Title: BurgerTime Party!
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Reviewed On: Switch
Publisher: XSEED Games
Gordon Ramsey, Guy Fieri, Bob Belcher, SpongeBob SquarePants, and your local Five Guys burger chefs are but just some of the best burger chefs of our time. While each one has mastered the craft of flipping burgers in their way, all of them share one thing: a love for burgers. This love is universal, no matter where you go, you’re bound to find yourself a burger joint of some sort.
Back in the 1980s, Japanese developer Data East shared a similar passion for burgers as they decided to create a game focused on a chef’s ultimate battle to make these delicious sandwiches. The 1982 arcade game BurgerTime was that game, and now, it’s back and better than ever in the form of BurgerTime Party!, developed by G-Mode, which has new ingredients thrown into the mix to make it enjoyable for old-school players and newcomers alike.
Similar to the original, BurgerTime Party! is centered on Peter Pepper, a master burger chef who has the hottest grill in town. As many chefs know, cooking doesn’t always go as planned, which is what happens with Peter after he invents a brand-new burger. You see, the ingredients that got chopped from Peter’s latest burger recipe end up coming to life and become Food Foes that jump out of trash cans, with the foes being Mr. Hot Dog, Mr. Pickle, Mr. Egg, and Mr. Donut. Because of this, BurgerTime Party! becomes an ultimate battle of Man vs. Food — where it’s either make burgers or die trying — that I, and I’m sure many of you, probably never saw coming.
The premise is silly and isn’t supposed to be rooted or thought-provoking by any means. There isn’t a story to go through here. However, I wasn’t expecting it to have one. It could work in some weird way (preferably, not in the way that the film “Sausage Party” worked), but like with some burgers, it’s better to keep things simple.
The whole zany start of BurgerTime Party! carries over to its bite-sized puzzle gameplay where you’ll serve up the best burgers in town. That said, you don’t just flip them on a grill and call it a day — you have to walk over the ingredients, like hamburger buns, lettuce, tomatoes, and of course, burger patties, so they can stack together to form a delicious burger. In itself, this would be an FDA violation of the highest degree, but hey, this is a video game we’re talking about, rules, laws, and whatever else don’t have to apply. During gameplay, players need to move up and down platforms via ladders to access a floor with ingredients. It’s then that players have to walk over the ingredients to force them to drop down a platform, and the goal is to do this until all burgers are made entirely.
With Food Foes coming out of trash cans and chasing players around to stop burgers from being made, making burgers isn’t so easy in BurgerTime Party!. All of the foes may chase you, but each enemy has a different style for doing so — for instance, Mr. Hot Dog runs straight towards you, whereas Mr. Pickle runs around randomly, making it hard to gauge where he’ll end up. You lose a life if they touch you, but you can temporarily stop the,m by dropping ingredients on them or stun them by spraying them with black pepper or using a powerup like a jalapeno breath powerup.
What BurgerTime Party! does well in is balancing simplicity with complexity so that any age that plays the game can have a fun time. For those that want to make burgers, they can do just that without a care in the world, but others who are seeking a challenge can test their burger-making-skills by trying to reach the highest score possible. For me, I started off trying to finish each level as quickly as possible, thinking that the faster I completed the level, the better the score I’d get. However, I quickly realized that being strategic is the key to score significant bonuses, as outsmarting enemies and having them fall alongside the ingredients is what granted me the incredible scores I was hoping to reach. With hazards that also come up, like icy platforms that have you quickly zip across without having the chance to stop, the game can be frantic, but that’s what makes it fun, just like how a burger joint kitchen can be during busy dinner hours. Challenge Burger mode also puts your skills to the test as you clear stages in hopes of getting ranked in the online leaderboard.
Alongside the singleplayer mode offerings, there are other local multiplayer modes in BurgerTime Party! that make it a party game for you and your fellow burger-loving buds to play. Main Burger mode is a co-op mode for 1-4 players to make burgers in slightly bigger stages, and then there’s Battle Burger mode, a competitive mode for 2-4 players in which it’s cooks versus cuisine. My friends and I happened to enjoy the Main Burger mode more since it was far more hectic, all-around challenging, and had various powerups right from the start. In the mode, we all had to not only work together but also watch out for a ton of Food Foes. Whereas in Solo Burger mode, where I was so focused on following through with my strategy, in Main Burger mode, it was a matter of everyone I was playing with to be on the same page or else, we’d fail in our burger-making mission.
Battle Burger mode was fun initially, especially given that it lets you control one of the Food Foes, it quickly got stale. The main culprit as to why was that the gameplay loop was a little too simple. It boils down to being a quick game of cat and mouse, and once you’ve played it the first time, the fifth time is no different. There isn’t enough variety in the mode to keep it fresh, so that’s why my group of pals and I decided to stop playing it and played the Main Burger mode instead. Being able to add bots would’ve probably helped make Battle Burger mode a bit more fun, to be honest, I was disappointed that there wasn’t the option to add bots. I was also bummed out about the lack of online multiplayer, but maybe it’ll be added later down the line.
What was a pleasant surprise, though, was the vibrant and old-school cartoon art style in BurgerTime Party!. It fits the game well, and the upbeat soundtrack further captures the whole cartoon vibe of the game. Performance-wise, controls are solid and precise, and I never experienced any framerate issues, bugs, or glitches while playing making BurgerTime Party! a smooth experience.
While it isn’t revolutionary, BurgerTime Party! is a deliciously simple yet fun arcade game that any player can enjoy. That said, BurgerTime Party! is best played in short bursts as it loses it’s flavor pretty quickly. If you’ve been looking to relive the good old days of BurgerTime, or want to have a good time making burgers, then BurgerTime Party! could be a party for you.
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