30 Seconds to Jail Review- Cops, Drugs and PanicMay 9, 2018
30 Seconds to Jail, otherwise known as ‘Door-answering-etiquette-based-dystopia simulator’, is a simple but creative ‘collect the endings’-type point-and-click game. You are Nameless Dirtbag, who, after getting a special delivery of nondescript “drugs” from the guy featured on the neighborhood watch signs, must hide his contraband before the cops manage to turn off their body cameras and rough you up a bit.
It’s a short game entirely made by one person (Egor Magurin of Indovers Studio), but a fairly interesting one. The controls are simple and intuitive – excluding idiocy on my part, where I spent a good 10 minutes figuring out how to use an item on yourself before trying ‘e’ – with the gameplay revolving around smashing things together in the hopes that something will happen, like you’re a giant toddler playing with narcotics-based Duplo. The outcomes range from the simple – man plus window equals man-climbing-out-of-window-and-running-away – to the absurd – holy bible plus drugs plus self harm equals the second coming of Bob Marley, in translucent-floating-spirit-head form.
Because a surefire way to avoid arrest is to sacrifice yourself to the weed ghost.
The game’s art design works well for the format, and the artist uses the confined area to their advantage, putting a lot of small details into the environment to make the place look lived in. This clutter also serves as a good way to hide the objects that you can actually interact with – there’s no indication whether you’re hovering over a clickable item or not, so you’ll have to check everything. It’s worth double checking things that you’ve already clicked, too; the ‘click-boxes’ for some items are pretty small, though I suppose frantically tapping on the kitchen bin trying to find the sweet-spot 6 seconds before the police barge in really gets you into that paranoid-stoner mindset.
Sometimes the music just cut off seemingly mid-track – not that I’m complaining. From what I can tell there are only two songs on the soundtrack, so it got pretty grating after a while. One of the tracks seemed pretty out-of-place as well, but the absurdity of seeing myself cut my wrists and subsequently succumb to my wounds with a happy, poppy rhythm over the top was good for a few laughs.
♫ Dum da-dum-da-dum dum da-dum-da-dum ♫
There are 12 endings in total (the steam page claims there are 20, but the in-game menu only shows 12), and it took me a little over an hour to complete the game – partly because of the ‘e’ button mishap mentioned earlier. It’s a little buggy and unpolished, but with a price of just £2.09 (on sale for £1.88 at time of writing), it’s worth checking out if you’ve got some time to kill.