Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor is a very interesting and unique title. It’s both a 2D and 3D role-playing, exploration game. You play as an Alaenese girlbeast (one of the many made up species in the game). Her job is to clean up trash and any space waste that she finds as she wanders around the spaceport. One day she wanders into the planet’s abandoned dungeon (which has already been cleared out by previous adventurers) and ends up cursed. Now as punishment for seeking adventure, this floating skull follows her around and just yells at her from time to time.
Developer: Sundae Month
Release date: 16 Sep, 2016
The game revolves around removing the curse from your character by doing a series of tasks. Aside from that, there’s a couple of other things you can do within the game. You can continue to do your job as the spaceport’s janitor, pick up trash, talk to the locals, and at the end of your day, you can write in your diary about your experiences.
Graphics: 8 / 10
I know graphic style is very subjective, but I personally really enjoyed the game’s art direction and the style of everything in general. All the characters within the game are very different. You will see characters that are similar species to others once in awhile, though for the most part, they all have their own style and characteristics. In addition to this, the scenery and overall design of the spaceport is very beautiful. The streets, plazas and bazaars that you travel between are all very colourful and even look great during the night. There’s also a few neat structures that you’ll also come across while playing the game. I’m a huge fan of pixel-art design, and this game is chalk full of it. The game should run fine on any low-tier system, as it’s not very demanding. There are also two graphical presets for the game which are labeled as “bad” and “worse” which I found pretty funny.
Sound: 7 / 10
The game’s sound assets are pretty standard but do make game feel a lot more alive. As you travel from place to place in the spaceport, you can hear lots of different voices and people talking in foreign alien languages. There’s usually a lot of sounds happening at once, though I think that was an intentional design choice for the game. The background music for the game isn’t bad either. During the night, the music is actually quite nice, and during certain days, you’ll hear festive music playing in the background which I also found to be enjoyable. The only annoying thing I found when it came to the sound was; how the floating skull that followed you around would constantly yell in your ears every few minutes. I know it was probably another intentional design choice, as the main goal of the game is to rid yourself of the annoying skull curse, but it was still kind of bothersome, and hard to tune out.
Mechanics: 7 / 10
The mechanics of the game are very simple. You have one stat, which is luck. Luck determines what you will find as you pick up trash and other discarded goods. Sometimes you can find really cool things, but most of the time, its just plain trash. Though, it really depends on your luck. When you’re initially cursed (through story events), your luck will drop a significant amount, which is one of the reasons why you want to rid yourself from said curse.
There are so many different items you can find, and a lot of them actually have uses. If you find something nice you want to keep, you can choose to put it in your backpack, though you do have a limited amount of space. You can also store stuff in your chest at home, but that also has a limited capacity. If you find something you deem as trash, you can burn it with the incinerator that your company provides (which is always with you). After burning a certain amount of trash, your incinerator will run out of battery power, and will only recharge once you’ve gone back to your apartment, slept, and begun the next day.
As there are many stores and shops on the spaceport, you may find someone willing to pay you some credits for some of the junk that you find. The difficulty in this is that everyone buys specific things, and because there are so many shops, it’s not easy to locate the right store, this means you could be holding onto the same item for a long time, just taking up precious inventory space, while you search for the right stall. Alternatively, you could just burn everything you encounter, and at the beginning of each day, you’re paid a certain amount of credits depending on what you’ve incinerated, as well as the quantity.
There are some items that you can hold onto to increase your luck, and even offer at shrines to further increase your luck. There are nine different deities in the game, each with their own shrine that you can pray to for more luck. These shrines are scattered throughout the spaceport. At the beginning of the game you also have to choose one deity that your character will be associated with. I’m still not completely sure how this affects the game, but I assume that depending on the deity you choose, different actions will either increase or decrease your luck.
Your character will get hungry every once in awhile, and this is what you will usually be spending your credits on. Different stalls and vending machines will sell food to quell your hunger. You also will need to spend money at different instances of the game to progress in the story. There are also certain areas of the spaceport that you can only access if you have a certain amount of credits. The day ends when you decide to return to your apartment and write in your diary. When you write in your diary you literally can write anything you want, and it’s a good way to help you keep track of your progress.
Final Personal Remarks:
The game seems like it would be a very short experience if you were focused on just playing through the story as quickly as possible. Though I found exploring the spaceport and picking up trash to be surprisingly satisfying. The game doesn’t seem that deep, and if it did have more depth, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more, but for what it is, it’s entertaining. I love games with an economy system. That, mixed in with the art-style were the reasons I picked up this title. I’m not sure if this title was an experiment or not, but it was certainly very interesting and unique.
Your character wanted to be an adventurer or have a little taste of the adventurer lifestyle, and upon being cursed, that’s kind of what she got. There is no fighting enemies or dungeon exploring, but you do get the fetch quests, the looting and the “mingling with NPCs” experience. The game may not be objectively a great title (especially if you’ve read some of the other reviews) though subjectively, I think it’s a great experience, even if you just play it for a little bit.