PSP Fanboy review: Work Time Fun

WTF, or Work Time Fun, is an enjoyable, but ultimately flawed, game. The title encapsulates the spirit of the game incredibly well: it's quirky and filled with a dark humor that some may find a bit too vulgar or violent to appreciate. Those that watch you play the game will have no choice but to ask WTF? as they see you participating in a variety of games, from the insane to the inane. A collection of approximately 40 mini-games can be unlocked in the game's unique format. You'll only have four games to start, but as you play those games, you'll earn money that allows you to unlock even more games. While the presentation is unique, and executed very well, it's also one of the greatest flaws of the game. Progressing in the game can sometimes feel less like fun and more like work.

Continuing reading to see the final verdict.

So, it's like Wario Ware for the PSP?

Many (PSP Fanboy included) have compared Work Time Fun to Wario Ware. It's easy to see why: both games provide a number of low-complexity mini-games. They both feature intentionally primitive graphics, most likely to shorten load times, and to create a very distinct look. Just like Wario Ware, the game has maintained a very Japanese flavor to it, as none of the original Japanese actors or items have been replaced by more American ones. However, I have to admit that I am fond of WTF's slightly more grotesque art style. Cute animals will get chopped in half (to horrifying results!), and fingers will get stabbed, etc.

However, once these cosmetic differences are put aside, it's clear that Work Time Fun does not play like its Nintendo brethren. The games of WTF are meant to be played for minutes at a time, not seconds. Some games require at least ten minutes of investment before reaching completion: Wario Ware, this ain't.

Work. Time. Fun?
Although the game promises forty games to play, you only start with four. You're going to be spending a lot of time trying to unlock the rest. For most gamers, I'd say it'll easily take 15 hours before the full roster of games are unlocked. Unfortunately, the assortment of games can be a mixed bag. Here's the first 12 games that are available:

Baseball Superstar - Catch baseballs. Very easy to get into, and a fun game. Too bad it pays so little.
Pendemonium - One of the worst "games" in this collection. You put caps on pens... goes on forever, and is simply "work." Pays very well.
Mushroom Xing - A game where you must cross the street, avoiding cars. Sounds sorta like Frogger. Pays well.
Counter - Count the number of people that walk by. Easy to understand, fun, and pays incredibly well.
Lumberjack - Chop wood, but watch out for animals. Still feels like "work" and doesn't pay well.
Chick Sorting - Determine if a chicken is male or female, and then sort them. Awful, boring game that feels like "work." Does not pay well.
Three Count - One of the few games that'll take less than 30 seconds. Try to get as close to 3 as you can. Pays very little.
Cliff Race 2000 - Play chicken against a rival car. Takes less than a minute, and gives you a ton of cash. Awesome.
Bishop's Game - Avoid stabbing yourself in the hand. Amusing in short bursts. Pays very little.
Animal Investigation Corps - Do addition, get paid. Very short game, and pays decently.
Copycat - It's SIMON, but very, very, very long. Does not pay well.
Private Number - Try to guess a girl's phone number. Easy, and pays decently.

As you can tell from this cross-section of the list, there is a good amount of game variety. However, a good portion of these games simply are not fun at all: they require to mindlessly press the same button for minutes on end. The game makes some tongue-in-cheek humor about itself, but it doesn't negate the fact that some of these games are awful, and hurt the overall value of the package. Many of these games would benefit from being shorter, or paying better. In order to get a new game, one must go to the Vending Machines, where players can use $1, $5, $10 and $50 machines. These vending machines are the key to getting new games, but they also dispense collectibles as well (akin to Super Smash Bros. Melee). There are hundreds of collectibles, and although they are amusing, they're not rewarding to the player. It's incredibly discouraging to pay $50 only to get a non-interactive figure, especially when one has spent half an hour to an hour trying to get enough money to use the vending machine. After hours of playing shallow games, it's not hard to feel frustrated with Work Time Fun.

Still more fun than looking at loading screens
Although the game certainly features some stinkers, it's still an enjoyable game that takes advantage of the PSP quite well. The game features almost no load times, even when hard-booting. In small doses, and by choosing the appropriate mini-games, WTF can be a fun way of passing the time. In addition, the localization team has done a stellar job with the game, doing far more than simply translating the game. You'll receive truly outrageous e-mails throughout the game that feature a biting style of humor. The descriptions of the trinkets you can unlock feel like they're written by someone that hates their lives... and that's a good thing.

Work Time Fun can be fun once in a while, especially when you've learned what to avoid. But, gamers need not lose their patience with a game in order to get to the fun parts.

PSP Fanboy Score: 6.0

TIp: If you want to make money quickly, these are the games that you should play: Counter, Cliff Race 2000, Hell Pottery, The Net (annoying), Private Number Deluxe, Ghost Psychic (say yes to everything)