New iPhone game Death Job is dead-on-arrival

Mar 31, 2011

As far as 2D side scrolling games go, DeathJob stands out for its creativity, but has several issues holding it back from reaching its true potential. The game has a great premise and artwork, but several technical problems and a few design flaws keep it from being great.

The premise is that you are the Grim Reaper, or rather, one of many, as there are several reapers all working out of an office building. Your job as Death is to chase down people to force them into an early “retirement.” All of the people you chase down are amusing caricatures of celebrities or fictional characters, ranging from Michael Jackson to Agent Smith from The Matrix.

The gameplay is simple. You chase your target from left to right while they hurl random objects related to their character (Michael Jackson throws Grammy Awards) towards you in an effort to stop you. You can tap the left side of the screen to jump and the right side of the screen to attack, which are used to dodge or to push through the thrown obstacles.

Here’s where the trouble begins. They never once explain the controls in the actual game. It is explained on the App Store page, but you can’t be expected to read that. The ‘About’ screen is also broken and nearly unreadable. As for the gameplay, the collision is really wonky.

Often times you’ll be stopped when you could swear you attacked at the right time. Also, when you attack an item, you often knock it to the right, off the screen. Unfortunately, this can lead to objects stacking up and becoming really hard to dodge. I feel it would have been easier to have items disappear when hit.

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Each level was either somewhat difficult, or easily beaten in ten seconds. To top it all off, the game crashes like it’s in a demolition derby. I couldn’t get past the final level without it crashing, and my progress would be lost every time. Finally, after several crashes, the game won’t even load at all.

That being said, the art is colorful and stands out, and the game has a certain charm. However, it’s lacking on the programming side of things, and I have to take points off for it, sending this game into early “retirement.”

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