The Company Man recently launched on the Nintendo Switch. I had the pleasure of playing through its very alluring demo and have now had the opportunity to play the full game. My thoughts on the game are mixed, I really enjoyed the game but felt like there was potential for so much more. I’ve also played a heap of 2D platformers recently which likely hurt The Company Man since there’s only so much that these creators can do within that genre. Regardless, let me expand on this mixed bag in this review.
The Company Man Review (Switch) – This Deserves a Promotion
Title: The Company Man
Genre: Action, Platformer, Adventure
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)
Release Date: January 21, 2022
2D Platforming Done Right
The Company Man takes a simple approach to the platforming and adds in the dash mechanic that I loved so much from 6Souls. My experience playing 6Souls likely added to my enjoyment of the gameplay in The Company Man as I was used to all the ways the dashing mechanic can be used to get around a level.
The Company Man added in some interesting twists throughout the levels to add to the standard platforming. Things like the warp screens, shifting gravity, moving saws, and other obstacles helped ramp up the difficulty as the game progressed and kept things interesting.
Like many 2D platforming games, the combat in The Company Man is pretty bare bones. I used a keyboard for hand-to-hand combat, mostly so the game could make Keyboard Warrior jokes, and a number of ranged attacks that on the surface seemed great but weren’t very useful in the grand scheme.
This is one of the few real letdowns of The Company Man because the range of enemies is interesting enough that enhanced combat could make that a highlight of the game instead of an obstacle to the fun platforming.
The combat issue shines through in the boss fights to me, the bosses are all pretty well done and diverse enough to stand out but beating them all is down to learning their rhythms and attacking with the keyboard at the right time. There’s no added strategy because using the ranged attacks would lead to the fights lasting forever with how little damage they do to the bosses.
Excellent World Building
One of the main things that I wrote about regarding The Company Man demo was the charm and satire the game displayed. I will once again be talking about that in this The Company Man review. The level of detail put into every single level and even the lobby just showcases a full understanding of what the game’s creators had envisioned. Small things like the rotating door forcing you to stay at work, the certificates that come with each ranged attack, and the “overpriced coffee” stand, are all little additions to the game world that I really appreciated.
This world-building carries over to the actual levels too. Each level is represented by a new department for me to conquer, each one has its own unique setting that aims to poke fun at the workplace. As someone with an accounting background, I loved all of the in-jokes spread throughout that level and the ice-cold setting was very fitting. The backgrounds of the levels always had something going on that further satirized the workplace like the customer service reps being locked in cages and the sheer wackiness of the Marketing Department, because let’s be honest we’re all scared of marketers.
While the gameplay itself doesn’t set The Company Man apart its intent at poking fun at the workplace nonstop is charming enough to make it worth the purchase.
Potential For Greatness
Storytelling isn’t at the forefront of The Company Man but there was the potential for it to tell a fantastic story. A guy working his way from the bottom of the corporate ladder to the top through a mix of hard work and cutthroat decisions to topple the CEO, who happens to be the man his mother cheated on his dad with, COULD have been really interesting. I do think the game wants to tell that story too but it just doesn’t commit to it enough. Aside from one cutscene establishing a backstory and a quick mention of the CEO knowing the main character’s mother I was thrown scraps of storytelling through the thought bubbles that pop up and a throwaway line from the receptionist.
I would have liked to see the game explore the changes that my character went through as he became a corporate puppet and worked his way up the company ladder. I don’t need anything super deep from an indie platformer but the story potential was there in The Company Man and ultimately it wasn’t fully utilized.
The Company Man Review – Final Verdict
I really liked The Company Man. It’s another strong addition to the indie 2D platforming catalog even if it didn’t reinvent the wheel. The main draw of the game is no doubt the setting and its satirical view of the workplace which makes it stand out from the crowd. Despite all the positives, there are some areas where the game didn’t fully live up to its potential and that is what keeps it out of the elite tier. If given a choice, I’d pick up 6Souls over this but The Company Man would be a strong addition to anyone’s gaming library.
Rating: 7 out of 10
this game was reviewed using a digital code provided by the publisher.
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