When I first saw The Company Man the first thing that stood out to me was the theme. Creating a sidescrolling action platformer about surviving a corporate/office setting was a really interesting idea. The visual style of the game looked really good as well. While I didn’t check out the game when it was first came out, the new PlayStation release gave me a good reason to check it out. The Company Man is a fun action sidescroller set in a wacky and fun world that is let down a little by not being particularly original or long.
In The Company Man you play as Jim. Jim just graduated from college/university. He has recently been hired at the Good Water Company. Things do not go as planned though as on his first day he needs to fight for his job as he tries to climb the corporate ladder. This involves traveling from department to department on the way to the CEOs office.
The gameplay of The Company Man is similar to most sidescrolling action platformers. The game gives you the typical jump and dodge abilities. There are numerous platforms to jump between on your journey to reach the end of each department. There are pits that you need to jump over to avoid taking damage. You also need to avoid saws, flying objects, and other obstacles.
The game also has combat elements. The Good Water Company is a competitive company after all. Most of your fellow employees are out for blood, and will attack you on sight. At the beginning of the game you are given a keyboard which you can use to attack your co-workers. Each enemy has a certain amount of health. Once you deplete it, you fire them. Throughout the game you also acquire various ranged attacks which use energy that occasionally replenishes. Scattered throughout the levels are coffee stations which re-fill your health and serve as checkpoints. At the end of each department you have to face off against the department head in order to progress further.
Anyone who has ever played a sidescrolling action platformer should have a good idea of what to expect out of the gameplay of The Company Man. It is pretty clear that the game was inspired by a number of games from the genre. Nothing about the gameplay is highly original. I can’t recall any gameplay mechanics that I haven’t seen used in other video games before. Because of this your feelings about the genre are likely going to apply quite a bit to The Company Man. If you don’t really care for these type of games, I don’t see the game changing your mind. Fans of the genre though will likely enjoy The Company Man.
While The Company Man may not have the most original gameplay, that doesn’t mean that the game isn’t enjoyable. I generally enjoyed my time playing the game. The game does a good job focusing on what makes these types of games fun, instead of trying to create new mechanics. The platforming mechanics are on the simpler side as the game doesn’t really force you to make precise jumps or have perfect timing in order to succeed. It was still enjoyable though as a fan of 2D platformers.
You may spend slightly more time platforming than in combat, but I think the combat is actually the more enjoyable gameplay mechanic. The combat is similar to most games in the genre, but I think it works really well. In theory you could actually avoid a decent amount of the combat by just running past the enemies in your path. I found the combat to be satisfying though. The various ranged attacks that use energy are fun playing off office/email etiquette. They differ enough with their own benefits and trade-offs to keep the combat fun.
I think the best part about the combat though may be the enemies themselves. The game could have just utilized the same enemies over and over again, but The Company Man actually has unique enemies for each department. These enemies have different attack patterns and weaknesses that you have to exploit. Each is tailored to their department as well. While you will encounter the same enemy types quite a bit in each department, the fact that the enemies are specifically designed for each department is a nice touch. Each department has its own boss fight as well which are quite different.
I think the main reason the gameplay works is the fact that the controls are quite precise. The controls are responsive where the game responds how you would expect it to. When you lose health in combat or when platforming it feels like it was your fault. Rarely will it feel like if only the controls were more responsive you could have avoided taking damage. The controls are simple as well leading to a game that is easy to pick up and play.
As for the level design I think there are positives and negatives. I will talk more about this shortly, but the game utilizes the whole corporate/office theme really well in the level design. Each department has its own look and it even somewhat impacts the layout of the levels. The levels are designed in a way where you can quickly move forward instead of being bogged down fighting a bunch of enemies or having to complete a difficult platforming challenge. The only real issue I had with the level design is that each department tends to have sections that just feel like long hallways where not much happens as you move towards the next area. Some enemies or obstacles would have made these sections a little more interesting.
Speaking of the levels, I wanted to quickly talk about The Company Man’s difficulty. Keep in mind that I do play quite a few games in this genre. I personally didn’t find the game to be all that difficult. I lost health from time to time, but was rarely in danger of dying. A lot of this had to deal with the amount of health you are given, and the fact that I purchased an upgrade that gave me a health point back for each enemy I beat. The checkpoints are pretty close to one another as well except for later in the game. Most of the game’s difficulty came from the boss fights. I wouldn’t consider any of these to be particularly difficult either, but I did die a few times to some of the bosses. Other bosses I beat on either my first or second attempt.
With The Company Man being on the easier side, it means that it is also on the shorter side. The game has six departments with most featuring two or so levels and then the boss fight. The game also includes a final boss. Some of the departments are longer than others, but I would say that most take around 30 minutes to complete. I would guess that it took around four hours for me to beat the whole game. This is on the shorter side which was a little disappointing as I was still enjoying the game when it ended. As for the replay value there isn’t a lot. The game seems to have some sort of new game plus. Outside of being more difficult, I don’t see a second playthough playing much different than the first.
When most people first see The Company Man, one of the first things that you likely will notice is the game’s visual style. It is hard to ignore as it is one of the game’s greatest strengths. The game’s visuals are a standout. As soon as you start to play the game you can tell that a lot of effort was put into this element of the game. Each department has its own visual style that corresponds to what type of work they do for the company. This is reflected in the enemy designs as well. The game is colorful, and there is a surprising amount of detail to most elements of the visual style. The animation is fantastic as well. If the visual style interests you at all, I think you will love The Company Man’s visual style.
While the visuals are great, The Company Man’s story doesn’t reach quite the same level. Don’t get me wrong, the story is not bad. I just thought it was a little generic. To avoid spoilers I won’t really get into specifics. The story is basically about the intricacies/monotony of working in an office setting. The story has a specific emphasis on the cutthroat nature of working in a large company. There is also the typical evil company plotline that you would generally expect to see.
I generally enjoyed my time playing The Company Man. In many ways the game shares a lot in common with your typical sidescrolling action platformer. There really isn’t anything about the gameplay that is particularly original. The gameplay works though. The combat and platforming are fun which is supplemented by the controls that work really well. The game does a great job with the theme as well. Each department has its own enemies and it own unique style. The game’s visuals and animation are fantastic. The story is pretty average though. Otherwise the main issue with the game is that it is on the easier side. This leads to the game being kind of short as most people could probably finish it within four or so hours.
My recommendation for The Company Man comes down to your feelings towards sidescrolling action platformers and the corporate/office theme. If you don’t care for the genre or theme, I don’t really see the game being for you. If the game seems interesting to you though, I would recommend picking up The Company Man as I think you will enjoy it.
The Company Man
Release Date: 2021, 2022 | Systems: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Developer: Forust | Publisher: Forust | ESRB Rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Crude Humor
Genres: Action, Indie, Platformer
- A fun sidescrolling action platformer with responsive controls.
- Great use of the theme in the visuals and world design.
- Doesn’t drastically differ from most other games in the genre.
- On the easier side which leads to a shorter game that most people could beat in around four hours.
Recommendation: For fans of sidescrolling action platformers that like the corporate/office theme.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Forust for the review copy of The Company Man used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.