The Company Man review: Eliminating the middle man has never been more literal

Leoful /

Title: The Company Man
Developer: Forust
Publisher: Leoful
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: January 21, 2022

I’ve been eager to play The Company Man because it looked like a Mega Man-inspired platformer with a ridiculous amount of word puns. As both of those equate to my bread and butter, I was hyped. Now that I’ve played and beaten it I not only realized that that was exactly what I got but also that there could have been so much more.

In The Company Man you play as a character named Jim. It won’t be the only nod to the office, especially as the first boss looks very much like Dwight, and your character falls for the receptionist. But let’s ignore that because Jim, in my eyes, was the antagonist of The Office. But I’m not about to get into that right now.

In an effort to help support your dad, who is doing really poorly, you get a job at a major corporation that may or may not be Nestle. I only say this because they are obsessive about controlling water distribution and that seems to be their jam. When you start, you train for a particular position as a keyboard warrior (you have a sword that is also a keyboard) and are quickly demoted to the very bottom rung of the company: customer service.

From there you must fight through multiple stages of the company, like accounting, marketing, research & development, and so on. Each one plays like a Mega Man stage with their own theme, enemies, and platforming challenges. Eventually you battle the person in charge of that department, defeat them in battle, and earn a “salary”, while getting you promoted to someone who can access the next floor.

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You can also learn new skills and purchase some powerups. The new skills made me laugh because they’re all email based projectiles. The standard bullets are you “firing off a strongly worded email”. The shotgun blast is a “reply to all”. The powerups that you can purchase in the lobby, however, are absolutely game-breaking. For the first two stages I was struggling, then I purchased an ability that refills my health a little every time I beat an enemy. From there on in I was able to plow through the game.

The game plays sort of like going through a Mega Man X game as Zero. You can’t duck, but you can do short dashes. You mostly focus on melee. It’s good but it’s also problematic because the game’s hitboxes are very poorly tuned. There are many times where I went in to hit an enemy only to get hurt because I was too close, which was odd because it looked like I was two feet away from them.

The bosses in the game are pretty fun though and really unique. I enjoyed figuring out their patterns like you would a Robot Master from the Mega Man games with a business twist. Strict managers who literally throw their employees around, social media marketers that beat you with a selfie stick whilst trying to build a brand, a lazy manager who slows you down by hiding behind mountains of paperwork while also throwing some of his responsibilities at you. As someone who’s worked at a company like this, I appreciated it so much.

My main problem of the game is how light the story is. I beat this game in like three hours, or four if you count times I died and replayed certain areas. And in that time I wanted to know more but was given nothing. For example, there’s a flashback in which you see that your character playing video games while your parents fight nearby.

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As you make your way through the flashback, you see your mom eventually leave you for the man who would become the CEO of the company you end up working for. Then, at the end, you’re attacked by your bully of a big brother and you wake up. That big brother is only mentioned the one time and is never again, which honestly made me curious why they even introduced him in the first place.

You also never really find out useful story information, like what your dad is sick with and how he’s doing now, despite him being your primary goal. There’s also a thing where your character decides to make major life choices based on the girl working the front counter despite only talking to her three or four times before she quits out of disgust for one of your choices, which…without story…makes this PSYCHOTIC.

I would have loved to know more but because this game is so light on story, many of the major beats feel absolutely meaningless. Even though I know that somewhere, deep down, a writer had decided certain moments were going to be emotional, I just felt like a sociopath because I had zero investment in anyone.

Ultimately what you’re left with is a fairly decent Mega Man-style platformer with some broken platforming and hit boxes. The puns are funny, the bosses are fun, and the last boss was difficult enough where it felt like a Dr. Wily-type boss encounter. But when I beat it, it sort of felt empty. The ending itself, after all the lead up, lasts about three seconds before cutting to the credits, a basic credit scroll with someone singing a song about the game. A song with the audio quality of a karaoke singer filmed with an original iPhone. It was one of the few times I skipped the credits.

The Company Man (Nintendo Switch) Score: 5

The Company Man is a serviceable platformer that shows a lot of promise with innovative ideas and clever premises. But it fails to live up to expectations and feels like a missed opportunity to be more. If you’re looking for a Mega Man clone with some solid work place puns then this has you covered for about three hours.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.