Sawbuck Gamer

Occupational Hazard

Off To Work We Go finds meaning in menial labor.

By Matt Kodner • July 25, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

There have always been debates over the best set of items to have when you’re stranded on a desert island. Somewhere, someone has thought up the perfect combination of essentials to stave off the kind of craziness that tears you apart for killing your only friend, who is a volleyball. However, Bart Bonte is not concerned with finding such a combination. His minimalist puzzle game, Off To Work We Go, plops you on a island with a handful of inanimate, half-buried Space Invaders aliens and a foreboding work facility to explore. There are no volleyballs.

Once you’re inside the building, the only way to get from room to room is to solve a series of simple puzzles. You stand on a button, wait for a scrambled picture of a Space Invaders alien to assemble itself, and move on. It’s a rote game but purposefully so. In the description, Bonte asks if the game is “a strange dream or corporate reality.” It’s an obtuse declaration until you make it to the game’s strange and satisfying end. Though it might not seem it at first, Off To Work We Go is a striking work of playable criticism that doesn’t take too long to get its point across. It’s not exactly a desert island game, but if you’re reading this, you probably don’t need one.

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4 Responses to “Occupational Hazard”

  1. DrFlimFlam says:

    This seems like a game I should play on my day off, not after 9 hours of numbing work.

  2. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

       I guess it was a simple matter of time before the pendulum swing of gamification brought us to the workification of games.

  3. TheIdiotEnd says:

    I liked this one a lot. The perfect length for something like this, too, I think.