For those who’ve worked in an office before, let’s be completely honest with one another: it can be nerve-wracking, can’t it? To be crammed together in a tight space with your colleagues, wondering whether you should start the small-talk, or ask that zinger of a question that gets everyone talking: what do you plan to have for dinner, then? To put it bluntly: working at an office can be a challenge and The Office Type is keen to highlight that experience.
In The Office Type you play as an intern who, for better or worse, has spent their internship pretty much keeping to themself. They are awkward and introverted, but ridiculously good at their job. Even so, they haven’t made any friends and they only have a month left before their internship ends. They want to make connections with others, but find it difficult. As someone who often feels the same way in new environments and people, I could relate to wanting to reach out, but ultimately feeling too scared and anxious to make meaningful connections.
However, after completing a quick Buzzfeed-esque quiz that asks you which office equipment is your favourite (because c’mon, ball-pen is superior to all other pens) in their break, things start to get… weird. For starters, all of your equipment has seemingly vanished off the face of the earth and no amount of looking for them turns them up. What you find instead is… a group of people who you’ve never met before in the office. A group of people who, weirdly enough, feel familiar to you. It’s as if your vanished office equipment took off and reshaped a life of their own, storming into your life with the same satisfying SCHLINK of a stapler.
What’s more miraculous than your office equipment suddenly becoming human is that when you’re around them, you find yourself feeling much more willing to take chances and talk. A good thing too, as The Office Type is a romantic-comedy dating sim, and there are 24 unique characters who are eager to get to know you better so, as you might have expected, there’s going to be plenty of talking.
I learned from the demo that I was able to pick 8 different characters to find love or friendship with, though that came with its own restrictions. As the player character’s internship is nearly over, that only gives players 30 days to pick someone and fall in love with them. It sounds easy enough, but you’ve only got 3 interactions each day, meaning you’ll need to pick and choose wisely if you want to get to know three different people inside out before the 30 days end. On the other hand, you can use the 30 days to try and know everyone you picked out of your 8, a good idea if you just want to strive for making life-lasting friendships with folks.
Visiting your favourite stationery gives you the opportunity to find out a little more about them. For example, my first visit to Sylvia (who may or may not be my missing pencil) allowed me to discover that not only is she talented at her job, but she believes in a healthy work-life balance and really wants to be a comedian. While Sylvia likes to be daring, she doesn’t judge the player character for playing it safe, with their life. Because of the multiple choice dialogue options I felt like I’d barely scratched the surface with Sylvia, but it was great to establish my own character and personality, and to see how the characters around me played off that.
After speaking to your chosen character for a while, The Office Type once more exceeds my expectations by having you choose what sort of location you and your date will go to for their break. Instead of yet another talking segment though, players determine how well the conversation and break goes by playing a match-3 mini-game, where big combos will allow you to score higher and impress your date. Of course, if you’d rather just skip this section entirely then you’re able to without having to worry you’ve screwed everything up.
What I found myself really enjoying about The Office Type is that, despite only being a demo and not a full, finished product, is the clear commitment the studio has established in bringing characters from all walks of life into a mundane, transitory space and making them, and the player character, connect with one another. There are multiple queer characters, people who are trans and there’s even a character who doesn’t use pronouns at all, but none of these things make up the ‘whole’ of said character.
The ambition of The Office Type cannot be understated either. With 24 characters overall it’s impossible to get to know everyone, making it mandatory for you to replay if you want to get to know another character that catches your eye. Considering that the player has 30 days to find love or friendship, that’s a hell of a lot of time to get to know these characters. While there’s not been confirmation how long each playthrough will be, I can only imagine that there’s going to be more than enough to put 100+ hours into The Office Type if you want to. And if that’s the case? I, for one, can’t wait.