Developer: Tiltfactor Lab, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
This game possesses the same mechanics as the popular Facebook phenomenon, the Candy Crush Saga, where you aim to align at least three sets of similar components in a row in order to score, except the scrumptious visuals are replaced with icons of a variety of employees about to get laid off. I attempted to score as much as I could during the first few rounds, however as the game progressed, immovable businessmen start to turn up in the game which prevents me from earning as much as I wanted. The less moves there were to make, the bigger the urge I got to actually start reading each workers’ backstories. The more I read, the less I played, as the game made me think twice about which characters to send to the Unemployment office. Although this was all part of the message, I couldn’t help but get bored.
Lay-Off is not so much a strategic puzzle game that involves scoring your highest just like how it started out to be, because the amount of points you gain is proportional to the amount of $$ businessmen get to save when they strip their employees off their jobs, which, I must say, is pretty cold. And that’s what Lay-Off is – a game that tests its players’ empathy skills.