Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor Review

This #anti-adventure #altgame will have you scribbling in your #trashdiary every night.

GOOD MORNING
TODAY IS BEBDAY

Today was supposed to be different. Having spent the last few days scouring the spaceport for edible trash, hopelessly lost and glitching out sideways from a desperate need to gender shift, I thought I had put a better plan together. Lstrx Tpunnt had told me that it was good luck to rub the Giant Blade of Xevereen early in the morning, and if I was going to eat this Eye of Beb tomorrow to gain access to the sewer dungeons, well, I needed all the luck I could get.

You will get lost in the spaceport of Ealdeira 9, and it’s not something you ought to fight. The game’s only map is found in the included Heavily-Scrawled Guidebook, which almost demands being printed out and scribbled over further. There’s a day/night cycle but no clock, and a basic needs system that is revealed only when necessary. All of these decisions help to suck you into the world, as you begin to navigate yourself via landmarks that start to become more recognisable over time. It’s not a game you want to rush, at all, it’s better to adjust to the calming rhythm and pace, perfectly symbolised by the diary you’re asked to fill in at the end of each day.

PRAYSTATION IX (ONLINE)
Welcome, [JANITOR]

I must have turned around twice after leaving home because the Blade remained far off in the horizon while I was stuck in the Old City Center, with only my curse for company. I incinerated a bunch of Slime (viscous and sticky!) before offloading some containers to the hawker gNormo qReyd. Then I jumped in the dungeon, hoping for credits, luck, anything. It didn’t take long to realise my mistake. I was being hunted and was not prepared.

The Space Janitor as Player Hero was a staple in certain mostly terribly dated 1980’s computer games, from Infocom’s Planetfall to Sierra’s Space Quest series, but the wild potential of such custodial roles has been barely touched upon since. Spaceport’s influences are of a thoroughly more modern bent, with writing evocative of Porpentine’s lush, lurid hypertext work and a three-frame animation style that is recognisable to most fans of thecatamites. The game is ultimately its own wonderfully idiosyncratic thing, with everything feeling hepped up on beeps and boops, neon and fuschia, till it’s hurling particle effects and distortions all over the tightest little open-world hub you’ve ever seen.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR OBEDIENCE

I’m on top of the Ziggurat now, and looking down over the majesty of the Spaceport colours. I don’t know how I ended up here, something with limbs must have dragged me back out the sewers. It could have been worse. Still, a handful of credits ain’t enough to buy any Venatiin Slimebread, so I’ll be eating trash on my way home again. I pass Doreb the Uniter and ask him to please stop littering. When I’m finally back home though, I have to hope that the trash never ends.

 

Developer: Sundae Month

Publisher: tinybuild

Platform: Windows / Mac

Release Date: September 2016