How does one review Wake-Up Club for the PlayStation Vita? Not quite an application, not quite a game, how does one classify a title such as this? I have racked my brain for hours now trying to answer just this question, but I’ve finally arrived at the conclusion. You simply don’t classify it at all. Wake-Up Club is a creature all of its own. Free, fun and functional, Wake-Up Club is here to help you; help others.
Wake-Up Club is exactly as it sounds. Upon booting the unique title up you are asked to set an alarm, choose an aesthetic theme, and leave the software running as you doze off to sleep. It can be pretty anti-climactic to jump into a newly downloaded piece of software only to be told in moments that you have to wait hours to begin, but wait you must.
If you are at all like me by morning you may have completely forgotten that you have even installed Wake-Up Club, make no mistake though, you will be reminded. The alarm will begin buzzing and you’ll scramble to grab your Vita and turn the darn thing off. Here’s where the magic happens. After you activate the system to turn off the alarm, you will see yourself lumped in with 11 other users forming a group of 12. You will be competing among one another to be the day’s quickest riser.
I know what you are thinking, “there is no way I’m setting my alarm for 3:30am Brian!”, and don’t worry your safe. What being the quickest riser means is that you’ve responded the quickest to your individual alarm, not that you’ve woken up before the sun. The goal is to get you away from the ever-so tempting snooze button.
Once you are awake and fondling your beloved Vita, there’s still a bit more to do. You can compare your response time with others, muttering the words “lazy buggers” when you’ve finished first, and questioning your life when you finish last. That’s not to say that Wake-UP Club is purely competitive either, it does actually inspire a tiny bit of co-operation. While in still in the club you can also “send encouragement to others in the form of audio cues.
Moreover if none of the productivity elements appeal to you as a gamer, Wake-Up Club still has something in store for you in the form of Trophies. Yes I said it, this alarm clock has trophies. Furthermore these have to be some of the easiest trophies to “earn” on your Vita. You typically get them for just rummaging through player profiles, using the alarm for a month, or in the case of the easiest one; use it once.
Additionally I am glad to inform you that while alarm themes are offered as purchasable pieces of DLC. Perhaps it can be perceived as a bit shallow to be asked to spend real money on wallpapers but it is not essential and that is the complete extent of the F2P model. To be completely honest I was surprised at the amount of free themes that were provided, some of which are based on Playstation exclusive titles such as Journey.
Even if you don’t have access to an internet connection, Wake-Up Club has you covered. Instead of cheering on real people you will be motivating bots. Sure it’s not as social as dealing with real people but given the portable nature of the Vita it’s nice to see this included.
So what’s the catch?
Well there is one major issue; you need to run Wake-Up Club manually every single night. This may not sound as though it is much of an annoyance until you put it into perspective. My smartphone has an alarm built in; I schedule it weeks in advance and completely forget it. Until the moment the alarm goes off I am stress and worry free in regards to whether it will or will not go off. Wake-Up Club on the other hand needs to be active on your Vita to alert you. As much as I’d like to believe that I am a responsible adult who will remember a small detail like turning on an alarm, I shouldn’t have to. I am aware that these may be issues that hinge on the hardware, but it is still something that hinders the experience
Developer Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has created something quite novel by turning what could be a very solitary experience, into something communal and inclusive. You may not be blown away with tons of action or challenges but you will you will have a little fun, become a better person, and help others do the same.
What more could you ask from an alarm clock?