“Who’s the last one? I’m the last one!”, The Last Worker‘s oafish, stupid protagonist constantly repeats after putting a package in a chute or blowing a robot up with an EMP blast. Kurt is apparently quite proud of being the titular character, which the game never really explains. He’s the only human worker at an Amazon fulfilment center kind of place and robots are seen doing his exact job. Why is he there then? An answer isn’t ever really given, which tracks considering how weak and pointless the game’s story is. Those adjectives can just as easily be levied at the gameplay, sadly.
The Last Worker sets up its flimsy premise right away. Kurt lives and works at a Jüngle fulfilment center, which is an obvious play on Amazon. While there were once hundreds of workers, everyone else was fired. Kurt still works there for some reason. One of the other fired workers was Rosa, Kurt’s pregnant girlfriend. Kurt decided he didn’t want to go with her and that it would be better to live by himself in the distribution center because Kurt is a monumental imbecile. Don’t be like Kurt.
While going about his existence, Kurt is contacted by an activist via a small bird drone. The voice tells him that Jüngle needs to be stopped and he’s the only one who can do it. Why? Again, I don’t know. The voice acting (aside from Kurt’s annoying, dopey voice) is damn good, but everything else about The Last Worker is the opposite. The dialogue is filled with unnecessary swearing, the banter is aggravating, and the script completely fails at saying anything of substance, even though it appears to try to do so. The plot culminates in three minute-long endings that, quite simply, blow. The Last Worker is a narrative game with an impressively crummy narrative. Two of the endings massively contradict each other as well, which kind of pissed me off.
There are multiple types of “gameplay” included. Kurt will often need to do shifts where he grabs a specific package, inspects it to make sure it’s the right size and weight, checks for damage, and then either ships it out or throws it in recycling. This is always the exact same, which is to say it’s extremely boring. After putting a package in a chute, you have to wait for a while before the map will tell you where the next one is. Thankfully, you can usually just deliver one or two packages and then just leave the game running until the shift ends.
But the above sections are the least of The Last Worker‘s problems. The other main types of gameplay are made up of clumsily sneaking past robots and “solving” terrible “puzzles”. The stealth is bog standard and tedious. The puzzles just require you to match nine flippable blocks to an image, which the game refers to as hacking. This is even more tedious and dull than the stealth. There’s also a minigame that reminded me of ship segments in Rebel Assault, plus an endgame section where you smash things while on-rails. In-game story sequences often require you to stand still while characters ramble or walk forward (and only forward) at a snail’s pace.
The Rebel Assault sections are the best thing here, but they tend to go on too long. Kurt’s only tool is the Jünglegun, which is basically just a gravity gun that has a few extra functions, including the aforementioned “hacker” and EMP that can be used to dispatch robots. At least, for most of the game. Partway through it randomly becomes less useful so that you’re forced to focus on the stealth encounters. The Last Worker is almost never any fun.
While you might expect a narrative game to be braindead easy to get through, this one has some atrocious difficulty spikes. At one point, you have to use the EMP to take out a bunch of robots without dying. It’s not hard, the design is just questionable and it’s the only time the game demands you to shoot with any skill. This results in it being frustrating. Then there are sequences where you have to solve two of the block puzzles on a timer. Since the puzzles feel random and arbitrary, this is also massively frustrating at times.
But the real tests of patience are toward the end of the game. You have to sneak past two large robots in a long hallway without getting hit and it is absolutely miserable. I jumped into the menu and looked for a way to skip this as it’s one of the more awful segments I’ve seen in a game recently. Then you’re forced to solve two block puzzles while avoiding one of these robots. And of course you need to solve both puzzles on a strict time limit. I would only wish The Last Worker on someone I hated. These segments take a bad game and make it so much worse for no good reason.
Visually, the game looks like it came out in the late ’00s. It’s just ugly. Textures are low resolution, models are undetailed. And movement doesn’t fare much better. Kurt moves in a hovering vehicle that is horribly slow at its default speed. You can boost, but it’s on a cooldown for, again, no good reason. This makes the hallway where you’re sneaking past two big robots even more infuriatingly awful than it already was. Aside from the voice acting, the only thing I liked about The Last Worker is that it’s only four-and-a-half hours long, which was an act of mercy.
I don’t typically like to say I hate the games I review, but I hated The Last Worker. It’s short, ugly, poorly written, and built out of tedious, boring gameplay segments complete with moronic difficulty spikes. I’m glad that I don’t have to play it again and I’d strongly recommend that you avoid it to the best of your ability.