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PETER HOSKIN reviews The Last Worker and Peaky Blinders

The Last Worker (Meta Quest 2, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, PC, £15.99)

Verdict: It delivers

Rating:

Just imagine, for one crazy minute, that there was an international online shop that sequestered its workers into warehouses and had them deliver package after package after package with barely a moment’s rest.

Well, imagine no longer! This new game, The Last Worker, presents just such an improbable dystopia. You play as Kurt, who is, as the title suggests, the last human worker for a megalithic corporation called Jüngle — all of your former colleagues having long since been replaced by flying robots.

The game begins by making you perform Kurt’s day job. Accompanied by the smallest and most loquacious of those robots (he’s voiced wonderfully, with a Geordie accent, by film and TV star Jason Isaacs), you pick up packages, and deliver the good ones, and recycle the bad ones. You deliver, you recycle. You deliver, you recycle… Until, that is, a group of activists intrudes on your job and your life suddenly becomes more, well, active.

In The Last Worker you play as Kurt, who is, as the title suggests, the last human worker for a megalithic corporation called Jüngle — all of your former colleagues having long since been replaced by flying robots

In The Last Worker you play as Kurt, who is, as the title suggests, the last human worker for a megalithic corporation called Jüngle — all of your former colleagues having long since been replaced by flying robots

The game begins by making you perform Kurt’s day job. Accompanied by the smallest and most loquacious of those robots (he’s voiced wonderfully, with a Geordie accent, by film and TV star Jason Isaacs), you pick up packages, and deliver the good ones, and recycle the bad ones

The game begins by making you perform Kurt’s day job. Accompanied by the smallest and most loquacious of those robots (he’s voiced wonderfully, with a Geordie accent, by film and TV star Jason Isaacs), you pick up packages, and deliver the good ones, and recycle the bad ones

The gameplay has a nice… I can only say… solidity to it. You really feel as though you’re occupying Kurt’s body. And, consequently, you really feel what he’s doing. It means that The Last Worker is a wonderful virtual reality experience on the new PSVR2 headset, although it can be played in standard reality, too.

But, really, it’s everything else that makes The Last Worker stand out. Its muscular satire. Its moments of well-earned sentiment. Its distinctive, colourful look, conceived by one of the veterans of the Judge Dredd comics. Package up a copy for me now. And no slacking.

Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom (Meta Quest 2, Pico 4, £24.99)

Verdict: Virtual criminality

Rating: PETER HOSKIN reviews The Last Worker and Peaky Blinders

Well, if it isn’t Tommy Shelby himself. The flat-capped lord of Birmingham. The prince of Midlands crime. Let me buy you a drink, squire, and we’ll figure out how to get our hands on some proper loot… Oh, who am I kidding? Unlike everyone else in the country, I’ve never actually watched Peaky Blinders, the show that appears to have made folk antiheroes out of Shelby and his fictional 1920s gang.

So perhaps I’m at a disadvantage for this new VR game, The King’s Ransom, set in the Peakyverse — or perhaps I can see it for what it is, with greater clarity than someone whose mind is fugged up with fannish devotion. Who knows?

In any case, this strikes me as a perfectly adequate VR game. Nothing more, nothing less.

Well, if it isn’t Tommy Shelby himself. The flat-capped lord of Birmingham. The prince of Midlands crime. Let me buy you a drink, squire, and we’ll figure out how to get our hands on some proper loot

Well, if it isn’t Tommy Shelby himself. The flat-capped lord of Birmingham. The prince of Midlands crime. Let me buy you a drink, squire, and we’ll figure out how to get our hands on some proper loot

Unlike everyone else in the country, I’ve never actually watched Peaky Blinders, the show that appears to have made folk antiheroes out of Shelby and his fictional 1920s gang

Unlike everyone else in the country, I’ve never actually watched Peaky Blinders, the show that appears to have made folk antiheroes out of Shelby and his fictional 1920s gang

Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom strikes me as a perfectly adequate VR game. Nothing more, nothing less

Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom strikes me as a perfectly adequate VR game. Nothing more, nothing less

It starts with your character being recruited by Shelby to recover a briefcase containing details of British secret agents, stolen from none other than pre-war Winston Churchill. Because even crims like you care about king and country, right?

What follows is about two or three hours of wandering around period environments, occasionally manipulating items to complete straightforward puzzles, sometimes engaging in fairly static gun battles.

There are, in truth, times when The King’s Ransom elevates itself. The pub in which you share a drink and ciggie with Tommy is pleasingly dingy.

What’s more, Tommy is voiced by the actor who plays him in the series, Cillian Murphy; which — given that Murphy will next appear as Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, in Christopher Nolan’s biopic — is quite a coup.

Even so, I can’t help thinking that I’d have been more impressed if I’d previously sat through all six seasons of Peaky Blinders. If you did, then perhaps add another, hm, half-star to the rating. While adjusting your flat cap, of course.

***
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