Job: Fearless. Ambitious. Persistent. He’s a leprechaun with one goal in life which, ironically, does not revolve around lucky charms, rainbows, or overflowing pots of gold. An evil witch has kidnapped his friend Eri and it’s your mission, as Job, to rescue her. You’ll endure different monsters and solve little puzzles in more than 30 retro-styled pixel-based platforming levels on your journey to free your friend. But how does Job the Leprechaun stack up against other platformers?
The first thing I took notice to was the game’s simplistic level design and moderately fun, catchy chiptune music. Clearing each level often didn’t reward me with a sense of self-accomplishment; each one felt sort of cheap and designed for a young child. However, competing with a time limit added a necessary and fitting stress.
Collecting all of the clovers in each level activates a door, which progresses Job to a new area. You can defeat enemies — goblins, zombies, caterpillars, knights, and bats — by whacking them with your Magic Hat. I found it quite strange how blood splattered with each successful blow. I’m not against blood or violence in video games, but it seemed like the wrong choice for this child-like game; exploding pixels would have been more appropriate. Some enemies, such as bats, hurl fireballs at you but those can be reflected back with the flick of your hat to inflict damage. But taking one hit from any one foe is enough to off you. Luckily, Job has five lives and three continues.
Randomly generated power-ups in each level somewhat offset the stale, repetitive gameplay; collect hats for free men, grab pots of gold for a short burst of invincibility, or find an hourglass to slightly pad the countdown timer. You’re not always going it alone, either. In some stages, a few of your trusty friends will provide assistance for you; an elf can launch projectiles at enemies from afar and you can bounce off the back of a cow to reach higher platforms. (The cow, so you know, sounds like a dying lamb rather than a living side of beef.)
Despite its simplistic development, Job the Leprechaun suffers from terrible, lazily implemented controls. For example, to pause the game you press the Select button; most games tend to use the Start button for this. Additionally, the analog stick on the Wii U GamePad doesn’t work. Instead, you’re forced to use the D-pad. There is no touchscreen capabilities to speak of and the game’s audio does not stream to the GamePad. Perhaps most frustrating of all was the slippery controls. For the better part of the game, it felt like I was ice skating. Try running and jumping for a suspended ladder and you’ll be shocked to learn that it’s nerve-wracking enough to rage-quit at times. I did.
There’s a boss level halfway through and a bonus stage lets you bounce and leap over enemies — as a cow — in an automatic side-scrolling level as you collect clovers for points and free men. I recall a few times when the bonus stage failed to load correctly and I was stuck in one place; it never scrolled and time eventually ran out. As somewhat of a completionist (in this case, I was a glutton for punishment), I tried and tried to finish Job the Leprechaun but ultimately caved in a few levels shy from the end. I just couldn’t withstand the constant control issues which quickly became the number one challenge in the game.
There’s not much else to say about Job the Leprechaun. It’s a simplistic platformer with poorly implemented controls and does not present itself as a worthwhile experience. As much as I wanted Job to finish the job, it just didn’t happen. In the end, this leprechaun turned out to be unlucky — his friend Eri remains imprisoned to an evil witch, and will likely remain as such for long, long time.
Job the Leprechaun is developed and published by Herrero Games. It launched in the North American Wii U eShop on September 23, 2015 for $2.99.
Review copy provided by Herrero Games