If the world will always need heroes, then it's fair to say the world will also always need bureaucrats too. Someone has to clear up the mess these fire-blazing, laser-firing, crime-fighting types tend to leave behind them, and who ever tells that story?
No-one ever has, of course, but now that's changed with Middle Manager of Justice. Double Fine's tale of the humble superhero junior manager packs in everything you'd expect from the developer: bags of wit, a gorgeously slick artistic
production, and a unique concept that sees you taking charge of a superhero agency and making sure that the corporate owners see a decent return on their investment.
You begin the game with a rather ramshackle outfit, consisting of an office replete with spreadsheets, performance analysis charts and filing cabinets. Elsewhere you have only the most basic of superhero facilities: a gym with bags of flour to punch, and a bedroom filled with nothing more comfortable than a dirty mattress.
Still, it'll get the job done as you begin to select and train your new recruits, and each superhero in the game has their own stat allocations and special abilities. If you want to increase a hero's power, you'll need to send them to the gym for a certain amount of time, while you can always give a demotivated worker a pep-talk in the office. As well as upgrading your facilities to make them more efficient, you can also expand your empire entirely.
Obviously these heroes need something to do to earn their keep, and this is where the mission systems come in. Your map becomes filled with alerts which might require a selection of heroes to take on some bullying henchmen, or stop a school bus that's wildly out of control. The faster you solve missions, the more cash you receive for building and staff investment, but of course you have to balance your staff's recovery needs and power improvements with this progress too.
Fighting in the combat missions is more or less automated, and you simply have to activate each hero's silly but effective combat power, or use any combat or healing potions you've picked up from the coin store. It's good fun though, and the developers have written some genuinely funny dialogue into the game that often makes gentle digs at the more jaded superhero stereotypes.
As this is a freemium game there are waiting times throughout, and you won't be surprised to hear that you can speed things up by spending the game's Superium currency. You'll be rewarded with a few for completing missions, but if you insist on rapid progress then there's the option to splash out in the cash store. In honesty, we haven't found ourselves short of things to do in the free game so far.
We only have a couple of complaints with Middle Manager of Justice. First of all, while there's a huge amount of pleasure to be had from exploring the humor of the game, you can see most of its content in a short space of time. We also had a hero go missing from the interface on occasion, and whether that's down to a bug or a simple lack of explanation, the resulting frustration is still the same.
Considering this a free game though, you really have no excuse not to indulge yourself in yet another serving of trademark Double Fine humor. It's something a little bit different, it's beautifully crafted, and unquestionably entertaining for a time. Go forth and show that paperwork who's boss.
Download Middle Manager of Justice (iOS)