Honestly, I could never have expected what Justice Sucks served up. Whereas I thought it might have been a The Brave Little Toaster scenario—animated, talking appliances with a lot of heart—Justice Sucks is pure chaos, luridness, and humor.
Published by tinyBuild and developed by Samurai Punk, Justice Sucks is a stealth action, angled top-down game about an unsuspecting little robot vacuum cleaner (Dusty) whose only want in the world is to clean up after his family. But when intruders invade his family’s home, Dusty must step up and become more than a cleaning appliance—he’s now a bonafide security system. His heroic acts attract the attention of FamilyCorp, whose warranty squad invades their home, takes Dusty’s family hostage, and sends Dusty flying into a TV.
Waking up, Dusty finds himself inside the TV dimension where he meets his fighting spirit, Sexy McClean. McClean shows Dusty the ways of the suck, disclosing all the skills Dusty will need to get his family back. That’s how much of the game plays out: a training montage where you’ll learn new skills and get to use them aplenty. And Dusty has a lot of skills. As a little vacuum, you’ll be able to hack surrounding technology and objects, from lamps that explode to toilets that gush water. Figuring out what each piece of tech does is half the fun. And many levels sport bizarre objects like a robotic chef that shoots fire and ice.
Dusty can also suck up objects to spit them back out at enemies. And some special items have unique consequences. Suck up a gun to shoot adversaries or a cat to scratch up and daze the enemy. Between the things you vacuum up and those you can hack, there’s a whole lot of mayhem to be had.
And the combat and sneak systems are excellent. Time slows down while you hack to give you plenty of time to make your next move. And the movement controls are easy to master, such as dash, along with the occasional skills you’ll pick up, such as ones that summon Sexy McClean to punch enemies. You’ll also be able to take advantage of your low profile to hide beneath furniture and sneak your way around levels. Considering all these mechanics, taking out your enemies can be exceptionally satisfying.
My only qualm here is the way the angled top-down is handled. It’s nice that as Dusty approaches walls, they melt away so you can see Dusty and everything around perfectly. However, because of that, doorways also disappear. So getting into the next room when you’re in a rush and can’t see the entryway can cause irritation.
While the gameplay may sound pretty tame, if just a bit whimsical, up to this point, the real shock comes with the fact that, to fuel Dusty’s skills, you have to eat on your foes. Consuming blood feeds your skill bars but also replenishes your health. Sucking up bodies, splashing blood and body parts everywhere, and then happily sucking up the mess is a shocking juxtaposition with the cute animation. But it works on top of the already over-the-top 90s TV comedy. From the dancing and music to the action and the body-builder-posturing, Justice Sucks is a lot of tongue-in-cheek. And, for the most part, I really appreciated the humor. However, some of the cutscenes, especially near the end, are just a bit too over-the-top that they border on obnoxious.
Additionally, one of the first cutscenes you get is 2D and has a hand-drawn style. However, every other cutscene after that is 3D animated. I definitely enjoyed the 2D style more, but I was mostly confused about why they switched between the two styles.
As Dusty trains, McClean adds new levels and objectives to the equation. The levels are unique, ranging from the deck of a cruise ship to the dance floor of a club and the blown-up ruins of an airport. Each level has various technologies to take advantage of while the action and sneaking change with each level and keep the game fresh. Additionally, while the main objective is often just to kill all your enemies, McClean adds new objectives as you progress. The game asks you to suck up gore on a time limit, deliver packages, break targets, and more. While the first time these objectives pop up can be exciting, you’re asked to do them each new level. But this doesn’t get tiring, only for the sole fact that Justice Sucks is really short.
There are only five, maybe six, real levels. And this isn’t necessarily a critique because it’s a game made by an indie developer. I get that. But I enjoyed the game so much that I was sad I couldn’t get more content out of it. And because of the brevity, it feels like there isn’t enough time to try out all the different skills. Sure, you could replay any of the levels and objectives and try to get better scores. But you’d be hard-pressed to score under an A even on your first try. So replaying levels doesn’t feel worth it.
Justice Sucks has some minor faults. But, overall, it provides a lot of quirky fun and 90s humor with a unique twist. I just wish it was a longer game so I could have more time with its chaotic action.
Justice Sucks is available on September 8th for PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Justice Sucks has some very minor faults. But, overall, it provides a lot of quirky fun and 90s humor with a unique twist. I just wish it was a longer game so I could have more time with its chaotic action.