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Miss Management

Score: 96%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Brighter Minds
Developer: Gamelab
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Simulation/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

Miss Management is a time-management game filled with quirky and colorful characters of all types. Graphics, while not lush, are exaggerated and cartoony and are basically there to make you grin. You'll start off in a really dingy office, but then Denise spruces the place up and the surroundings get a little nicer. Then, you'll move to a few different locations, but aside from a few minor aesthetic changes, your areas will look a lot alike.

You'll got desk areas, with Denise's always being in the bottom right. Whoever you happen to be working with at the time will have a desk there. People get shifted around and come and go and that helps to keep you on your toes since you can't memorize who sits where. The workers all need distractions and the arcade machine, smoking area, microwave and water cooler all come in handy for this. In later levels, there's even a treadmill! All are very clear and easy to recognize, so you can click them in an instant.

There's written text, but no voiceovers, but this is just as well. With lines that can sometimes be really cheesy and silly, voiceovers could be scary. There's always a nice, upbeat tune playing in the background to keep you motivated and at certain times, you'll hear other sound effects as well. Clicking on computers always occurs when a task is being worked on. You might hear the microwave humming and you'll definitely hear some bleeps and bloops when one of the workers jumps on the arcade machine. All in all, the sound effects aren't spectacular, but that's not what a game like this is about.


First off, Miss Management comes to us from Gamelab, the folks who brought us Diner Dash. Much like Diner Dash, you'll be clicking away as you direct the happenings at this office instead of at a diner. You play as Denise, the new office manager for C.A.I., a company that does, well, I am sure they do something, but I'm not clear on what it is exactly. They do generate color-coded tasks of four different types and that's mainly what you need to worry about. But first, the crazy office workers! Denise is a red-headed cutie with a level head, and boy will she need it when she starts meeting the others. There's Mahavir, the suave Pakistani ladies man. His lines are quite cheesy, but he's amusing. There's Winston, the tech guy, who loves to play video games (a bit of stereo-typing, are we?). There's Tara the artist, who is painfully shy and cowers in fear from Pearl, the older lady who has been working for C.A.I. for 40+ years and thinks she knows it all. Then there's Timothy the accountant, who frets a lot and has a strange love for beef stroganoff. There's Nadine, the raven-haired financial and writing whiz with a bad attitude, and she hates Luke, the cowboy boot wearing hippie who is a bit too fond of "herbal" medicine, if ya get me. You've got Ashley, the red-headed prissy niece of one of the boss men who excels at art and shopping. Huh? Lastly, there's Donovan, Ashley's uncle, who sticks his nose into the working of the place and likes to mess things up, and finally, Brooke, the CEO-by-marriage, exercise freak and all-around high strung chick. Whew.

If you played Diner Dash at all, you might remember that not only did you have various tasks to do around the diner, but you also had personalities to consider. In other words, you couldn't seat the cell phone chatters next to the bookworms, and so on. Well, in Miss Management, you've got a similar ordeal. Some workers smoke, others hate it. Some like the radio and arcade, others are driven mad by the noise. Some people like to hang out by the water cooler and other people get really mad at laziness. As the office manager, it's your job to keep your workers from stressing out. If they stress out, they go home and their tasks for that day can't be completed. Your job will be to collect each color-coded task and bring it to the appropriate employee, buy them perks like donuts and coffee to keep them chill and to send them to the restroom and on breaks of the variety that they favor to keep their stress levels down. You'll earn stars depending on how you do. Basically, you have mandatory goals you have to perform in a certain amount of time and by doing that, you earn stars. You can take as long as you need, it just cuts down on your number of stars and your overall score. As you progress, additional goals will be added that you can do, if you want. Doing them ups morale and also your score. Goals include crazy stuff like having a certain employee do a certain number of tasks, sometimes tasks that they hate. Maybe having Mahavir chat up one of the ladies for 60 seconds in one consecutive day. While that may sound easy, it's not if you have another employee who hates seeing people hanging out at the water cooler and their stress level shoots through the roof when they see the flirting.

Your tasks are color-coded so you can easily tell what kind of task it is and hopefully, get them to the employees quicker. Blue tasks are technical, purple tasks are writing, green tasks are financial and brown tasks are art. Mahavir is an all-around guy who can work on anything, but you've got ornery folks like Nadine and Winston who hate doing art tasks. When they are given one, their stress level goes way up. Meanies like Pearl enjoy seeing other employees suffer and when she implements PROJECT PEARL, things go haywire! You have to learn to balance things, giving employees tasks they hate in short spurts so they don't get too angry. If everyone is mad and the tasks build up to the level that they fill the desk, then Denise's stress level goes crazy and when she stresses out completely, the day is shot and you lose the partial progress you may have made on certain goals.

There are several power-ups that you can purchase with your petty cash, which goes up by a few dollars with each task that gets accomplished. You start the episode with a few bucks, but then it increases, so Denise can run to the store and stock up on donuts, coffee, cinnabuns, special flavored coffee, weird health drinks that only Luke likes, diet sodas that Denise is addicted to, and brownies to decrease Denise's stress level. You can also buy technical manuals that will increase an employee's ability in a type of task for one day. So you can get a technical book for Tara and the artist girl can do all the techie jobs for that day. The rub is that you only have 6 slots and so you are limited by your funds and the number of open slots. It may seem like a lot, but when you are pumping your employees full of coffee and sweets to keep them happy, they go quickly.


Miss Management's difficulty level is actually quite perfect. You are given a nominal number of goals to complete and there's really no penalty for taking as many days as you need to so that you complete them. As you complete goals, more optional goals open up and you can do them if you are a completest like me, but you aren't forced to. That way, if you simply want to get through all 30 episodes within the 5 seasons just to see the story, you can do that. Personally, I found it relatively easy to complete all of the goals, even the optional ones, within the allotted time to get the stars. It was only until the final three levels that I quit doing the optional goals simply because I couldn't see getting through them. Once you get to that point, people's stress levels increase at such a rapid rate that it's all you can do to keep them placated with cinnabuns and super-caf coffee so they don't stroke out.

Game Mechanics:

The mechanics of Miss Management couldn't be more simple. You'll click on employees to send them hither and yon. You'll click on tasks to pick them up and bring them where they need to be dropped off. You'll click on treats for employees and then click on the person's desk you want to give it to. Are you sensing a pattern here? Point, click, it's just that simple. If you are fast on the draw, you can click a few tasks ahead of Denise and you'll see check marks indicating a few things are lined up. Be careful, however, because employees stress when they have a pile of stuff on their desk.

Occasionally, I had issues with the clicking. There were times I found myself with a donut in hand and I decided I didn't want to drop it off to an employee after all, but I couldn't return it to the supply area. I had to then use it. Aside from that, you've got simple, fun, frantic gameplay with a silly but funny storyline. Once you beat the game, there's even an epilogue that tells what happens to each of the employees when they leave C.A.I. It's funny stuff.

Miss Management is a blast. If you like games like Diner Dash and Cake Mania, then you had better truck on over to Target to get this title because that is the only retail outlet where you'll be able to purchase a boxed copy. I highly recommend this game. It's great fun and while it has a few off-color references in the game so you may not want young kids to play it, anyone who has worked in the business world will enjoy this and get a kick out of the wacky stereotypes. You might just see yourself in there.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:


Windows 2000/XP/Vista, P4 800 MHz, 256MB Ram, Min. Screen Resolution: 800x600, DirectX Version 7.0, 35MB Hard Drive Space


Mac OS X 10.3 or later, 800 mHz PowerPC G4 or Intel, 512MB Ram, 800x600 Display, 35MB Hard Drive Space


Test System:

Sony VAIO laptop, 2GHz, 1GB Ram, integrated sound and video

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated