The modern-day office setting is middle-class culture’s metaphor for purgatory: spending long hours engaging in meaningless tedium. It almost feels as if nobody would notice were a zombie outbreak to occur. Almost.
One intrepid office worker (that’s you…pay attention) sees what’s happening, and takes action at beating back the horde with anything he can find. Let’s be clear; imagine Office Space crossed with Dead Rising, and that’s pretty much all you need to know about Corporate Lifestyle Simulator.
This game takes place in an isometric office setting, which is functional enough but frankly not the best view for this type of game. A top-down view like in Smash TV would make navigating environments much easier by showing clear through-lines. Then again, perhaps the skewed perspective is part of the point.
The visual style of this game is very sparse, with everything being composed of blocky pixels. Environments are minimally detailed, and character design is evocative of the Commodore 64 classic Jumpman. What they’re going for is a ‘so ugly it’s kind of beautiful’ aesthetic that Hotline Miami pulled off a couple of years ago.
What Corporate Lifestyle Simulator lacks in surface detail, it makes up for in ‘wrecking stuff’ detail. Pretty much everything (and everyone) in this game is destructible; it can be shot, stabbed, smashed, or blown up. Zombies are identical throughout the game, with their relative difficulty being signified by the color of their suits. Every few levels, you encounter a boss character which has some kind of special attacks. None of the bosses are particularly difficult and just require circle strafing and patience to take them down.
Most of the levels consist of running around the office, finding and killing the zombie with a card key, and getting to the exit area. Along the way, extra points are given for how much of the environment is destroyed and for how many survivors are saved along the way. Survivors are useful because, while not very strong, they provide safety in numbers and can even act as a kind of decoy so you can get away. I normally try to save everyone in this type of game, but, due to the frantic nature of this game and the low consequence of losing a follower, I had no problem making the tough call and looking out for Number One.
In general, the game does a decent job of distinguishing between your character, friendly NPCs that can help you out, and the zombies. In all the chaos, and partly because of the messy graphics, it can get a little difficult keeping track of who’s who. Thankfully, friendly fire is not an issue here so bashing away on allies doesn’t affect your progress. Corporate Lifestyle Simulator is also pretty forgiving with its hit boxes, which makes combat more fun that it appears at first glance. There are a ton of weapons that unlock throughout the game, and ammo is plentiful enough that you never feel like you should hoard them ‘just in case’.
While the game itself is pretty fun, where it truly excels is with its fan-freaking-tastic sountrack, which is available to purchase on Steam separately or as part of a full package. The soundtrack consists of 36 tracks, and they are as brilliant as they are diverse. Even if this game doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, its soundtrack is well worth picking up for anybody who’s a fan of chiptunes.
Corporate Lifestyle Simulator has a funny concept to be sure, but its arcade game aesthetic and simplicity of purpose really hit home with me. It’s a short game, and it doesn’t randomly generate levels so the replay value may be lower than what one may originally think. With that in mind, it’s cheap and I certainly had a blast (literally) playing it through. I would heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a good ‘blowing off steam’ game after a long day at the office.
[+Funny premise] [+Super easy to pick up and play] [+Amazing soundtrack] [-Isometric view not the best idea] [-Chaos can be overwhelming]