Poor Jim is having one hell of a first day at his new job. He’s vowed to become CEO of the “Good Water Company” but he’s been demoted during training to the worst of the most dreaded jobs you can imagine – Customer Service! Promising revenge and a desire to clean up the company’s act, The Company Man sees Jim raise himself through a literal hell to challenge the powers of corrupt capitalism!
But will Jim really stay the path on the way to the top? Or become the very thing he vows to fight against?
The Company Man, developed by Forust Studio, is a classically inspired 2D action platformer, set against the backdrop of corporate culture and capitalism. Part satire and part sarcasm, The Company Man lets you crawl your way from the literal hell that is customer service, up to the gold-plated office of CEO, battling your co-workers along the way to make sure the bottom line continues to shine.
Utilising hand-painted backgrounds and sprite work, The Company Man’s 2D artwork is absolutely gorgeous. The game’s backdrops are wonderfully diverse and full to the brim of tiny details and animations that you can miss if you’re not paying attention. The sprite animation is just as wonderfully crafted, and not only for Jim but for the game’s enemies as well. Whether it’s all the little details woven into the backgrounds, the cartoon level of animation applied to hapless interns, or the look on Jim’s face – the love and care put into the visuals by the developers is evident in every frame.
On Jim’s way up the food chain, he’ll have to battle his co-workers using a keyboard that acts as both a sword and a gun, with various projectile abilities unlocked as you progress. Jim can jump and dash as well to help get around and avoid damage. While there are no skill trees to invest in – the level design and layout is catered to Jim’s existing moves – you can purchase health upgrades and some abilities, such as being able to hit back incoming projectiles, between each level.
There’s no office water cooler banter as your fellow employees are out to get you, but you can replenish your health at coffee stations that serve as checkpoints along the way. Defeating an enemy fires them instead of killing them, making this a bloodless affair. Enemy design is entertaining as well, looking very much like everyone has gone crazy because of overtime. Lawyers turn into werewolves, while call centre agents breathe fire, etc. All of the game’s enemies, including bosses, can be beaten by recognising their attack patterns and planning your moves. Later levels become a smidge more difficult because of enemy placement in conjunction with the environmental hazards.
As you progress through the game, the levels start to get longer, with checkpoints scattered further apart. Environmental hazards become prolific as well, requiring you to combine jumps and dashes to avoid moving buzz saws or platforms sinking into toxic waste. Timing becomes important but never to the degree that it becomes frustrating or requires pixel-perfect jumps to get around. With the level of innovation in the rest of the game’s aspects, it would have been more entertaining to see something more creative than just the usual spiked blocks and saws.
Where The Company Man does falter is in the later levels and the last few boss fights.
As the later levels increase in size and complexity with proper platforming gauntlets, the coffee stations get further apart. If you die, you then have a very large area to run through again to get back to where you were, making some of the later sections tedious. Be warned, there’s no saving in levels themselves. If you plan to start one, then you have to play the level through as restarting the game will put you back to the beginning of the level.
Finally, the last few boss fights, which are fun and challenging initially, become strangely easier towards the end. The impressive character design and animation remain the same, but the level of challenge for them drops off significantly.
Overall, The Company Man is a fun and engaging platformer, full of cool ideas that won’t tax your platforming or combat skills too much. What it does exceptionally well is to provide an enjoyable time filled with gorgeous art that justifies the price of admission alone.
A review code for The Company Man was provided to gameblur by the publisher.
The Company Man (Switch) ReviewThe Company Man (Switch) Review
- Gorgeous 2D backgrounds and animation
- Fun take on corporate culture
- The last couple of bosses are too easy
- Later levels could be better paced