It really is an excellent gag. Superheroes are Amazing, Spectacular, Incredible and Dynamic. White-collar workers are ubiquitous, uninspired, boring and static. Middle Manager Of Justice might chronicle the rise and rise of a low-rent take on The Avengers or the Justice League, but it casts you as the office drone tasked with ensuring that invoices are sent and rescues completed on time.
Unfortunately, Double Fine’s satire on the role of middle management cuts a bit too close to the bone. This is a game bereft of meaningful, interesting choices, offering the player little more than the role of box-ticker and awfully long list of boxes in need of a good ticking. Your superheroes need training? To the training room! They’ve taken too much damage? To bed! They’re grumpy? Let them watch some TV! You’re never in any doubt as to what needs to be done – the only question is whether you have time to do it.
Crimes in progress take your heroes out of the headquarters and onto the streets. Battles are semi-automated and take place in realtime, though you can activate special moves so long as the requisite meter hasn’t run dry. These moves, and the stats underpinning them, hint at the possibility of dedicated combat roles – tank, damage dealer and so on – but the interface lacks the complexity to execute them.
There’s enough warmth and wit here to make Middle Manager Of Justice one of the more palatable exercises in building a game around waiting and offering micro-transactions to skip the wait, but sadly all our spider-senses detect is a missed opportunity.