This stealth game challenges you to do murders, then vacuum up the mess

·3 min read

The first guard is a burly dude. He's standing next to a porthole in the cruise ship's dining area, which I violently pop inwards to knock him down. Then I smack him with a nearby wet floor sign while he's lying on the ground for good measure, and hide under a table before the dazed thug can get up and spot me.

Meanwhile, another guard starts approaching through the kitchen. I quickly go into hack mode, remotely ping the oven to attract him to it, then overload it to set him on fire. At the same time I hack a lazy susan on a dining room table—one of those rotating turntables for plates of food—spinning it up to an unsafe speed before launching it into the burly dude's head just as he recovers. Both guards are dealt with.

The next step is to clean the blood off the floor, which I do by sucking it up since I'm a robotic vacuum cleaner.

Justice Sucks takes the stealth assassinations of a game like Hitman and leans into their silliness. My fallback in the recent Hitman games is usually slipping emetic poison into someone's drink, waiting for them to rush to the bathroom to vomit, then drowning them in the toilet. Which is pretty grim, to be honest. In the cartoonish world of Justice Sucks I'm more likely to open a refrigerator to freeze a goon solid, then drop a ceiling fan to shatter them.

Or, since I am a roomba, I might convince a cat to ride on top of me like they do on those cute internet videos before launching said cat at someone in a dust-cloud of claws and meowing. Or I might suck up a whole cactus then fling it, or hack an automatic door to slam shut while someone's walking through it. I've got a lot of options.

Justice Sucks started as an experimental game called Roombo: First Blood, which is still available on Steam and itch.io. In that, you dealt with a crew of burglars by setting off various smart-home appliances to messily kill them, then cleaned up the mess before your owners got home. It had a kind of Home Alone vibe, if the traps Macaulay Culkin set off reduced the Wet Bandits to smears of red rather than simply giving them permanent brain damage.

There's a more high-concept story in Justice Sucks, where an evil home security corporation 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 device in case you forgot—learn to become the perfect killer. You achieve this with the help of a muscular dancing avatar of hygiene and righteousness named Sexy McClean.

Wackadoo as it sounds, this storyline does justify the power-ups you gain by completing levels and challenges. Pretty soon I can leak flammable oil, drop proximity mines, ram enemies, and summon Sexy McClean to anime-punch bad guys into orbit. To use these abilities I need blood, hoovering it up as I reduce hoodlums to stains. Fortunately whatever heavy-duty attachments I'm stocked with chomp corpses up real good, turning human bodies into lumps of meat and bone like something you'd feed a cartoon dog.

After electrocuting, immolating, and decapitating everyone in a level, it's time to clean. With the clock ticking down, I scoot all over the nightclub, airport, or office building, eradicating spills and restoring pot plants I've knocked over. One minute is plenty of time to get these bite-sized levels mostly sparkling, and an oddly pleasant way to say farewell to them. Goodbye, cruise ship. I'll always remember the time I broke a urinal to spill water all over the floor then electrocuted two bozos while they stood in it.

Justice Sucks: Tactical Vacuum Action is available on Steam and the Epic Games Store.