My Night Job, by indie developers Webcore Games, is a quirky action/puzzle arcade game that has players infiltrate a colorful, monster-filled house and rescue survivors, all the while trying to keep the fiends from bringing it all down. But is this simple 2D beat-em-up actioner good enough to warrant a purchase?
My Night Job
Developed by Philip Mangione and Bruno Speranzoni / Produced by Webcore Games / Published by bitComposer Interactive GmbH
Available on the PC and PS4. Reviewed on the PS4.
*Review code provided by bitComposer
The setup of My Night Job is simple: a regular couch potato need a job and sees the military on the TV, and decides he wants to join in order to fund a vacation. He ends up however being turned into a one-man army that must take on supernatural forces. The intro is pretty much all that there is to the plot, and it’s not like the game needs one, as it’s all about the old-school arcade action.
The game is simple to pick up and play, but it’s pretty challenging. A side-scrolling 2D brawler, players take control of the agent as he explores the large, multi-roomed mansion and takes on the forces of the undead. Players are equipped with a standard attack combo, a jump, a dash to get out of sticky situations, and the ability to pick up weapons from the background, allowing them to deal more damage to monsters, but these do degrade after use, so players must constantly be switching up weapons and must mind the durability of weapons if they want to easily take out enemies.
The main objective of the game is to successfully extract one hundred survivors, and it’s harder than it sounds. The house is divided into multiple floors, and the survivors are randomly strewn about, being attacked by vicious zombies and other horrible creatures. Players have to enter the rooms and run past them to pick them up, and then guide them towards extraction points found on the ends of the house in order to save them, which in turn reward points, health, and special weapons like firearms.
The problem however, is that with each second that passes, more monsters begin to invade the house, and too much monsters in a room will put it into a danger state. If left unattended for too long, the monsters will permanently destroy the room and any living survivors in it. The house could only deal with up to four destroyed rooms, so losing one more means instant game over. That means that players have to rush through the mansion as they go about saving survivors in order to extract them and clearing rooms in order to keep the monster level low, making it quite a tense and enjoyable experience.
Then there’s also the fact that players have to deal with other factors, like health, which players can only regain randomly through saving survivors, and enemies will slowly whittle it down as you engage in combat. Dashing is a good option to avoid conflicts, but players need to preserve health if they want to save victims and clear ever growing monster crowds in time.
Players do have some help though when it comes to taking on the legions of evil. Some victims actually wield weapons, and will help take down enemies in the immediate area, though they’ll take some damage, so you should be careful on relying on them too much or they can die on you. Then some special victims, most of which are found by searching the environment instead of walking past them, will grant the player special abilities and buffs when saved. A nurse will grant the player an extra life, a clown will allow the player to transform into a vicious, powerful killer clown, an old lady will lend the player her cat, which will clear the screen of enemies, and more, evening the odds a bit.
Now, despite the game being pretty repetitive, due to all the action taking place in one house with the same rooms, the action is fast and fun, and it’s a perfect game for high-score gaming. But at the same time, it terrible that it’s only one stage and there’s not much to do here. Some variety, like new stages, would have definitively been a nice and appreciated touch. Still though, it’s a fun and challenging time.
One issue I did have with the game was with the hit detection, which makes it hard to cleanly hit enemies if you’re too close. Being in close proximity can often lead to players missing attacks altogether, so players have to get some distance from enemies to actually land blows. It’s a minor problem, but it’s critical when you have low health and are swarmed with enemies, and can lead to an early game over even if you have the jump on the monsters.
Overall, My Night Job is a fun, fast and addictive little indie game that’ll have you racing as you seek to save lives and smash the undead in the face. While there’s a real lack of variety in gameplay, it’s a neat and exciting title that’ll have players coming back often to top their scores.