GAMING: Job Lozenge

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Job Lozenge is a lo-fi employment simulator released on December 8, 2014 by Taylor Bai-Woo.

Congratulation! You have been hired for the position of CRATE DISPLACER. Due to the large influx of CRATES in the LOCATION, the job of CRATE DISPLACER has become essential. Work hard at your job and do not leave the premisessssseSmOÛ0þ¼þŠ[¤M‚˜ò*×[¡D P±L÷Ú˜%v°X÷ëwNÃËF$çìóÝã»çîøûéõYv;ŸÁEv™ÂüÇišœA´ÃX2˾16ͦ››½x—±ÙU$<œƒ˜M¦$²$Kgâï[tfÖËÙSTRING ERROR

After the jump, we’¼ç׎·¶ur opinion on Job Lozenge FATAL ERROR

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Job Lozenge isn’t a very long game, but it’s based around one primary concept: your job. You are hired as a “crate displacer”, a job where your one and only task is to push crates off the side of a cliff. You’re lead around by your boss, a massive octahedron with a single eye, who will helpfully order you around and keep you from falling off the infinite ledge that you push boxes off of – and keep you from leaving the premises. You’re trapped inside a walled-off section of a larger area, and you are not allowed to leave under any circumstances. After you complete your job, you retire to an on-site apartment provided to you to face another day of lugging crates around.

We spent about six in-game days hauling boxes, wondering when the game was going to start. Job Lozenge doesn’t point you towards doing anything but your job, dutifully shoving crate after crate off the infinite cliff into the void. Eventually, you might get bored enough to hang around after night falls, when your boss departs for the evening. This is where the real intrigue of the game starts, as you can stack boxes (which occasionally fall from the sky during the night – that explains the constant need to get rid of them, we guess) to climb out of the encampment.

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Once out of the camp, there isn’t much else to do but wander the tiny grassland around it. One important thing catches your eye: four slots embedded in the north corner. Hidden around the map are also four triangular objects, which slide into those slots. They’re hidden pretty cleverly: two are laying around in plain (although difficult to get to) sight, but the other two are off the normal constraints of the map. The game ends once you’ve collected all four objects and inserted them into the slot.

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The ending itself is a bit of a non-sequitur, which makes sense if you really think about it, but still left us scratching our heads. A factor in this is that the credits are so amazingly large that they do not render completely on the screen. This was on purpose, but was just weird enough that we did a double-take and wondered if we had broke something (especially because as the credits began, we managed to dislodge a key out of its slot).

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After the fact…

Job Lozenge‘s most prominent feature is its unique Game Boy-esque aesthetic. The only colors used in its pallet are two shades of green, purple, and white; everything is rendered at a very low resolution to imitate the limited visuals of the Game Boy.

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It’s a bold look and very well executed, but this lead to some parsing issues when we had trouble discerning objects on the screen. From a distance, the plants across the yard are the same square shape and color as the boxes, a character at the end of the game is the same color as the sky, and the protagonist is the same color as the night-time grass.
Oddly enough, your boss is a spectacular exception, being very sharply designed and easy to read with a dark outline that distinguishes them against all backgrounds.

That’s where our accessibility concerns end. Only one of the puzzles gave us a brief stumble, and it felt obvious in retrospect. All the text is clearly printed and there are no prominent audio cues. With Unity’s collision issues, it takes some motor skills to position and climb on the crates, but it’s not a huge concern.

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It’s worth acknowledging that the game is very short. It’s an extremely well-done game that clearly had an enormous amount of effort put into it, but we beat the game in a little over half an hour. Make sure you know what you’re in for before you buy – it’s worth the money, in our opinion, but most of its value is in its aesthetic attributes rather than gameplay.

4 out of 5 – Worth Buying
Job Lozenge is a game that displays a lot of potential, but its very short length is its primary stumbling point. The art is solid, the world quirky and amusing, and even the characters interesting. It’s such a short game with such a vibrant world, we wished there was a whole universe of Job Lozenges we could digest.

It isn’t a bad game – in fact, we adored it. It was amusing and fun, with a wonderful art style. If it weren’t for the flaws we saw with it, it would’ve been a 5 out of 5. Unfortunately, we felt that it was too short. Bai-Woo’s games are always solid little treats, and this was just as its namesake suggest: a little lozenge to savor for a short time.

Job Lozenge can be purchased for $5.00 on itch.io.

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