarily tested on: Meta Quest 2
You’ll like The Last Worker if you …
- are looking for an easy introduction to VR gaming,
- find critiques of capitalism interesting and
- like the idea of working virtually for a mail order company.
You won’t like The Last Worker if you …
- value an elaborate story,
- expect characters to develop and
- want consistently fun gameplay.
You load 16 tones, what do you get?
No, the game is not about Amazon, the name of the company is Jüngle and there are no more exploited employees. They have all been rationalized away by robots. But it’s not entirely true that there are no more employees. Kurt is still there.
Kurt is a bearded, corpulent man in his forties who has managed to hold his own against the machines all these years. And although his employer keeps trying to get rid of him, and he sometimes feels a little lonely in the logistics center despite his robot buddy Skew, he is loyal to his employer.
But one day, a rebel movement approaches Kurt and asks for his help in their plans to overthrow Jüngle.
The story of The Last Worker sounds more exciting than it is. The criticism of capitalism shimmers through time and time again, for example when Kurt encounters a machine that grinds live cows into manageable cubes of meat in a matter of seconds. But later, the story turns off into a family drama.
Another day older and deeper in debt
The Last Worker is also only partially convincing in terms of gameplay. The game is divided into chapters with different gameplay styles. Kurt is a member of a rebel group, but he is still a warehouse worker for Jüngle. In this role, he has to pick up and send packages with his hovering cargo mobile.
When Kurt gets an order, the first thing he has to do is find the package – not a big challenge thanks to the mini map and the light markings. Once I reach the package, I grab it with my Jüngle Gun, a gravity-defying cannon, and take a closer look.
If the package is undamaged and the weight and size match the information I have, I put it in the blue shipping tube. Otherwise, I mark it as defective and put it in the red shipping tube.
In one working day, I have to make a certain number of deliveries. The better I do, the better I am rated at the end. If I miss too many deliveries or make too many mistakes, I have to repeat the day. What fun.
St. Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
As the game progresses, more gameplay elements are added. If I stray from the paths set by my employer, I have to be careful. If the robots discover me, I won’t just be fired, I’ll be killed.
So I hide and watch the routes of the mechanical guards, and if I get caught, I start again from one of the generously distributed reset points. Later, I can also use my Jüngle Gun to fire electric shocks to defend myself against the robots. In mini-games, I reproduce color codes to open doors or maneuver a drone at full throttle through an obstacle course.
That sounds varied, but the game elements didn’t work for me. The delivery passages are tiring, and the sneaking and fighting levels are not challenging. Moreover, the scope is small. At normal game speed, the credits roll across the screen after four or five hours. At least there are three different endings to discover.
The Last Worker Test Conclusion: Lost Package
Technically, there is nothing to complain about in The Last Worker. On Meta Quest 2 everything runs fast and smooth, I didn’t notice any stuttering.
Comic legend Mick McMahon has hand-drawn the art style, but unfortunately the presentation of the game rarely shines. Too often, I found myself walking through warehouses and corridors that were virtually indistinguishable from one another.
It’s the same with voice acting. Oiffy and Wolf & Wood were able to hire some real acting talents like Jason Isaacs, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson or Clare-Hope Ashitey. They all did a good job, which I unfortunately couldn’t appreciate because I didn’t like the characters.
In my opinion, the background music was mediocre, like the rest of the game. Although it is always consistent, I was never carried away by it.
The Last Worker Review Conclusion: Lost Package
The game leaves me somewhat at a loss. Ambitions are there, but they get lost in mediocrity after a short time.
The story starts out exciting but quickly becomes predictable, the characters are bland and don’t evolve, the graphics are respectable but monotonous, while the gameplay even bored me at times.
If the developers had made The Last Worker a walking simulator and spent more time developing the story and characters, I probably would have enjoyed the game more.
You can buy The Last Worker here
Buy Quest 2, Quest Pro & Prescription Lenses
You can read all about the Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro in the linked reviews.
Prescription lenses from VR Optician make your glasses obsolete. You can get them with a 5% discount using the link below.
Buy Playstation VR 2, PS5 & Prescription Lenses
All information about Sony’s VR headset can be found in our Playstation VR 2 review. You will also need a Playstation 5.
VR Optician’s prescription lenses make your glasses obsolete. You can get the prescription lenses with a 5% discount via the link below.
PlayStation VR 2
PSVR 2 Accessories