WTF Preview - Fun in the Workplace

D3 shows us a new English build of the utterly strange collection of work-related minigames formerly known as Baito Hell 2000.

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WTF: Work Time Fun
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Only in Japan could you find a game as delightfully bizarre as Baito Hell 2000, the PlayStation Portable "work simulator" that's really a droll collection of wonderfully pointless minigames wrapped up in a gleefully referential and self-aware visual presentation. It's even more mind-boggling that the game was developed internally by Sony--you'd expect to see something like this from a small, offbeat third party. Sony may not have been interested in bringing Baito Hell to the States, but thankfully D3 has stepped in to scoop up the game and unleash it on American shelves. We just got an exclusive look at the new localized version of Baito Hell to see what parts of this may be changing before it hits this side of the Pacific.

Aside from the name, it looks like what will be changing is just about nothing. D3 has renamed the game to WTF, which purportedly stands for Work Time Fun--but you can probably guess what WTF actually (and more appropriately) means. And of course, all of the Japanese text and speech in the game has been translated to English. It looks like D3's localizers have taken some liberties with their translations, as some of the games now sport fairly amusing English titles such as "Run Like Heck." In case you're wondering, yeah, the ramen timer has been dubbed in English--but before you get all up in arms, it has a pretty funny kung fu move sort of feel to it now, so we're happy with the change there.

This is one game that certainly lives up to its name.
This is one game that certainly lives up to its name.

If you've never seen the Baito Hell import in action, you might have to watch our new gameplay movies to even get a sense of how this incredibly strange game works, but we'll try to explain. You pick a bunch of minigames from a list that grows as you keep playing, and each minigame has you performing a job or task of some sort. From chopping wood to performing contract killings to trying to get a girl's phone number, WTF ostensibly has it all. Much like in the WarioWare games, all of WTF's minigames can be played with only a simple combination of one or two buttons and the D pad, though they last significantly longer than the three or four seconds in that series.

What makes all this better is that every minigame in WTF has its own style going on, and most of them refer back to some kind of obvious source material. The Lumberjack game, for instance, has 8-bit-style pixelated 2D graphics. The sniper game has a real Golgo 13 thing happening with the title screen. The one rhythm game features artwork similar to any number of the legion of shady "hentai" anime games that are generally available only in Japan. The list goes on and on, but the point is, we were delighted every time we fired up a new game to see what creative combination of visual style and game mechanics the designers would offer us.

There are 35 single-player games, and you can play five of them as multiplayer. You'll receive a paycheck after each game that's prorated based on your performance (you get paid in dollars now, rather than yen), and you use that currency to unlock more of the games. Aside from accessing the main games, you can collect up to 450 trinkets that are awarded randomly from a coin-op machine. Well, you can actually have more than that, since you're able to double or triple up on ones you already have.

The art style is different in practically every single minigame.
The art style is different in practically every single minigame.

Then, you can connect wirelessly to a friend and trade your extra trinkets for ones you don't already have. Speaking of Wi-Fi, one thing the US version of WTF will lack is the online leaderboard reporting of the Japanese game. But then, since some industrious individuals have employed radical technology of their own to artificially boost their job performance, it's not necessarily a bad thing.

Work Time Fun is just as wacky and endearing now as it was when it was Baito Hell 2000, so D3 should be commended for keeping as much of this unlikely game intact as it has. We're looking forward to getting our hands on a final copy when it's released in late September, so keep an eye out for a review then.

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