Middle Manager of Justice is one of those games that gets by on charisma before you ever even consider the mechanics. This isn’t surprising, seeing that it came from Double Fine, a company that routinely puts out titles with Fred Astaire levels of charm. It’s pretty good from a gameplay standpoint, too – a rarity in the bloated business management genre, at least in my experience – and, as a freemium title, takes a long time to back you into the paid-content corner. Oh, and it’s fricking hilarious, too.
Meet the super bureaucrat
You don’t play directly as the heroes that dole out the justice in MMOJ. Instead, you fill the role of the titular middle manager, a balding, middle-aged desk jockey tasked to recruit a stable of superheroes and manage their performance. Manage your office well and your superiors will laud you with cash and bonus items; do it poorly and the bonuses go away, along with employee morale.
The game features two types of currency: Cash, which you pick up performing tasks and for sending your heroes out to fight crime, and Superium, which represents the premium, rare (and possibly, depending on how patient you are) paid tier. The latter is how you recruit new heroes and buy stat-boosting items, so be sure to spend it carefully, just like a good bureaucrat would with his own budget.
A solid superhero collection
The heroes you collect all mill about the office when not engaged with criminal scum, giving your manager the perfect opportunity to improve them (and thus fatten your cash reserves). The mummies and robots and standard cape-wearing good guys available to you are all creative and often hilarious: I especially liked my chosen starting character, Sweet Justice, who looks like a tank but suffers from apparent anxiety and self-esteem issues. Each hero has a set of stats with stuff like strength, intelligence, defense, and so on.
To improve them, you have to expand your office’s capabilities, which requires sending your crew out to battle crime. Though you can often “delegate” the battles (read: send up to four heroes to deal with it on his own without having to watch the fight, I found dealing with things directly to be a lot more rewarding, not to mention fun. Your super-management skills can be a huge boon to your heroes… you can, for instance, give them a pep talk, raising one of a few different stats for the duration of the fight, which could very easily turn the title against a group of hardened criminals.
Worth it for free
Double Fine deserves every bit of the hype they get on the internet, and Middle Manager of Justice is a perfect example of their capabilities. For free, it’s an absolute blast. Throw a couple bucks in for some extra Superium (like I did) and you get the first unique/worthwhile office management sim I’ve seen in a long while. Give it a download if you like offices, bureaucrats, superheroes, fighting, and/or things that make you laugh. If you get a kick out of even one you’re going to have a good time here.