Justice Sucks review

In 2021, Samurai Punk released Roombo: First Blood – a short experimental game starring a bloodthirsty robot vacuum protecting a family home from burglars. You’d think such a simple concept wouldn’t have much scope for expansion, yet here we are – Justice Suck is essentially Roombo: First Blood Part II, having seemingly spent the last year bulking up at the gym.

The concept remains the same: you play as Dusty – a robot vacuum with large, animated, eyes, able to hack household objects to keep burglars at bay before inhaling their chopped-up body parts. Yes, our star is still bloodthirsty. Sexy McClean dwells inside Dusty – a fighting spirit, dressed in tight trunks, able body slam anybody who dares threaten their family. Together they take on bite-sized ranked challenges, thwarting intruders’ plans and avoiding the grasp of the corporation out to recall our trusty crumb sucker.

Hacking is the central theme. Enemies patrol the various locations present – varying from a nightclub to an airport lounge – and it’s your job to hack nearby objects as they walk past. Ceiling fans and drones crush anyone below, ovens incinerate, freezers…freeze, electrical devices send out electric shocks, and gas canisters explode. Each well-timed hack drains their health bar, with around three hits required to end a goon’s criminal career.

There’s potential for setting up combos, such as creating a wet surface and then dropping a light fixing nearby. Higher scores award a better final rank – obtaining an unbroken run of ‘S Ranks’ is more or less the ultimate goal.

Dusty can only withstand a couple of hits, so it’s vital to remain hidden under furniture and avoid line of sight. The map screen shows enemy locations, while hacking brings up a display that shows damage radiuses etc. Even within more elaborate challenge types, there are no checkpoints – one shot is all you get. Simpler missions can be easily beaten on the first attempt, while the longer, more involving, stealth missions may call for a few retries.

The variety within missions is one of Justice Suck’s biggest strengths. Every location has several mission types to complete, which can be tackled in any order, including hostage rescue, parcel delivery, target shooting, bomb disposal, and aftermath cleaning. Each requires slightly different tactics: in the cleaning stages it’s vital to make good use of speed boost pads, target shooting missions have tight time limits with little leeway for error, while parcel delivery calls for memorisation.

It’s the invasion missions that are the most engaging, usually lasting around ten minutes. If an enemy manages to steal valuables, it’s a case of snatching them back before they can reach the exit – an idea that helps induce a sense of urgency, especially when two enemies are making a beeline to the nearest doorway.

New perks and upgrades unlock regularly, and some mission types can be made easier by mulling over the perk selection. Perks are tiered, and one from each tier can be selected. Some are passive, such as making Dusty harder to spot, while others simply grant Sexy McClean new heavy-hitting attacks.

We managed to reach the story’s end after around 3 hours of play, but it so transpires that Dusty’s work is far from done. After the ending credits roll, dozens of new challenges are added to each map, and consequently, more unlockable perks become available. This provides significant replay value, although it does mean that you’re revisiting past areas – a couple of extra maps may have helped add variety, especially when most are fairly small and soon explored fully.

The comical tone, vibrant visuals, stylish presentation, and vast range of mission objectives make this a fun experience – one that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Some pleasingly daft achievements are the icing on the cake; a cake that’s certainly of the bite-sized variety.

Justice Sucks is out 8th September on all formats. Published by tinyBuild.