Middle Manager of Justice
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Release Date: 12/13/12
No matter how you feel about sim management games—or even “casual” games in general—they are here to stay. And the reason they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon is because this is where the industry comes from. Pac Man, Donkey Kong and Asteroids can be very difficult, but they’re all simple to play. That’s why for mobile devices, I am more interested in the evolution of casual games, not the end of them. Middle Manager of Justice is a great example of a game that takes the sim management formula and evolves it into something that is both charming and loads of fun to play.
In Middle Manager of Justice, you play as an average, everyday manager-type who’s been given the task of managing an office of superheros. Although that might sound like every other management simulator out there, Middle Manager of Justice isn’t exactly Office Space. Through diligent tapping, you’ll recruit entry-level superheros, delegate tasks such as fighting specific crimes, working out to increase stats or taking some time off for a morale boost. As you send your heroes out to crime scenes, Middle Manager of Justice let’s you tag along and participate in the action, choosing when to use special abilities or items in the heat of the battles.
But the real factor that separates Middle Manager of Justice from the packs of other management titles out there is the sense of progression that pushes the activities forward. The game’s map is divided into different areas, which you must unlock and keep crime-free to keep the money coming in. These areas really do feel like distinct levels that you must complete, unlike the arbitrary measures of success in games like Tiny Tower. Furthermore, at the end of each section you’ll find a boss fight waiting for you that will always give you a run for your money.
Despite how it looks on the surface, Middle Manager of Justice isn’t really a game that’s good to pick up and play for a minute here and there—it requires solid chunks of time to play. And although it might not offer the “endless” replay value that some other management titles offer, Middle Manager of Justice treats your time with a little more respect and is good about keeping things fresh. It’s by no means a perfect game or a “new” direction for management sims. Even so, Middle Manager of Justice still feels like a satisfying evolution of the form—one that I don’t feel bad wasting my time on.