Just last week the hardest working(out) man in video games Brad Nicholson went hands-on with Double Fine’s first full-fledged iOS gaming project titled Middle Manager of Justice [Free], a free-to-play simulation game that has you playing office manager for a group of superheroes at the local Justice Corporation. Today the game has officially launched in the App Store.

UPDATE: The app has been pulled. Here's why!

As the ever-important middle manager, you’ll need to hire, train, and generally take care of a stable of superheroes and then send them out on various superhero-y tasks to earn some profit for your branch. Tricking out your office space with different rooms and training facilities is also part of the job description. It’s a silly premise for a video game, playing the unsung hero that keeps the superhero business chugging along via the behind-the-scenes office management, but it also plays perfectly into the quirky nature of Double Fine itself.

The art style and humor in Middle Manager give the game loads of personality, and it feels like a high quality production from top to bottom. Being a freemium game means that the typical in-game currency system and cooldown timers are in play, but Double Fine has promised to skew in favor of the player and not have the business model be a limiting factor.

Only time will tell if that holds true as we dip in for a deeper look at the final version of Middle Manager of Justice, but it’s free to download and check out for yourself and in my short time with the game I’ve been quite taken with its charm. Don’t forget to take a peek in our forums for more impressions and discussion about the game.

  • bramblett05

    Wooooohoooo

  • Kevin Roberts

    It's a shame it's one of those time sink heavy freemium titles. I like Double Fines' stuff and would have grabbed this had it been a full title you could purchase. But over the last year I've come to really hate freemium titles and am currently debating whether my fondness for Double Fine is enough to be worth the hassle of dealing with another freemium title. Still there's not too many companies that would make me consider downloading a freemium title these days, so I may grab it sometime when I'm bored. Right now though, I have a bunch of full games that are hassle free to enjoy that I purchased over the weekend.

    • JB

      Honestly it falls short of other freemium games. There isn't any depth to the office or combat sections to warrant spending money or time getting the better heroes. I'll be playing Bastion again.

      • ducksFANjason

        Well damn! And I had such high hopes for this... I'll still dl to give it a look but that's disappointing to hear.

  • JB

    Double Post

  • JB

    I was thrilled to learn that Double Fine was bringing a game to iOS. The
    game sounded and looked fun. Here's what you are actually getting...

    You
    are the Middle Manager of Justice. You run, expand and improve your
    office. You can add rooms with certain functions (training, resting).
    You hire heroes to fight evil. You can improve their stats (health,
    defense, power, intelligence) by starting activities that have much
    shorter timers than most iOS freemium games. You can change hero
    costumes, and buy items for their inventory. There are, of course,
    premium items and premium currency. You earn gold for normal activities,
    but only earn premium currency when leveling up or defeating villains
    after a lengthy "investigation" (punching thugs). The only way to add
    heroes to your roster is through premium currency.

    Evil activity
    will pop up on the map icon. You click it to send your hero into
    battle. The battles looked like turned based RPG combat, and I guess it
    is, but it runs on auto pilot. You don't directly control the combat at
    all. The heroes and villains beat on each other until the other side is
    defeated. You can click on available super power icons for each hero,
    and it will activate on the next available turn for your hero. You can
    also deploy items from inventory that provide health, +power or -enemy
    power. Using these powers and buffs is rather imprecise though, as the
    combat turns move almost instantly back and forth, and it employs the
    buff on the start of your next turn. This can mean a slight delay in
    healing, which can be dangerous.

    I love Double Fine, and
    appreciate how original most of their work is. The best thing I can say
    about this is the art style is a nice change from most iOS games and it
    is a decent time waster. The "office management" is uninspired, you
    click a person, an activity, watch them do it, buy some rooms and wish
    earning premium currency was faster. That would be fine if the game had a
    combat system that was enjoyable or engaging. As it is, it's just bad.
    The combat doesn't really even require your input, it just goes. You can
    click powers or items, but it doesn't engage at all.

    A mediocre
    office sim with a deep turn based combat system (which I know they can
    do!) would have been worth my money. An entertaining and rich office
    builder/manager with combat-lite would probably appeal to a lot of
    FarmVille-ites. What Double Fine has made is a game that tries to pull
    both audiences, but caters to neither. I see a lot of people laying down
    cash to unlock all the heroes, then realizing they have very little to
    do with them and deleting the game.

    • ImJPaul

      What a shame. They probably just need money to fund their next project. Since they haven't had anything mildly successful since Brutal Legend. Hopefully their future endeavors don't fall short. Still gonna try it out and see if it's any good for myself.

      • JB

        I think that's part of the reason I am so disappointed. Every other game they have made has brought me enjoyment. Even Happy Action Theater and Once Upon a Monster have been VERY worthwhile purchases since I have a 4 year old daughter. They are her favorite games, and it's good Father/Daughter time since I play them with her. Stacking, Iron Brigade, Costume Quest, Brutal Legend and Psychonauts have all provided me with endless hours of entertainment. I am looking forward to The Cave and the Double Fine Adventure as well as the HAT sequel. Hopefully this game was a side project cash grab (put it to good use!) and not indicative of an overall drop in quality.  

      • Benjamin Palmer

        Must be you aren't aware that Double-Fine is the studio that started the Kickstarter trend for games...? They raised 3.3million for their next game via Kickstarter back in March. I'd say the next project is funded, seeing their goal was $400,000 ;)

      • JB

        Oh I think we all know about that. We were just trying to find a reason to that this terrible entry in an otherwise brilliant library of games even exists in the first place. Had to go and ruin it for us! ;)

  • Michael Matzat

    It´s booring, sadly...

  • Michael Matzat

    Do i get this right, the time in this only advances when the app is open and running? So i have to have this open for 15 minutes to train my hero? Silly. 

    • ducksFANjason

      No time advances faster while the app is open, IIIRC. Closing the app still advances time, just at a normal minute/minute pace.

  • wingstar212

    Well it gots the feeling of costume quest, it's okay but not great, hate the idea of freemium, and i think this version just got a bug with the bus mission. It freeze after clicking the "approve" button. I just got stuck and stop playing after the bus mission.

  • Durduhdur

    Are the graphics supposed to look this bad or what? I can't figure out if it's the game style or just very poor graphics, or both!

  • skeletonlord

    I saw this was available and I went on the App Store to download it. I downloaded it, now I get the message "Your request could not be completed" when I click on the app details page.

  • ducksFANjason

    I'm not sure if it was pulled or something... Saw it in my itunes this morning and started downloading but had to leave for work. When I got to work, I started trying to download from my phone and now I'm getting a "This item is not available in the US app store" error...

    • Schnapple

      Generally this means that it hasn't propogated to all Apple's content servers. Keep trying, or try again later.

  • http://www.facebook.com/epicbawksy Hans Kisaragi

    Okey so I tried it and it seems like a Gameloft Free 2 Play game.. kind of a let down.. but I like the animations and writing.

  • Michael Matzat

    I think the game tries to do it right. You can "just" play it, unlike most of these free to play games it´s not that you have to pay cash for certain things and the waiting times do not enter hours and days.
    But still the game fails. The biggest miss take they make is that it comes from the standpoint that waiting is more fun than good gameplay. This is what Battleheart would have become if it was free to play. I wish this cost 3$ and was like BH...

  • Nick Koan

    From the Double Fine forums, it looks like the App was accidentally released last night. 
    http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/7618/

  • Tatiana

    Why has the game been pulled??

    • Benjamin Palmer

      See the forums for more info. I posted a reply a while ago but all replies with links are moderated... so it isn't up yet!

      On the forums though there's a response from Double Fine. The game was accidentally released and that's why its pretty buggy, it wasn't ready yet. They pulled it, should be back in a few weeks.

  • ellonelo

    This looks cool!!