Dead End Job
Developed By : Ant Workshop
Published By : Headup Games
Category : Action, Twin-Stick, Arcade
Release Date : Dec 13, 2019
The concept of a dead-end job is one that most of us are familiar with. Whether you joke about it just to make the day pass faster, or you legitimately think you’re living it, I’m sure the words have passed through your mouth at some point. So it’s no surprise when our game characters start living just the same. The only difference is, I’m sure if some of us could have one along the lines like in Dead End Job for the Nintendo Switch, we’d take it in a heartbeat.
You’ll punch in as Hector Plasm, an employee at one of the most efficient companies in paranormal pest control : Ghoul-B-Gone. Situated in a city that’s infested with the supernatural, you’ll go out to various locations to help cleanse them and free your city’s civilians who have become trapped in their workplaces.
Each shift you take on will send you all over the city, to restaurants, offices, and even parks that are dealing with the ghosties. No matter where you go, there will be a set number of floors that you will need to clear, each of which typically has two civilians in need of saving. But, you can always be a more efficient worker and clear the entire area instead of just coming to people’s rescue, that much is up to you.
The maps for the jobs are splayed out in a grid, with almost every room connected to each other. Every room is also filled with ghosts, and these will spawn all over after you enter. Fire at them with your weapon to whittle down their health, and once they are knocked out you can either suck them up in your vacuum or keep shooting and completely destroy them.
You’ll want to try and get them with your vacuum though, since doing so nets you experience that will gain you levels and allow you to gain new abilities with each level. These do things such as enhance the damage your weapon does, increase the firing rate, help it build up heat slower so you can shoot for longer, and even have your ammo randomly transform into money, because who doesn’t want more of that?
Initially in Dead End Job you will only have access to one area for work. Other areas of the city are blocked behind money walls that seem kind of crazy at first, but once you get the hang of things you should progress quite easily. Everything in this game gives you money. The ghosts you eliminate, random objects in the rooms can be destroyed for money, it literally can be found anywhere. On top of that, you earn bonuses for clearing rooms and number of ghosts eliminated after you finish each job.
The ghosts you see come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Most fill the role of just being a generic enemy that floats up from the floor. Their attacks vary from sending out projectiles to coming at you directly, or even leaving trails behind them that can slow and damage you. Most of the rooms that they spawn in can be skipped since the exits don’t get sealed off. However the rooms where there are people trapped must be cleared.
Occasionally, you will have a boss-type ghost spawn in, and these guys ramp up the challenge a little bit. They typically have attacks that are stronger and faster, and naturally health that takes longer to deplete. For the most part they will spawn either in the civilian rooms or special trap rooms that can be found on most floors, but occasionally you can have one randomly spawn on you in a “normal” room.
In addition to the main weapon and vacuum, Hector can pick up a ton of different powerups that are laying all over. These can be guns which have larger attacks (both in size and damage), temporary shields for yourself, health replenishments or extra money boosts. You only have two slots for these though, so you won’t be able to stash them for later.
Every now and then, after completing a job you’ll be treated to a small cutscene back at HQ. For the most part these just provide short humorous quips between Hector and someone else in the building, but they generally mean you’ve opened up something else to do in HQ. You can gain access to things like the Handbook which keeps track of your career progress or the Help Wanted section, the in-game mission system where strangers on the internet give you money for completing specific tasks like killing a certain amount of ghosts or clearing numbers of floors.
Dead End Job is an extremely easy game to fall in love with. The moment I got into the game for the first time, I was transported back to my childhood with the art style. In fact, if I had to pick the quickest comparison for this game, it reminded me of Ghostbusters meets Ren & Stimpy with the gameplay style of Binding of Isaac.
It’s a game that’s easy to pick up and difficult to put down. And each level is quick enough that this is the perfect game to play in either short bursts, or long sessions. The controls feel really smooth and everything looks absolutely amazing. Right away I found myself fully clearing every single room on a floor before continuing to the next or leaving. I mean hey, that’s how you get the most money right? In the end this game is a great play, and its just as fun solo as it is with a friend. So get and download your digital copy today and get to raking in that money and getting rid of some ghosts!
A code for this game was graciously provided to The Switch Effect for the intent of review.