The Company Man (not to be confused with the film of the same name) is a two-dimensional (2D) action-platformer offering a humorous and satirical look at the corporate world. In the title, gamers play as Jim, a fresh graduate who wants to climb the ladder of success in the Good Water Company. Now the question remains: are his experiences at work memorable, or should he have been let-go from the start?

Jim (no relation The Office character of the same name) is a new employee of the Good Water Company, a beverage corporation facing hefty competition from the Bad Water Company. Starting off in Customer Service, his aim is to work his way through each unique department, eventually becoming the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

There is not much more in terms of narrative, with a bulk of the game focussed on Jim’s rise from entry level gimp through to high powered CEO. Although the overall story is lacking, an argument can be made for how the gameplay is a metaphor for Jim’s rise in power. In this way, the player must “work” at helping the protagonist through each of the relevant departments, before eventually reaching the apex of the company. As such, the game serves as more of a ‘mental’ allegory for the ‘real world’ work Jim is putting into his daily life. This may be a reach, but it is a fun way of interpreting this side-scrolling platformer.

Better still, and an unusual addition for what is admittedly a fairly simple premise, the game has multiple endings with some clever twists and surprises along the way. For example, and depending on the choices and actions made, players can join the rival Bad Water Company, which offers more money and power, but also more corruption and danger. Alternatively, players can also choose to quit their job and pursue Jim’s passion instead, which leads to yet another different ending.

The Company Man is a two-dimensional (2D) action-platformer offering a humorous and satirical look at the corporate world.

At its heart, The Company Man is a two dimensional (2D) action platformer with wonderfully hand-drawn graphics and a pretty catchy soundtrack – with songs seemingly being designed for each unique level. The gameplay is fast-paced and challenging, albeit simple, requiring players to dash, jump, and attack their way through each level’s main boss. Along the way, he will encounter various obstacles, enemies, and bosses, each representing a different aspect of office life.

Subsequently, players must fight through different departments and floors, using, for example, Jim’s keyboard for melee attacks and his email as a ranged weapon (which can eventually be upgraded to include attachments and spam). There are also a myriad of office-related enemies, such as coffee zombies, angry accountants, and ruthless managers; among others. The enemies are one of the strongest parts of the title too, as the variety on offer also leads to variable gameplay, with each differing enemy behaving uniquely and requiring changes in gameplay to be dealt with effectively. It immediately evokes feelings of the ingenious gameplay design found in Cuphead.

Perhaps The Company Man’s greatest strength is its theme, which is cleverly integrated into every element of the game. Anyone familiar with the office workplace will immediately find relatability with the way the title pokes fun at the absurdities and stereotypes of working life, such as coffee addiction, office politics, bureaucracy, and corporate jargon. There are also a fair amount of references and jokes to appeal to gamers and geeks alike with some decently witty and sharp humour that is never mean-spirited or offensive.

There is also a decent upgrade system in the title, one appearing between levels as the game progresses. However, all upgrades cannot be unlocked in one play-through, forcing gamers to take care in terms of the options purchased for Jim. In this sense, the title ensures players think somewhat strategically, deciding whether an upgrade to health is more pertinent to one for the mail gun. Pro tip: absolutely purchase the ‘Health Replenisher’ as soon as possible.

The Company Man is a two-dimensional (2D) action-platformer offering a humorous and satirical look at the corporate world.

With some interesting visuals and decent gameplay, perhaps the game’s main weakness is its difficulty curve, which can be frustrating at times. Some levels can be quite tedious in length and design, making them harder than they rightfully ought to be. However, this is part and parcel for a side-scrolling 2D platformer, where skill is often preferred over simple puzzle solving and platforming.

The Company Man is an enjoyable and original title offering a fresh perspective on the genre, despite the gameplay loop and mechanics feeling somewhat simplistic. However, it is the overall theme and clever tongue in cheek references to office worker life that truly allow Jim, and his rise toward becoming CEO, to shine.



Great tone and settingDifficulty curve
Decent humour and witSimplistic mechanics
Fun level design

Title reviewed on Xbox Series X with code supplied by Forest Studio.

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Owner, founder and editor-in-chief at Vamers, Hans has a vested interest in geek culture and the interactive entertainment industry. With a Masters degree in Communications and Ludology, he is well read and versed in matters relating to video games and communication media, among many other topics of interest.