Nitrome’s latest pastel-coloured platformer welcomes you into its folds in fine life-sapping bureaucratic style, its doublespeak-riddled introductory email encouraging you to survive a trial period in the Office of Doom in order to secure that greatest of all modern rewards, a temporary contract. Office Trap sees the brilliant Flash developer in iterative, rather than inventive, mode, then. Its new game is a smart re-skinning of one of the studio’s previous delights, Knight Trap – a medieval effort which tasks you with working your way upwards through a castle rescuing maidens, and avoiding unpleasant surprises, as you go.
The new version works so well though – it is, perhaps, even more satisfying than the original – because the over-arching metaphor has suddenly become so brutally apt. After all, rising through the ranks of the organisation is the day-dream trajectory of every office career – while sudden death or some other manner of abject misfortune is, more often than not, the eventual reality.
As you navigate the deadly hallways of Corp. Inc., steadily climbing to the top of each screen, you’ll discover a simple game, but a vivid one. This is a cabinet of pixelated curiosities brought to life by an ingenious array of dangers, with everything from zombifying canisters of toxic gunk lurking in its hallways, to saw blades, sprinkler systems, and a trigger that can reduce an entire floor to blocky 8-bit visuals, making it a nightmare to safely traverse. Office Trap’s no slouch when it comes to mixing in a range of bespoke death animations, while the requirement to replay each level until you’ve choppered enough workers to safety lends a cumulative tension to even the most basic of its maps.
It gets pretty challenging pretty fast, in other words, so it’s highly unlikely that a single lunch break will be enough time to witness all of the ingenious nastiness Nitrome has in store for you. Perhaps you should do the decent thing and pull a sicky in order to see the game through to its conclusion. After all, real working life is hardly much of an improvement on the Office of Doom, and it’s highly unlikely that your genuine employer has even given you a double-jump to liven things up.