The Company Man
Have you have ever put your nose to the grindstone and worked a 9-5 job? Then you know the struggle of our protagonist, Jim. Daydreaming of becoming CEO of the company, Jim is rudely awakened from his daydream and told he needs to pick up his "Keysword" and fight.
The Company Man is a classic action platforming game based around climbing your way up the corporate ladder. Quick-witted office puns shine through as you traverse the treacherous floors of the company. If you have ever worked the corporate office job, you'll know most if not all of the enemies you must "fire" to rise to the top. While progressing through the game, you'll meet some of these "co-workers." Most notable is a receptionist who breathes fire-kind of like Customer Service with bad breath. The wordplay here is quite genius.
While you are "firing" everyone who stands in your way, you'll collect a salary. You can use that salary to upgrade your kit to help you battle the managers that await your arrival. The shop is on the bottom floor, and you return after each boss fight. In the form of an "over-priced coffee shop." While you're in the trenches, you'll find checkpoints along the way dressed as coffee pots; as you take a swig of a cup of joe, you will heal yourself.
After a boss fight, you'll unlock a new skill. The first skill acquired made me chuckle: "A strongly worded email." You shoot a blue streak out of your "keysword." You'll continue to unlock different skills as you continue to beat managers, each with a clever name and use of their own.
The level design is pretty average, though the art is pleasing to look at. There isn't any wasted space, and everything seems to have a purpose. It left me wanting more, though, as it does repeat the same assets with a different skin. The enemies on the first floor seemed to be the same enemies on the third floor.
My favorite part of the whole game is the level scheme, though each level is represented as a "floor" in the building. Once you beat a "floor" and head to the next one, you get an access card that allows you to continue through the game. It seemed like The Company Man did want to have a sort of biome for each floor. For example, the 3rd floor was a tundra, while the 5th floor was an overgrown jungle.
The story is interesting? As you are just a regular employee trying to climb the corporate ladder, you find out secrets about the company. On the outside, everything seems innocent enough. You work for a bottled water distributor. Seems simple enough, right? Well, you'll find out it's not what it seems. The water your company has been selling is recycled toilet water. I don't want to give away any spoilers or anything, so that's as far as I'll go into the story. Just know it has a plot twist, which was very unexpected.
The Company Man does an okay job at being what it is, a platformer. There isn't anything crazy special about it, but there wasn't anything awful about it either. It was "meh." While the dry humor and office puns shine through an otherwise dim game, it brings me back to playing a Metroidvania-style flash game clones in middle school. Everything it does, something already does it. It has excellent wordplay throughout, and the office puns were great, but obviously, that is not enough to carry the weight of the whole game. However, one part of the game did get a big laugh out of me. It was the 3rd floor which is the frozen level. When Jim walks out of the elevator, he brings up how cold it is and say's, "this must be where we freeze the assets." Which I thought was pretty funny.