STAFF REVIEW of Justice Sucks (Xbox One)

Wednesday, September 21, 2022.
by Peggy Doyle

Justice Sucks Box art Growing up, my mom and I would always have the fight about cleaning up my room or helping with the chores around the house. She’d often mutter the phrase “cleaning won’t kill you”. Today I’m happy to report that I have proof that cleaning (at least vacuuming) could kill you - at least in the game Justice Sucks: Tactical Vacuum Action. For ease of this review I will referring to the title as simply Justice Sucks going forward. When I first heard I was going to cover a game where you played as a Roomba, I assumed I was getting myself into a cute little story game, something akin to the Brave Little Toaster, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Justice Sucks is pure chaos and humour.

Currently there seems to be some popularity in games that involve cleaning. Pressure Wash Sim and House Flipper are both games that I, as well as friends, dropped many hours into. How would a game involving a robot vacuum stack up? Would it suck or would it sweep me off my feet?

From Samurai Punk and tinyBuild, Justice Sucks is a stealth action angled top-down game. It is the sequel to 2019’s Roomba: First Blood and has you in control of a Roomba style vacuum cleaner (aptly named Dusty McClean) out for revenge. When someone breaks into the McClean family home, he swiftly turns from friendly household vacuum bot into protection mode and kills the intruders. Killing the intruders and cleaning up the evidence draws the attention of his parent company, FamilyCorp, who banish him into another dimension through the living room TV. Dusty’s mission now is to destroy FamilyCorp and find his way back home to the McClean household. When you wake up in this alternative dimension you are paired with your fighting spirit (alter ego?) Sexy McClean. Yes, you read that right. I will not spoil the interaction between these two characters, but I literally laughed out loud.

Once you’re in this alternative dimension, defeating FamilyCorp takes on the form of working through a variety of levels and scenarios, from nightclubs and party boats to airport terminals. Each location has a story level and once completed you will unlock extra missions to do. Some of the missions are just straight forward objective to cleanup things, others involve delivering packages without getting caught, and some involve diffusing bombs. There are stealth and combat components involved in most missions. Using cover from furniture or vents to escape detection is just as important as hacking into anything electrical to injure/kill the baddies or to provide a distraction to get away. One of your major skills is, of course, sucking up items to use as projectiles. These can be small items like knives, or bigger things like chairs, plants, wet floor signs, even a cat or fish can become a projectile. In fact, shooting a cat at a bad guy results in some hysterical gameplay you’ll want the sound on for that for sure. Between things to hack or things to pick up and use, there is a lot of mayhem in here.

As you progress through levels and missions, Dusty will unlock skill that you can mix and match to create the ultimate lean, mean and clean killing machine. One skill that I found particularly handy was one where you would become invisible for a brief moment after taking damage. The allowed you a moment to get away and find a hiding spot. You can change your loadout before any mission, so if one doesn’t seem to be working for you, you can back out and try another option. I would say that stealth is more important than direct combat in Justice Sucks and finding spots to hide, like in plants or under furniture, gives you a respite to plan your next move.

You are able to see paths and vision cones from your enemies as well, so it makes your planning a bit easier too. The hacking skill is quite fun to play around with. It can cause taps to leak, door frames to collapse, toilets to explode and more, any matter of dangerous or distracting things. Dusty also gets energy from sucking up blood and chewing through the enemies. Yes, you read that correctly. The little cute robot vacuum breaks apart bodies and crunches them up for boost to energy. Think of the sound your at-home machine makes when something bigger gets sucks up and amplify that. You can almost imagine it’s grinding the bones. Thankfully, you don’t need to see or empty any bags for Dusty. I can only imagine what that might look like. Consuming blood fills up a ‘super’ bar in which you can assign three separate super skills to help.

With each level completed you are also graded. There are achievements tied into completing all missions with a certain grade or higher, so you’ll want to be careful there as well. Grading is based on a variety of things depending on the mission. Damage, speed, number of deliveries, etc. all come into play. A lot of them also require you to clean the area after disposing of the enemies as well. This is normally a timed component, so if you can, your best plan is to clean a little as you go if you are able. Cleaning as you go also helps with replenishing the blood bar mentioned above.

No level in Justice Sucks takes very long to complete and if you are skilled enough you can move through the levels quickly. There is definitely replayability in the game with the inclusion of leaderboards, both showing friends only or a global leaderboard as well. If you are competitive, you have the ability to jump in and out of levels to try to beat or maintain your position. Even if you aren’t competitive, I feel there is enough variety in Justice Sucks to keep you entertained. I am normally not a fan of stealth games and found myself enjoying this and laughing at the ridiculousness of the entire premise as I killed bad guys, ran away, and went back to chew them up and clean up my mess.

Graphics have a pure 80's and 90's retro cartoon feel. They are mostly rounded in natures and there isn’t a lot of textures in the game. I think that was what I was most drawn to. It really tapped into the 80's and 90's neon nostalgia vibe. The music was equally nostalgic. Although not directly ripped from my younger days, there were obvious nods to the songs of the time, including bands like the Backstreet Boys. Character models aren’t particularly fantastic, as seen in cutscenes, but as this is primarily a top-down game, none of that really mattered all that much to me.

Maneuvering Dusty was easy and the mechanics weren’t too difficult to understand or put into practice. The only real qualm I had in regard to graphics or gameplay was how some of the top -own was handled. It’s great that wall disappears so you can always see Dusty, but that also meant that door frames would disappear. This meant some frustration when trying to find my way out of a room as I often ran into walls multiple times trying to find exits.

While the gameplay may seem simple and you’d think it would get repetitive, I didn’t find that the case as Justice Sucks was fairly short. That isn’t a criticism, as I think if it were much longer the game mechanics might have become repetitive. I enjoyed my time, and I would have liked to have a bit more. Justice Sucks: Tactical Vacuum Action had some minor faults, but I really enjoyed my time with Dusty in his alternative universe. The writing was funny and the nostalgia definitely had me in it’s grasp, even if the cutscenes progressively become over the top. It was chaotic, nonsensical mayhem, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

**Justice Sucks was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 7.5 / 10
Gameplay: 7.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 7.5 / 10


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