[Review] Office Politics (iOS)
I’m a big fan of pick-up-and-play games. I know that there are not a lot of us who have the time of day to sit down and play a 70+ hour game (I’m looking at you, every Final Fantasy game ever made). I am also very partial of portable gaming since I am not sitting on the couch 24/7 and like to have my face buried in a game wherever I go. With that in mind, I think that Apple has done a better job at combining my two loves better than Sony or Nintendo in the past years. The iOS devices provide fun, portable, and easy to play games at a fraction of the cost you would pay for anything else. Much like Sony and Nintendo though, there is that one game that you think sounds like a lot of fun until you actually play it. That game is called Office Politics.
Essentially, Office Politics is a suit-and-tie game of Whack-A-Mole, both metaphorically and literally. You start the game with the shadow ninja, the person who avoids work at all costs. From there, you swipe and stab your co-workers in the back as you climb the corporate ladder to fight the boss.
While the characters are very different visually and somewhat appealing from a Saturday morning cartoon standpoint, they all play the same for the most part because you will be spending most of your time poking people in the back. While some enemies require being swiped in order to turn around before you can off them, you will spend 90% repeating the usual pattern of “poke poke poke poke.” After you go through 2 levels of mindless back-stabbing, the “fun” part of the game begins in the form boss battles. At the third floor of each stage, you go head-to-head with one of the several unique bosses. This is a nice break from the mediocre meat of Office Politics as you play a mini-game specific to the boss, such as guessing what is missing in a room or poking the screen when you think five seconds have passed, in order to defeat each boss. With the exception of playing through boss battles for the first time, the game’s extremely repetitious nature can fall flat on its face if you are already bored.
Each character has his or her own special skill that adds some variety to gameplay, but these are easily missed since you can play through the game with any given character and not even remember that they are available to you. Unless you are the type of person who relies heavily on all the help you can get, these feel a bit thrown in and somewhat disappointing.
The touch controls are actually pretty solid, which surprised me. Unless you have Popeye biceps for phalanges, mercilessly stabbing co-workers in the back is a breeze. The harder the stages get, the more enemies will appear, which demonstrates just how fluid and stable the touch controls are. Even though the screen can fill up with enemies quickly and you rely on reflex to dispatch them, you do not feel the slightest ounce of achievement, which makes the score keeping feel useless to begin with. Losing requires you to start over from the beginning, which was actually okay with me because I didn’t want to keep playing anyway. Once you realize that the first level is basically what to expect from the rest of the game, you will not have a problem putting it down, either.
[+Easy to pick up and play] [+Decent boss battles] [+Tight controls] [*Short] [-Novelty wears off quickly]
Office Politics feels very much like a flash game on a community website. Animations are fairly smooth and defeating bosses ends in a slideshow-esque animation of him or her falling to the ground. A few of them made me chuckle, but they are lazily executed which made me sad. The artwork is cartoon-y and takes more than a little inspiration from anime. The same can be said for the audio work, too. The few grunts and moans that enemies make while dying are repeated constantly throughout the levels and get annoying. The music in the game sounds like it was borrowed from Fruit Ninja, which is not necessarily a bad thing… if you are playing Fruit Ninja. Besides that, there is not much else audibly or aesthetically extraordinary. Between the mix of mediocre art and meh-tastic audio work, there is nothing about this game that stands out and screams, “Have fun with me,” because deep inside, it knows you won’t.
Most of the money put into this game seems like it was invested directly into making it a solid app. It is not fun or exciting, just not broken. That’s a good thing, but above all, it is still a shame. I think that if Iddiction took the time put a little more effort into the animations, sounds, and general art style of the game, I would not feel like I was let down. Then I could have said, “This is a game that went above and beyond a normal Whack-A-Mole game to give you a wacky, funny business-oriented game where you climb the ladder, only to spank your boss!” Instead, I’m here telling you that this is a game that you will regret paying for.
[+Smooth gameplay] [*Uninspired music] [*Shoddy animation]
Playing under certain circumstances rewards you with new characters, levels, enemies, and bosses. From the brown-nosing Hypocrite to the slutty Office Bimbo, each character provides a new experience each time which adds hours to its lifespan.
Developer Iddiction, Inc. set out to make a time waster, and in that, they succeeded. Though the little fun you do have with the game subsides exponentially after the first play through, enough content was added to keep people coming back. With six additional characters, new levels and enemies with each passing game, quite a few achievements, and leaderboards,Office Politics proves that quantity over quality is not always a bad thing, as long as you are not trying to make a game too ambitious.
That being said, Office Politics is by no means a “terrible” game, I just would not recommend it to anyone. For $1.99, it has just enough content to warrant the price, but it does not have the lasting value or enough fun to keep it on your Apple device. Then you will scold yourself because you spent two dollars on a game you deleted after twenty minutes, while games like Infinity Blade are just $0.99 right now. It does have the additional content to keep you hooked for a little while, possibly longer if this game sounds right up your alley.
[+Plenty of additional features] [+Somewhat high replayability] [* $1.99 might be too high for some people]
I might have come into this game with a higher expectation than I should have, and I feel that muddled my enjoyment quite a bit. If I was told it was a little game of Whack-A-Mole, I would have known what to expect, and not had wonderful images of picking a ninja and stealthily assassinating co-workers with ninja stars to their spine in my head. There is humor here and it kept me going for the sake of this review, but I never stopped feeling like I could have been playing something more fun.
[+Easy to pick up and play] [+Decent boss battles] [+Tight controls] [+Smooth gameplay] [+Good looking characters] [+Plenty of additional features] [+Somewhat high replayability] [*Short] [*Uninspired music] [*Shoddy animation] [* $1.99 might be too high for some people] [-Novelty wears off quickly]