The Company Man, from Malaysian indie studio Forust, released on Nintendo Switch and PC a while back but has finally made its way to PlayStation 4/5 as well as Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles.
The Company Man follows the tale of Jim, a brand new employee at the “Good Water Company”. During his first day on the job, he gets demoted down to a lowly customer service agent. However, Jim is a man of ambition and he’s staying true to his vow of eventually becoming CEO of the company. Players will have to help Jim climb the corporate ladder so to speak but, as with all things in life, this is easier said than done.
The Company Man allows you to control Jim with ease. You’ll be able to move quite freely through the game’s 2D side-scrolling platforming environment, with traversal feeling fluid and enjoyable. Platforming is the core mechanic and platforming you shall, with the game featuring a tonne of obstacles that get in your way. Jim can also jump and dash and there’s going to be a lot of this happening in The Company Man.
Jim will also face off against other employees with the help of his trusty office keyboard and, ss you progress throughout the game, you’ll unlock upgrades which make your rise to the top even more enjoyable and a little easier.
One of the first things that struck me was the graphics. The Company Man features some fantastic backgrounds and environments. Each floor of the Good Water Company is dedicated to a specific theme and the game runs wild with this. Customer Service, for example, has enemies that are call centre agents that breathe fire. Human Resources has enemies that use piles of documents as projectile weapons.
This continues throughout the game and the enemy variation is definitely something to be praised and enjoyed. The creativity of the developers here really shines through since some enemies are both dastardly and very cleverly designed.
The soundtrack is nothing spectacular but it does serve its purpose of complementing the game’s visuals. There also isn’t much voice acting here apart from some mumbles from Jim and a few NPCs.
Taken as a whole, gameplay in The Company Man is a bit of a mixed bag though. There are some segments of the game which are brutally difficult – even on “Normal” difficulty – and you’re just going to have to get good at dodging enemy projectiles or environmental hazards to make any progress.
Thankfully, Jim can replenish his health at coffee machines scattered throughout levels and, for the most part, they’re well placed. As previously mentioned though, some segments are very difficult to get past and the frustration does build up quite quickly upon dying for the fifth or sixth time retrying to get through a devilish area.
Boss battles in The Company Man are as varied as the locations and basic enemies but, again, the difficulty of these fights might put off some gamers. You’ll have to memorise attack patterns and perform dodges and attacks perfectly if you want to defeat some boss enemies. Your limited health pool and the need to precisely dodge and jump at the right time makes some boss fights feel like an exercise in planning your attacks more than reactive or adaptive combat.
Overall, The Company Man on PlayStation 5 runs flawlessly and it’s still a solid action platformer. The difficult spikes throughout the game might put off some gamers but, other than that, this is a very cookie-cutter-esque platforming game with gorgeous visuals. Some of the writing in the game might be cringe-worthy and I felt relies too much on work-orientated stereotypes, but this should be taken with a grain of salt since the action is what we’re here for anyway.
If you want an action platformer that won’t break the bank, The Company Man is the indie game for you. It’s fun despite the challenging difficulty and doesn’t overstay its welcome coming in at around 4 hours long.
A review code for The Company Man was provided to gameblur by the publisher
The Company Man (PlayStation 5) ReviewThe Company Man (PlayStation 5) Review
Visuals8/10 Very Good
- Great, varied environments and enemy designs
- Fun platforming gameplay
- Feels like a cookie-cutter platformer template
- Difficulty spikes
- Some of the writing can be cringeworthy and stereotypical