Hector Plasm, a brute of a character who may not be very smart but makes up for it in sheer bravery (that’s what we’ll call him), works late, capturing ghosts and rescuing civilians. The idea of Dead end job looks a lot like ghost hunters franchise. You damage an enemy enough to put them in a weakened state, then capture them using a void of some sort. The goal isn’t really to save people or even to be a hero. Instead, it’s set up as a business to make money. You take on “request help” ads as side quests and as you earn money you’ll open up new areas that have new types of ghost enemies to fight. You earn a lot of cash bonuses based on time spent, items collected, enemies captured, and you can just find dollar bills in missions. It’s kind of a dungeon-dipping twin-stick shooter that uses controller triggers. If this sounds like the job for you, no interview will be necessary! You start now.
Here’s what I liked:
I’m not afraid of any ghost – So I’m afraid of all the ghosts? While you won’t find the Marshmallow Man or a cool station wagon to drive, you’ll definitely feel like you’re a ghost hunter. There are even slimy dogs! At first, when I was playing, I thought it was a bit too easy. But as I continued, I realized there were chaotic rooms where I would be killed. There’s a chemistry that ghosts have that seems to work well. You will come across different classes that complement each other. For example, the slimy dog I mentioned leaves behind a trail of purple slime that significantly slows you down when walking through it. If you get caught in there, it’s hard to dodge incoming ectoplasmic bullets flying in your direction. Or maybe you’re hiding behind a desk safe from bullets and a charging enemy is rushing at you. These enemies are never difficult one-on-one, but when you face them at the same time, they can require you to strategize to take out first. There is also a really cool look for the enemies. They have that neon look that almost radiates with a glow, but still has transparency. Ghosts are not just human forms. These can be ice cream cones, drops and saw blades. I guess they are possessed. These enemies aren’t scary at all and you’ll have fun blasting them.
Progress – What makes you keep playing a game? For me, it’s having a lot of things to do and records to prove that I’ve accomplished them. So I was glad to know that there was a book at head office that would let you know just about everything you did. It tells you how many tasks you’ve completed, playing time, and just a bunch of other stats. I especially like these recordings because they help me keep track of my accomplishments to some extent (yet another way to prove my accomplishments). Funny thing is nobody really knows I’ve done this stuff, it’s not like there’s a ranking I can brag about. It’s just in my head that I did something with my life during those hours when I played. Alright, back to the game. In this stats manual, you can see all the ghosts you’ve captured. There are smooth animations and information about them as well as how many people you have brought to justice. It’s a nice break to leaf through the book. You can even unlock items in a concept gallery that shows you early designs and ideas. It is really awesome.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Confusion of Objects — There are a ton of different items you can collect and try to use to help out. You can eat various snacks, get bonuses and even use different weapons for a short time. The main problem is that you almost never know what will happen when you use them. Scissors, for example, I used a handful of times and all that did was hurt me. So when I realize I picked one up, I get a little annoyed. He takes one of two items you can hold at the same time and there is no way to drop the item when you find a new one. Say, for example, I find a nice machine gun on the ground but I have a pizza and an apple. I can’t do anything with the gun. I have to go hurt myself on purpose so I can use the food to free up a spot. I think “Hey, why am I stupid about this? I’m just going to go to the manual where it lists all the stuff you used” so I can learn what they do. I was wrong; instead of useful information about these elements, it attempts to be funny. “Don’t run with scissors, kids.” What? Is it a riddle!? Am I supposed to stand still while using them and see what happens? I will definitely not take the scissors again. So yeah, some of the articles are pretty cool, but I just want to know what the (enter an explicit word here) do with them.
I had never heard of this game, even though it came out a few years before this review. But with Halloween on the way at the time of writing, it seemed like a good time to give it a try. I liked the simplicity which could still be difficult at times, without being hugely frustrating. It can be calm and hectic at the same time. I really enjoyed the artistic approach, especially the appearance of the ghosts. Leveling up (getting promoted) over and over again was always exciting. My biggest concern is how the items are used. Not being able to drop them is a problem, but even more so, I don’t know what most of them really do (without the help of the game manual that covers them). It’s too random for my taste and besides using them all once, only the healing items make a real difference. Somehow the game doesn’t get boring even repeating the same levels (because they’re never actually the same, they’re random). If you’re looking for the usual horror games for Halloween, this won’t give you that craving. However, if you’d rather just have fun in the spirit of ghosts, you can at least play that on the side.
Goal: Highly recommended
Dead End Job was published by Headup GmbH and developed by Ant Workshop Ltd. on Xbox One. It was released on December 13, 2019 for $16.99. A copy has been provided for review.