Office Space meets Justice Leage
Have you ever thought that there should be more bureaucracy in your favorite super hero's lives? Like there weren't enough "Office Space" moments in your Batman and X-Men films? Well Double Fine has you covered with Middle Manager of Justice! Middle Manager is a new Free-To-Play game on iOS from developer Double Fine, the fine fellows who brought you Psychonauts, Stacked, Iron Brigade, and Costume Quest, that tasks you with running an organization of Super Heroes that has run on some hard times. The game is a fun diversion with it's sharp writing and fitting art style, but with it's adherence to F2P conventions it can become shallow and repetitive fairly quick.
Middle Manager of Justice places you in the shoes of an unemployed Middle Management-type feller who stumbles upon and job listing matched perfectly to his past experience, running a small office group of super heroes. The game opens up and immediately has you selecting between 8 different super heroes using it's in game currently "Superium". You can use real life money to purchase more Superium in game and in turn you can turn in Superium for coins or new Super Heroes, but the game never forces you into busting out your credit card as there's always enough Superium from beating missions and bosses that you can get by for free.
As you build your stable of heroes you can train them to be stronger, smarter, or to have more HP which in turn makes thug and boss battles easier to complete. Although there is never really a wall you hit in terms of being over matched as you level at a proper pace and boss battles give you enough Superium for a new Hero so you quickly hit the max roster of 4. You can have your Manager help train intelligence, motivate your heroes or even activate powers during battles to help your team out. As you complete more battles and gain more coins eventually you can upgrade your base of actions to include a Rec Room, Training Room, a Lab for Research and a Call Center to put your super heroes to work for some extra cash.
The story is quite superficial, providing a weak link between all the thug battles, but the little interactions before each battle is punchy and work a quick chuckle or two, as to be expected by now from the writers of Double Fine. There is a large over arching story but it's quite silly and makes more sense in short punctuated segments. The battles themselves aren't very captivating as your squad is on auto-attack (which handles itself fine) with the ability to activate single abilities for each squad mate. Battles never take more than a few moments before they play out and there's even an option to "delegate" which basically gives you the option to let it play out over a minute real time and come back to it to collect your xp and rewards.
The game is a fun little diversion but it's not really deep enough to put a lot of hours into. Unless you are an upgrade whore. If you enjoy maxing out every possible level and item, this game will get it's hooks into you. For each room in the base (6) you get multiple items for each and you need to level them individually. Between maxing out your base, and then recruiting all 8 Heroes and maxing them out you could definitely spend some time managing these heroes. If you don't care about achievements or maxing the game I can't see more than a few hours of passing interest in this game. Those of you who will go after anything will have about a week of play time in this bad boy before you hit your saturation point, but for a free game from a well known company you can't beat it. I'd recommend everyone with an iPhone or iPad check it out.