The first guard is a burly guy. He’s standing next to a porthole in the cruise ship’s dining area, which I violently bounce in to knock him down. Then I hit him with a nearby wet floor sign while he’s on the ground for good measure, and hide under a table before the dazed thug can get up and spot me.
Meanwhile, another guard begins to approach through the kitchen. I quickly go into hack mode, remote ping the furnace to attract it, and overload it to set him on fire. At the same time, I hack a lazy susan on a dining table—one of those turntables for plates—and spin it up to an unsafe speed before sending it into the burly guy’s head just as he recovers. Both guards are handled.
The next step is to clean the blood from the floor, which I do by vacuuming it up since I’m a robot vacuum cleaner.
Justice Sucks takes stealth assassinations in a game like Hitman and leans into their stupidity. My fallback in recent Hitman games is usually to slip emetic poison into someone’s drink, wait for them to rush to the bathroom to throw up, and then drown them in the toilet. Which is pretty sad, to be honest. In the cartoonish world of Justice Sucks, I’m more likely to open a fridge to freeze a tough one, then drop a ceiling fan to crush them.
Or, since I’m a roomba, I can convince a cat to ride on top of me like they do in those cute internet videos before I send the cat towards someone in a dust cloud of claws and meows. Or I can suck up an entire cactus and then throw it away, or hack an automatic door to close as someone walks through it. I have many options.
Justice Sucks started out as an experimental game called Roombo: First Blood, which is still available on Steam (opens in a new tab) and itch.io (opens in a new tab). In it, you dealt with a crew of burglars by setting off various smart home devices to kill them in a messy fashion, then cleaned up the mess before your owners got home. It had a kind of Home Alone vibe, if the traps Macaulay Culkin set reduced the wet bandits to red smears instead of just giving them permanent brain damage.
There’s a more high-concept story in Justice Sucks, where a nefarious security company that sends out robbers to encourage people to pay more for their gadgets has kidnapped your owners. Most of the levels actually take place in a kind of vision quest fever dream themed around action movies and TV shows where you – a sentient robotic cleaning unit in case you’ve forgotten – learn to become the perfect killer. You achieve this with the help of a muscular, dancing avatar of hygiene and justice named Sexy McClean.
Wackadoo as it sounds, this story justifies the power you gain by completing levels and challenges. Pretty soon I can be leaking flammable oil, dropping proximity mines, ramming enemies and summoning Sexy McClean to anime-punch the baddies into orbit. To use these abilities, I need blood, and collect it as I reduce hoodlums to blobs. Fortunately, whatever heavy implements I’m filled with chomp corpses turn out really well, turning human bodies into lumps of flesh and bone like something you’d feed a cartoon dog.
After electrocuting, immolating and decapitating everyone in a level, it’s time to clean up. As the clock ticks down, I dash across the nightclub, airport or office building, cleaning up spills and restoring potted plants I’ve knocked over. One minute is plenty of time to get these bite-sized levels mostly sparkling, and a strangely pleasant way to say goodbye to them. Farewell, cruise ship. I’ll always remember the time I smashed a urinal to spill water all over the floor and then electrocuted two bozos while they were standing in it.
Justice Sucks: Tactical Vacuum Action is available on Steam (opens in a new tab) and the Epic Games Store (opens in a new tab).