- Developer: Forust Studio
- Publisher: Leoful
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer
- Released: 21st January 2022
Hardly working hard at work.
Playing this game for the first time, I felt right from the first monologue that this was likely a game that came from the South East Asian region of this world; specifically Malaysia or Singapore. Perhaps it was the written style opted in scripting this game; perhaps it was due to to how the characters portrayed themselves. Either way, I was pleasantly surprised (and quite pleased with my gut feeling) when I found out that the developers, Forust Studio, are indeed Malaysian.
They seem like a young studio (their Twitter started on 1st May 2020 and their Facebook page seems light in content), with The Company Man seemingly their first and only game so far. Released on Steam, then landing on the Switch not long after, it’s time to call The Company Man into the interview room…
So tell me more about yourself
The Company Man is a action platformer that does take a lot of cues from metroidvanias, but feels more akin to games like Shovel Knight. You play the role of a salaryman, Jim, in his journey upwards the corporate ladder to become CEO. The game tales an interesting approach in which it takes the typically boring white-collared bureaucratic world and spins it into a fantastical world where the head of HR is a maniacal despot in charge of a literal hell who throws interns as one of his attacks… for example.
I’d refrain from saying too much (no spoilers), but if that sentence piqued your interest, then I believe the rest of the game will too. Some of the humour may be on the nose for some, and I do hope you can take some PUN-ishment. Still, I found that while ultimately the main plot is relatively straightforward; the journey to the end is quite the ride. Add to that the crazy cast and it really is an experience in itself.
What are your strengths…
The visuals of The Company Man are bright and colourful, and make playing it feel like playing an actual cartoon. The character animations are entertaining and adds a great feel to the experience going through the game. Also as previously mentioned, the cast are also endearing; and in particular to the different personifications to the various departments in companies, they are interesting and I feel like the designers had fun coming up with how they’ll impede the protagonist’s path to the story’s end.
The imaginative creations doesn’t stop there, as your skills in part are also a play on various activities one would associate with boring office work. Understanding office politics in real life does enhance the experience, but The Company Man does explain enough for those not in the soul-crunching white-collared world to be able to participate in the joke.
…and your weaknesses?
I would have to say that the game’s sound effects and music don’t stick in mind, for better or worse. In the case of SFX, it’s probably a good thing that I don’t remember anything about it, as it would imply that it suited the atmosphere as to blend into the game’s universe. Music-wise, I don’t recall anything out of place, but on the other side of the coin I believe there isn’t anything particularly memorable.
Additionally, while for the most part the game handles pretty well, jumping feels a little bit floaty. It took me a little bit of acclimatization, but it could be noted that some tightening up of the game’s controls could benefit it in the long run. Also, getting enough currency for skill or health upgrades can be quite a chore. The choice to have the health be as limited as it is makes grinding quite a chore.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Overall, The Company Man is a fun time, with great characters and also interesting boss fights thrown in the mix. Some of the platforming can be a little bit frustrating, as well as the grind for coin; but fortunately these don’t detract too much from the experience with regular checkpoints that also refill your health at each of these points. Even so, I feel that a little bit of polishing could’ve really made this game shine even more than it currently is.
If this is Forust Studio’s first game, I truly am very excited to see for from the studio, especially if they keep their humour and creativeness levels as high as they were in The Company Man.
3.5/5 – a little bit of tweaking on controls and feel of the game, and this could’ve hit 4 or higher. Still, the game’s a good time.
Available now: $19.99
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*a review copy has been generously provided for this review