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Middle Manager of Justice Review

Since the laboured development and mixed reaction to 2009’s Brütal Legend, Double Fine Production have made no secret of their disinterest in big-budget titles produced within the confines of a traditional developer-publisher relationship. Middle Manager of Justice embodies this independent spirit well, but demonstrates a savviness by the developer of knowing what their rabid fanbase are really after when they play a game by Double Fine.

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On the face of it, Middle Manager of Justice is a fairly typical time-sink mobile game. You are tasked with running the day-to-day workings of a superhero agency; hiring heroes, keeping them fit and motivated and sending them out to protect the neighbouring region. All the trappings of this sort of game are present, with two parallel currency systems to keep you chasing the next upgrade of your premises or your heroes and the proper balancing of several timers being key to your managerial success. 

Nothing about the game really seeks to reinvent the wheel as far as the genre goes. The addition of a fairly flimsy battle system makes things a little more involved than other similar types of games like Tiny Tower or the behemoth The Simpsons: Tapped Out. However, that’s not to say very much - the battles play themselves out for the most part, although they do break up the office management gameplay quite nicely.

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However, to go into too much detail about the basic mechanics of the game would be to rather miss the point. At this point, the timer-centric simulation title is so widespread in mobile gaming, even creeping into other genres like puzzle games and kart racers that to fiddle with the formula too much would risk straying too far from what’s popular. The basic gameplay simply provides a solid foundation for the real meat of what makes Double Fine Productions a developer with an enormous fan following - top-notch production design and a unique charm that permeates the game as a whole.

Middle Manager of Justice is certainly a looker, with beautifully drawn characters and environments that really pop when played on a Retina iPad. The heroes that you’ll be managing are very well-realised, adopting a style inspired by the Silver Age of Comics reminiscent of the of The Incredibles and the Freedom Force PC games. Half of the appeal of investing your hard-earned Superium in new heroes is seeing what weird and wonderful new faces you’ll be able to have populating your office.

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The charisma of the game isn’t limited to its visuals - the dialogue and flavour text that are commonplace throughout the game are constantly amusing and can easily carry you through what could otherwise get monotonous rather quickly. Rather than being window-dressing, the visuals and writing are the bulk of what this game has to offer, and if you’re already a fan of Double Fine Productions then you’ll be glad to hear that Middle Manager of Justice manages to capture a portion of the same intangibles that etched a game like Psychonauts deep in the memory of the few that played it.

If charm is not enough to hold your interest, suffice to say that Middle Manager of Justice is not for you - the mechanics are quite simply not as well-realized and finely-tuned as something like Tiny Tower. However, if you’re looking for a time-sink and the signature style of Double Fine Productions appeals to you, there’s a lot to enjoy here.

7.50/10 7½

Middle Manager of Justice

This game is good, with a few negatives.

If charm is not enough to hold your interest, suffice to say that Middle Manager of Justice is not for you - the mechanics are quite simply not as well-realized and finely-tuned as something like Tiny Tower. However, if you’re looking for a time-sink and the signature style of Double Fine Productions appeals to you, there’s a lot to enjoy here.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
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