Games about performing tedious jobs range from farming to minimum wage positions, to border patrol, but none of these are scarier than working in a grocery store. Need a Packet is a horror game revolving around the premise of being a cashier at a local grocery store. I enjoyed the weirder elements in the basic gameplay and the primitive graphics but found myself confused with the story and the odd bullet hell sections scattered throughout.

Need a Packet revolves around a nameless cashier at a grocery store who is slowly losing her mind due to the tedious nature of her work. As you continue through the story, customers become more bizarre and you see archers and dragons rage battle across the cash register. I found this to be rather confusing at first because it doesn’t give a clear picture of whether this is her slipping into madness or a descent into Hell. 

Need a Packet

This game has an easy mode and normal mode. In the easy mode, you’re just scanning people’s groceries until the end of the day until you become the store manager. Normal mode is where all of the oddities happen. You will start just scanning people’s groceries, but you slowly start seeing new elements introduced, such as having to hire archers to defend the checkout, checking people’s IDs, and having to manually enter fruits and vegetables into the system. You will need to also keep track of how many packets you sell to customers because these have a huge impact on the ending you will receive. This may not seem like a lot is going on, but mix in that you have to scan as many customers as possible to gather money to pay for home furnishings, donate money to clean up the city, and heal. Need a Packet becomes a huge juggling act of figuring out which of these places you will need to prioritize. 

Another element of gameplay comes from taking the bus to work every morning where you will purchase archers, heal, and clean the packets littering the city. This section also contains a bullet hell section where you will need to survive projectiles from, boats, demons, and random flying objects. I found this section to be jarring just because of how oddly it fits in with the otherwise smooth and simple gameplay loop. 

Need a Packet

Graphically, Need a Packet is fun to look at. There’s a lot of detail in the character animations and the still frame artwork. I love how oddly the models start to act the further you progress in the story. You will also see strange things from early parts of the game floating around haunting you as you go about scanning groceries. I find this to be a strangely beautiful game, and I loved every little detail that went into its art design.

While I did have some issues with the bullet hell section and the very confusing story, Need a Packet is a fun title if you enjoy games such as Papers Please. I found the simple gameplay and resource management to work very well to create an interesting horror experience. I also found myself gawking at how good this title looks in its simplicity. I recommend this if you are someone looking for a game to kill a few hours.