There are some Japanese ideas that just won't fly on this side of the Pacific, no matter how much we might wish otherwise. Sidewalk vending machines that sell beer, f'rinstance, or vertical malls with entire floors devoted to naughty schoolgirl comics. Sucks, but what can you do?
WTF (it stands for Work Time Fun, see) might be one of those Japanese concepts that simply gets lost in translation, coming as it does from a country where long hours at thankless jobs are part of the culture. But unlike frosty curbside suds or manga porn, we’re not really missing much.
WTF’s 35 mini-games are loosely based on work - more accurately, because you're basically in hell, on the worst, most boring, repetitive kinds of work imaginable: from a bouncer flinging aside screeching concert fans to a lumberjack chopping logs (not dogs!) or a karate champ smashing cups, robots and, uh, giant floating masks. They’re all fairly simple to pick up and play, and each game has a nifty visual aesthetic to it.
Thing is, WTF does too good of a job satirizing the tedium of work. Spending 10 solid minutes sorting chicks (the baby chicken kind, not the human girl kind) into male, female and dead boxes - that's morbid, innit? - might not be your idea of fun. Some of the games end only when you can’t take it anymore, like the pen-capping assembly line or searching an infinitely large golf course for lost balls, one square foot at a time. WTF indeed.
But the game isn’t a total writeoff. Some of the mini-games can be fun to master, and there are five multiplayer challenges to unlock. You can even wirelessly “outsource” certain tasks to a friend who doesn’t have a copy of the game, then have him zap his meager earnings back to you.
There are also oddly interesting extra features, like a kitchen timer, a light (just lights up the screen, but it works) and a world clock, and the whole experience has a uniquely oddball, work-is-hell vibe to it.
But even though the game shares some DNA with gems like the WarioWare series or the trippy Katamari Damacy, WTF got the short end of the genetic stick. If you’re going to spend your free time doing something that’s ultimately pointless and repetitive, you might as well get a real job.