The Company Man – Review
Follow Genre: 2D action platformer
Developer: Forust Studio
Publisher: Forust Studio, Radianity Publishing Pte. Ltd.
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: Switch

The Company Man – Review

Site Score
Good: Beautiful hand-drawn art style
Bad: Way too short for the asking price
User Score
(2 votes)
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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

We love The Office (both the US and the UK versions), so when developer Forust Studio announced that their new 2D action-platformer The Company Man was inspired by the beloved comedy series, they instantly had our attention. The protagonist is even named Jim, in a nod to John Krasinski’s character on the show! We were curious how well The Office’s trademark humor would translate to a game like this, so at 9 am sharp, we clocked in with The Company Man.


We were slightly disappointed to see that The Company Man wastes a lot of its story potential by simply not doing anything interesting with it. The basic premise, which is told through a very basic cutscene, is simple enough: it’s Jim’s first day at his new job and during orientation, he is taught that to climb the company ladder, he needs to use his keyboard and beat the crap out of his coworkers. Unfortunately for Jim, his mentor William tricks him into breaking a machine, causing Jim to be demoted by the CEO. Determined to get his revenge on William, Jim starts from the bottom of the company, ready to climb the ranks and eventually make his way to the very top and become CEO himself.

There is no real story development apart from this basic premise. Instead, much of the game’s humor is simply derived from visual gags and subversions of office clichés, some of which are clever and some of which feel forced and ham-fisted. Take the opening level, for example, which is set in the customer service department: the employees here all have bad breath, which translates to enemies that literally breathe fire. None of the jokes had us roaring with laughter but some elicited a chuckle.


The hand-drawn art style featured in The Company Man is easily the game’s highlight. The character designs look great, from the Dwight Schrute look-a-like that acts as the game’s first boss fight, all the way to the office clerks that use office chairs as skateboards. The surprisingly varied environments look fantastic as well. The game did feel a bit too ‘zoomed’ out at times, admittedly, but that’s nitpicking on our part.


It probably says enough that we can’t even remember what the game’s music sounded like -it’s very generic and not very memorable. The game also lacks voice work apart from the occasional cry, grunt, or shout, and the sound effects do the job but don’t stand out either. The Company Man’s soundscape is functional but that’s about it.


Strip away the office setting, and you’re left with a fairly standard but solid 2D platformer, which sees you climb up the ranks of the company by taking on all seven departments and ‘firing’ each department’s boss by whacking them on the head with your keyboard. The game ‘borrows’ certain mechanics from other platformers, such as the quick dash we’ve seen in 6Souls recently. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as we’d rather not be bogged down by awkward controls or unnecessary gimmicks. The levels are well designed and offer plenty of variety when it comes to the obstacles that Jim will have to overcome to reach each boss.

As we mentioned, you start out with a basic keyboard as your primary weapon, but soon enough, you’ll expand your arsenal with new tricks that allow you to dish out damage in a more efficient manner. Each time you beat the boss of a specific department, you unlock a new ability. Soon enough, you’ll be firing other employees by sending devastating emails -which acts as a ranged attack. You’ll need to master your keyboard abilities to be able to take down the bosses, as they can be quite challenging to take down. Apart from correctly using your keyboard in the boss battles, it helps to study and memorize each boss’s attack pattern, in a true old-school platformer fashion.

The controls are tight and satisfying as well, and the game isn’t too taxing on the Switch, delivering a very smooth performance. We’d be remiss, however, if we were to neglect to mention some of The Company Man’s gameplay flaws. While the game is essentially a simple platformer, there are a few issues with balancing and pacing. One such issue is with the game’s checkpoints -which are cleverly themed as coffee breaks. These are simply too few and far between the levels. Mess up and you’ll be forced to redo large parts of levels, which feels tedious rather than fun. Then there’s your basic keyboard attack, which acts as your only melee option. The issue here is that your attack range is abysmal and that the attack itself is fairly slow, meaning you’ll often spend time just waiting for an enemy to get close enough so you can smack them in the face.

On the other side of the spectrum lies an issue with the upgrades Jim can purchase from the coffee shop with in-game currency. Most of these make sense, such as additional hit points, but there is an upgrade available that absolutely breaks the game and removes any sense of challenge, and that is the one that heals you whenever you kill an enemy. Given that The Company Man is a fairly short title, which you can easily finish in a single evening, this doesn’t bode well for the longevity nor the replayability of the game. The game does offer two difficulty settings, but that simply isn’t enough to keep you occupied for more than a few hours, which, given the game’s asking price of €19.99, is a tough sell.


Overall, The Company Man is a bit of a mixed bag. It looks appealing and the office setting certainly is original, but the humor is hit and miss (with more misses than hits), and the game simply isn’t long enough to warrant the asking price. The overall gameplay experience isn’t going to set anyone’s world on fire either, and the pacing and balance issues don’t help. We’re not going to outright say that The Company Man is a bad game, but if you’re considering picking this one up, at least wait for a sale.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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The Company Man - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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