Working Hard Collection Review

You could probably tell a lot about someone by which game in the Working Hard Collection they prefer. This is a compendium of  two games with the same basic building blocks. The first is Blessed Work, and it’s got a hint of Lemmings as you plop down a limited number of constructions in order to get your workers to an exit without them carking it. It’s more intricate, slightly more complicated, and the focus is on helping people.

The second game in the compendium is Doom Work, and while it looks a lot like Blessed Work, the aim is very different. You don’t have any pieces to put down: instead, you’re tinkering with the world so that you can kill your workers as soon as humanly possible. It’s simpler, more brutal and the focus is very much not on helping people. 

We’re ashamed to say that we’re very much on Team Doom Work. And we think the devs are on that team too; they’ve put it as the first game on the menu, which is basically an admission, right? We’re not terrible people, right?

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It’s all about Working Hard in this Collection

Assuming that most people will try Doom Work first, we’ll cover it before Blessed Work. In Doom Work, you’re given a single-screen construction site. On that site will be a few blobby workers in their construction hats, and pressing Y will get them walking automatically in the direction they’re facing. You don’t get to control these little dudes – they are very much NPCs that are in your care.

Except, of course, you don’t care. Your job in Doom Work is to move a little cursor around the screen and activate things. Lifts can be moved up and down with a poke of a switch. Conveyor belts are switched back and forth in a similar manner, and you can open pits and turn on portal-doors. These are your tools for setting up death-traps for the workers in your care. 

Elevators become multi-use killing machines. You can lift your charges up to a platform where there are no walls to protect them, and they swan-dive to their doom. Or you can let one fall into the bottom of the elevator and blissfully drop it on their heads. This latter method had our biggest death-count of everything in the game. All the other level ingredients have similar amounts of versatility. You can use pits to drop blocks on heads or fling workers to their doom. Conveyor belts can bring spikes down to place in front of them, or fling them off into space. 

Having spent countless hours helping people in these kinds of games, getting them to exits with the minimum number of deaths, it feels refreshing to impale them on spikes for once. It’s cathartic. And Doom Work manages to make death a difficult thing to achieve. The levels are often locked-in, with only a single spike block tempting you in a distant corner of the level. It’s pretty darn hard to kill the people who are your responsibility. 

The puzzles are simple but well designed. The controls are obviously built for touchscreen or mouse, but work decently for console. And the sociopathic joy in killing people is delicious. All-in-all, Doom Work is great fun, and the fifty levels flew by. 

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Or killing people. Your call.

Issues? There’s really only two. We often found ourselves cheesing levels, because it’s possible to kill your workers in ways that the designers didn’t want. We often finished a level that contained trampolines and switches that we were blatantly meant to use, but we ended up squishing everyone with the brilliantly versatile lifts. As soon as one was in play, we knew we had a deathtrap waiting to be sprung. The other issue is that it’s incredibly hard to tell which way the conveyor belts are turning.

Back to the menu of the Working Hard Collection we go, as it’s time to judge Blessed Work. This is the far more familiar Lemmings-like game, and there are fewer opportunities to splatter people. 

A game screen looks much like Doom Work. You have a single screen with automated workers ready to start walking as soon as you press the Y button. But this time, your cursor is used to drop down crates, trampolines, super-blocking blocks and ladders. You create a viable path through the level, and watch with selfless glee as your little guys wander into the lift and leave. 

Often this means changing stuff in real-time, as you have a limited number of each item. A crate that you were using to hem in a worker will suddenly be needed as a bridge in the lower parts of the level, so you’re switching things up at speed. In Doom Work this wasn’t much of a thing, as accidents were often beneficial – you wanted them falling into pits and spikes. In Blessed Work, you’ve got to be more careful to manage everyone. 

Which is, as it happens, the reason we don’t like Blessed Work quite as much. It’s more finicky, a little bit fiddly. There are more ways to fail, and – let’s be honest – it’s just so much more fun and unusual to be sending people to their deaths. Perhaps we’re the bad guys after all?

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What. Could. Go. Wrong.

Blessed Work also has a bit of guesswork involved which, again, makes things a touch less satisfying. You’re often guessing whether a trampoline is in the right placement to reach a certain platform. Other times, you are wondering at what angle a worker will fall to avoid some spikes, or hit a series of trampolines just right. This leads to trial and error, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but certainly less immediate, and more prone to failure. 

All in all, the Working Hard Collection is something of a success. It’s a generous bundle of two games, fifty levels in each, for less than a fiver. It’s two flavours of one game, but the flavours are distinctive enough that one of them will tickle your tastebuds more than the other. And the concept is original, the levels well designed, making it a guilt-free recommendation. Just start with Doom Work first.



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