Wacky Japanese titles have always had a niche in the American market, and lately we’ve seen a large influx of mini-game collections from across the Pacific. Warioware really got this ball rolling with several addictive, strange, and fun titles. WTF, Work Time Fun, tries to continue this madness on the Sony PSP. The jist behind WTF is to give you little jobs/games to earn in game money to buy more games and earn “bonuses”. Unfortunately, there is an underlying fundamental problem with trying to make work fun. If work was fun, we wouldn’t call it work. WTF uses a mish-mash of wacky pictures, animations and an overall silly theme. This has almost become expected from these types of games, but in WTF the whole feel comes off a little forced. There’s none of the charm of a Warioware, and while the game’s looks feel a bit soulless, they do work and are mildly amusing. I would’ve liked a more consistent theme as well. Bouncing back and forth from the differing styles was a little jarring. As well, the game lacked an overall smoothness and polish that is to be expected from a full priced title. While there are some catchy beats and tunes scattered throughout the title, the sound is generally inconsistent, and for the most part dull. Even the better titles of this type have music all over the place, but in those games the music has much better consistency. The game will bark its orders at you in broken English. Some folks may find the voices funny; I found it stupid and insulting. I understand what D3 was trying to do with this, but it doesn’t work. WTF just tries to hard to be wacky and Japanese, and it doesn’t pull it off in a very convincing manner. On the good side, the controls aren’t broken. They work quite well in fact, but how hard is it to design different mini-games around pushing one button over and over. The controls were so simple that they bring you to the point of boredom. Even though the activities change you never really have to change what you’re doing. One of the first games you play has you putting tops on pens. Sounds like a blast right? Well, for a couple of seconds it’s not bad, but there is nothing special or interesting that you have to do to avoid boredom. A successul mini-game game has variety in the activity types as well as what you need to do in those activities. It’s a shame, because some of the games are fun, but when you keep doing the same simple things over and over you just want to stop playing.
WTF is built around “working” a job in order to earn money and
“bonusses” to open up more activities. The problem is that you have to keep
replaying the same dull mini-games in order to earn enough cash to buy some of
the more interesting activities. In the game chick sorting, you’ll spend
almost ten minutes sorting out baby chickens. One, ten minute mini-games
are not conducive to portability, it’s not an activity that holds up that
long, and it is incessantly tedious. The developer attempts to reward
playing the game by giving you a boatload of useless, ramen timer, gizmos to use
in game. None of these rewards really make the game worth playing. Furthermore,
you end up playing the better mini-games to the point of boredom. You can ignore
the weaker games, keep playing the marginally better ones and make plenty of
money to unlock all the gizmos.
Games shouldn’t be work. Heck games probably shouldn’t even be about work.
WTF does a good job of parodying some jobs, but it’s not enough to
overcome the poor design decisions. Fortunately some of the activities are more
enjoyable with friends, but it is all too little to keep this game afloat. WTF does give you a ton of mini-games, and some of them are fun to play with your buddies. You’ll get a couple of laughs out of the wackiness as well. Unfortunately the whole game just has an inconsistent feel, and I feel the developers put this game together to say they had a mini-game collection like Warioware. What’s the point of having a lot of mini-games if they all boil down to the same button presses with little to no variation? I think WTF holds some value, but not at full price. Look for this title in the bargain bin when you need a mild diversion.