By: Brian Gunn
My Night Job is a title aiming for the nostalgia crowd that played side scrolling beat ’em ups in arcades. It’s a simple game that tries to accomplish a few specific goals, but it doesn’t always manage to nail them.
Like most of the games it takes inspiration from, My Night Job controls fairly simply. You have a three-button attack combo, and you can pick up a lot of random goodies to beat enemies senseless with. The biggest modern addition is a slick dash move that lets you get into and out of combat quickly.
Things can feel a bit repetitive quickly, however, as enemy swarms mean a whole lot of button mashing. Some variety in combos or more types of weapon pickups would have been nice.
Visually, My Night Job recalls any number of previous brawlers in its design, from the pixel art to the exaggerated characters. It won’t blow anyone away, but it’s very solid in general. Things do get hectic very quickly though, which can make appreciating the finer details difficult. Still, there’s fun to be had in various areas, such as when the game changes to black and white or when you recruit a ghost filmmaker that likes to frame his shots on screen.
Sound design is similarly adequate. There’s a nice eerie ambient ’80s horror movie soundtrack and satisfying sound effects when you bash something. Some enemies could use work sound wise, as when the mini-gun toting enemies rip you apart they’re oddly quiet.
In My Night Job you’ll be cast in the role of a security guard that apparently has a job guarding a mansion and its inhabitants from evil. He’s not very good at it though, as right from the start everything’s a disaster and demons, cultists, zombies and every other horrific contrivance have taken over the joint.
From there you’re tasked with two main goals. First, 100 people need to be rescued. They’ll spawn in randomly, easy pickings for the enemies, though a few do come with shotguns or axes. They’ll trail behind you as you make your way to the game’s helipads where you’ll be rewarded for the rescues in money and random power ups like extra health or a shotgun.
Your other goal is to keep the house intact. It is divided into rooms that have their own health bar to worry about, and when enough monsters are in a room they’ll start stomping the floor like the world’s worst upstairs neighbor. And so the game becomes about balancing the need to rescue people and protect floors from being destroyed. If enough fall, you’ll fail.
You can grab all sorts of random things like boxes, coat racks and more traditional weapons to kill enemies with, though far too many share the same properties, leading to them not feeling very different. This is noticeable only a few minutes into a run when there are so many enemies using anything that doesn’t have some sort of AOE damage is just asking for trouble.
And that’s really about it. There isn’t a whole lot of meat to the game, although to its credit, it is aiming for that sort of arcade style. It wants you to remember the layout of the house to perfect your routes and find the secrets. Unfortunately, the enemy count ramps up so fast it becomes a slog very quickly.
While My Night Job mostly achieves what it is going for, it’s not something many will find compelling after an hour or so. Still, the game carries a low price tag so someone looking for that arcade brawler feel may get some enjoyment out it.