Video Game: Middle Manager Of Justice

Middle Manager of Justice is a iOS superhero simulation game by Double Fine, perhaps best described as the deranged lovechild of Theme Hospital and Freedom Force. You play as the titular Middle Manager, tasked with running the local branch of the Justice Corp. franchise, which involves training up new superheroes and send them out to fight crime. The bulk of the game is focused on real-time micromanagement, constantly juggling the training and equipping of your heroes with researching new abilities, recovering their stats after battle, and earning enough money to kit out your headquarters. The game also has an optional action section where you can directly control your heroes, during their constant battles with the forces of evil, by choosing when to use their special powers and supporting them with items and support abilities.

The game provides examples of:

  • And I Must Scream: Implied by Cosmic Crowbar's backstory, where he was able to think, but his parasitic body was in control. He gets better; when his body is defeated, he takes control of it, and becomes The Atoner.
  • Anti-Hero: Gloomerang.
  • Arbitrary Head Count Limit: You can only bring four troops with you at any time.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Sweet Justice, being a huge fan of comics before applying to Justice Corp.
  • The Atoner: Cosmic Crowbar, who is upset about the things he did while his evil body was controlling him and wants to be a crimefighter in order to make things right.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: A giant robot. Later, a dragon. From Canada.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: That would be you. The world would be pretty hard to save without you organizing your branch's resources and training.
  • Big Bad: Skullface and Cranium are the main ones. The Aliens are the biggest threat, though.
  • Black and Nerdy: @man.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: If @man does the introductions at the start of a normal fight, he might mention that it's all a game that someone programmed.
    • Also, some muggers ask you to not fight them on the basis that they're doing this to get more money for in-app purchases.
  • Civvie Spandex: When you first hire your heroes their costumes costumes consist mostly of T-shirts with towels as capes. As they level up, you can buy proper spandex costumes for them.
  • Clones Are People Too: Cranium and Skullface team up to create armies of their own clones. However, two of the clones they create turn out to be perfectly well-mannered gentlemen who just so happen to have skulls for faces.
    • Jack is a nice guy who wants some macaroons.
    • Benny is a nice guy who wants some face cream for his dry skin.
    • Subverted with the other clones, however, all of whom are just as evil as the originals.
  • Comically Missing the Point / Major Injury Underreaction: An odd, alien parasite appears in the penultimate level of the game. These things suck humans into their bodies and are implied to digest the human's bodies, leaving the human head and brain for them to use as their own (which, according to Cosmic Crowbar, the parasites control). So what's one man's reaction to this? To declare that he doesn't want to get out so that he'll have a great beach body come summer.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: All of them, really.
  • Eye Beams: Crimebot's power to emit a laser from his eyes.
  • Forehead of Doom: Cranium has a huge forehead.
  • Funny Background Event: Various characters antics when working, resting, or relaxing.
    • When resting, every hero has their own teddy bear which fits their personality. For example, Surge's teddy bear is pink, Gloomerang's teddy bear is black, Masked Mummy's teddy is wrapped in bandages, and Galaxy Girl's teddy bear is an alien. Oddly enough, her alien doll looks a lot like the Final Boss. The teddy bear gag is taken Up to Eleven by Cosmic Crowbar, whose teddy is…a pipe wrench.
    • When in the rec room, @man is seen texting furiously, Galaxy Girl is seen eating a giant bowl of something that looks like cheese puffs, and Sweet Justice, Captain Premium, and Cosmic Crowbar are all seen knitting.
    • When doing desk work, Surge Protector spends the time talking on her headset while filing her nails. Admittedly, this is better than Gloomerang, who just sits at her desk with her headset on glaring at her computer screen. The only ones who actually do work are Galaxy Girl and Sweet Justice, who spend their time slowly entering data. Masked Mummy and Captain Premium just use the time to nap.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Galaxy Girl, although dialogue suggests that the green skin may just be a rash caused by Earth's atmosphere.
  • Grenade Spam: One of Crimebot's powers.
    Crimebot: "Grenades! One of Crimebot's favorite things to emit!"
  • Groin Attack: One can be seen on the level 2 TV in the rec room.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: According to Hot Head, this is his. Shows up in his bulletin board messages, his resume, and (occasionally) his banter.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Beastfly. No matter how good your heroes are, at best they'll have a 4% chance of victory against the giant bug. Usually it only takes the fly one or two stomps to knock out your entire force. And, as is befitting the trope, quite often your best option is to just let him rampage around whatever place he spawns in and just accept that you'll get less money from said place.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Happens with foot-based puns in the final battle against the giant robot, to the point that Surge Protector gets annoyed.
  • Large and In Charge: The aliens work this way; although initially the boss alien complains about this stereotype, he does admit to being in charge.
  • Late Character Syndrome: Cosmic Crowbar can be deployed effectively against villains…once trained up past level ten. Unfortunately, he only shows up at the late end of the game, and even if bought with max stats will still need some Level Grinding to get him up to the level of the other heroes at that point.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Including apparently giving you electricity-based superpowers if you happen to knock a bunch of plugged-in electronics into the bathtub right as lightning strikes.
  • Kill It with Fire: Hot Head, one of your potential heroes.
  • Mission Control: You basically serve as this during the field mission sections.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Crimebot's "Emit Missiles" power.
  • Orbital Bombardment: One of @man's superpowers. Strangely, even if the orbital bombardment hits a civilian or a hero, only the villains are harmed.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Justified, as the giant dragon comes from the distant planet of Canada. However, this dragon is pretty much just a giant monster that stomps on things, is never seen breathing fire, and is never seen flying.
  • Pungeon Master: Surge Protector likes to whip out puns once in a while, and her resume is composed largely of electricity-based puns.
    • The giant robot also loves his punnage.
  • Retired Badass: Captain Premium, technically. His card and resume state that he used to be a crimefighter, but has pretty much given it up to do consulting (which he is seen doing for the first hero hired). However, he's running low on money and is willing to take on some part-time work, making him an un-retired badass.
  • Retirony: Played for Laughs with one of the typical thug responses, where the thug says he was just six days from retirement.
    Thug: Don't do this! I just had six days until retirement!
  • Revenue Enhancing Devices: The game itself is free, and while the option to buy in-game currency is there, it isn't at all necessary.
  • Reverse Polarity: Played for Laughs with Crimebot's backstory. He was created by Cranium to commit crimes, but Cranium installed the "evil chip" upside down, making Crimebot into a justice-seeking hero.
  • Rocket Punch: Cranium's first scheme shows him plotting to do this with a stockpile of stolen missiles that have stolen boxing gloves attached to the end of them.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Galaxy Girl is one of them. Subverted by the actual aliens, which are closer to Little Green Men, and by Cosmic Crowbar, who is a crowbar in a humanoid body.
  • Shock and Awe: Surge Protector.
  • Shout-Out: Gloomerang's costume is based off of Batman's, and her dialogue mimics that of Rorschach.
  • Skull for a Head: Skullface, natch.
  • Spinning Newspaper: Every time a section of the game is defeated. Usually includes a main headline related to the plot directly and a second headline for a different, barely-related story. (i.e. the dragon section: After the dragon is defeated, the paper says that he has been deported to Canada while a second story mentions that the demand for dragon rolls at sushi restaurants has gone up.)
    • Damned by Faint Praise: The first paper you get, seen after defeating Skullface, says that he was taken down by an "adequately managed" Justice Corp. outlet.
  • Token Minority: @man is the only obvious minority character; granted, four of your other heroes are a mummy, an alien, a crowbar, and a robot.
  • Use Your Head: One of Cosmic Crowbar's special powers.