July 19, 2011 1:15 PM | Cassandra Khaw
I think I died a little on the inside the moment I hired my first child worker. No, not THAT kind of child worker - I'm talking about the wide-eyed kind that are often said to slave away in the dank, dark confines of a sweatshop factory somewhere in a third world country.
Sweatshop is basically a tower defence slash management game with a potentially heavy message. It makes no attempts to disguise the developers' concern for the welfare of real-life sweatshop workers.. As Trainee Manager of the factory, you don't have a voice. However, your boss does. Loud, deeply unpleasant, occasionally sexual but somehow entertaining, he doesn't so much give you instructions as he does beat objectives into you.
He's a simple man, though. All he wants you to do is help him help the factory make clothes and hats. Unfortunately, this can happen at the expense of your workers. From dehydration to death, the risks can seem endless.
Sweatshop can also be uncomfortable to play. Like it was stated in Rock, Paper Shotgun (Shout-out to the awesome source right here!), the genius behind Sweatshop is the fact that it plays on a gamer's need to be efficient. Eventually, you do find yourself trying to push the game's plodding pace along and this, in turns, means making your unfortunate peons slave harder.
As a game, it breaks no grounds. However, it's a surprisingly good medium for the delivery of its message. I definitely urge you to check it out but be careful it doesn't leave you depressed for the rest of the day.