PSP Review - 'WTF'

by Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen on Nov. 14, 2006 @ 1:15 a.m. PST

WTF is a crazy collection of fun and addictive mini-games that drive the player to perform sometimes trivial, sometimes mind-bending, but always fun jobs in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Genre: Puzzle
Publisher: D3Publisher
Developer: SCEI
Release Date: October 17, 2006

The best way to summarize WTF: Work Time Fun is to say that this game is a trip. Unfortunately, it's not a trip in the good, cute, LocoRoco sort of way. It was released in Japan as Baito Hell 2000 – baito meaning "work." That's right; it's a tiny piece of hell in the form of a video game. If this doesn't scare you off instantaneously, you've probably played WarioWare, Inc. or one of its many sequels. To save you time, here are the differences between any iteration of that series, and this game.

WarioWare, Inc. consists of 10-second micro-games that are fun in doses of about 10 seconds. WTF consists of games that last anywhere from 30 seconds to an infinite length of time, but they are still fun for about 10 seconds. WarioWare, Inc.'s graphics and sound are charming in their simplicity. WTF's presentations use the PSP's audio quality, and a strange "pseudo" 16-bit look, real photos photoshopped together, or ASCII text.

WarioWare rewards you for beating chains of mini-games with more mini-games and tools. WTF has both of these, in addition to a bunch of useless random objects which will drain a major portion of your every purchase. WarioWare, Inc. uses control gimmicks for each iteration while WTF, well, doesn't, but you can't really blame it, since it's on the PSP. In short: WarioWare, Inc. is more fun than, but not necessarily as good-looking as, WTF.

Really, there is not too much more to say about WTF without tearing into the real nitty-gritty. The game consists of four "core" menus and the pause menu. The "Mail" screen is like any video game's in-game e-mail system, except that it contains spam, and most in-game e-mail systems aren't as inane, strange, and impossible to figure out as some of the e-mails in this game.

The Job Placement menu lets you choose one out of four of the mini-games you have unlocked, and play it as long as you can tolerate in order to make money. The pause menu lets you play the games freely, but you make no money for doing so, and with no score saving, it's kind of pointless.

The Vending Machine is where you try to use the money earned, in the vein of "random toy" machines seen in supermarkets (or Smash Bros. Melee). Most of what you get from these will be trinkets which do absolutely nothing. Some will be things of a more useful nature, such as Chinese Astrology predictions, or a Ramen Timer which consists of a humorously buff male or Asian swimsuit girl on a beach, walking around and saying stupid things with incredible amounts of sexual innuendo. "Yeah, I like them hard too," anyone? Most enjoyable (if you want to call it that) is that these vending machines are your primary source of new mini-games.

Finally, there is the Hell Cantina, which allows you to trade trinkets, play certain games together once they've been unlocked, and send a few games to people who don't have WTF and want to spend an hour capping pens for some reason. Both players need to have WTF and have to unlock the games, however, which means you are unlikely to ever spend much time in this mode, except for people who want to know about this game and happen to have their PSPs handy.

The pause menu consists of viewers that let you look at everything you've unlocked. While the other menus are crazy with varied demonic creatures making casual comments, the pause interfaces are idiosyncratically clean, presented in simple black with lines surrounding the images. It is here that you can enjoy the games, tools, and trinkets you've acquired, as well as view any titles you've received for achieving certain tasks (like properly capping 3,000 pens in one run) or achieving specific spectacular failures. In other words, this is your way of tracking just how much of the game's stuff you've acquired.

Having covered the five components of a WTF session and gone over the basics, including a direct comparison to the game that WTF tries to emulate, here's the verdict. WTF: Work Time Fun can be summarized by saying "Waste of Time, Fool." The game is pointlessness incarnated, even more than WarioWare, Inc. or Ape Escape Academy. The game revels in its slothful drain of your precious gaming time, and in spite of this (or because of it) will addict a certain small audience who likes the concept of pushing 2.5 buttons over and over and over again, with no skill, with little to keep your interest, and a theme that kind of summarizes the game by itself. The quirky presentation can hold it up for a day or two of rental, and Sony actually having the guts to make something like this, good or bad, is commendable, but it just doesn't click like Nintendo's venerable mini-game collection series does, and overall is not recommended.

Score: 5.5/10

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