BurgerTime is a 1982 classic that stands the test of time. It takes the mundane premise of making hamburgers and gives it an addictive arcade spin that’s easy to play, but a real challenge to master. However, unlike the likes of Pac-Man, BurgerTime’s appeal didn’t reach as broad of an audience. As such, the game has seen very few ports, remasters, or sequels. In fact the last game in the franchise was released back in 2011 (BurgerTime World) and it was pretty universally panned in reviews. With that in mind, it would be appropriate to approach the newest entry, BurgerTime Party, with caution. With Overcooked all the rage on the Switch, is there room for another meal-making multiplayer game on the system?
Despite being a modernization, the classic gameplay of BurgerTime is still intact. You scale multilayered levels via ladders, and walk across different ingredients in order to press them down and have them fall downward to form a hamburger. Food-based enemies will chase you across the board with each one having their own pattern of movement. A special guest enemy from the Game Boy game has the unique ability to charge at you if you’re in its line of sight, so watch out! You have a limited supply of Pepper that you can use to stun enemies if you get in a pinch (see what I did there?). Throughout the stage are collectible items that will randomly appear for more points.
At its core the game remains true to the traditional formula, however there are new elements mixed in as an attempt to shake things up. The original games only spanned a few levels, so they never really expanded on the gameplay as the game progressed. This time there are a bunch more levels to conquer and thankfully new wrinkles and challenges are added along the way. For example, there are now broken ladders and platforms that crumble to pieces a few seconds after you touch them, ice platforms that you can slip and slide around on, conveyor belts that either speed up or slow down your movement, and gutters that can teleport you to another platform on the board. These small additions add to the variety and are much needed to update a series that’s almost 40 years old.
But of course, what kind of party would this be if you couldn’t play with a group of friends? While there is a rather juicy amount of single-player content, the game also heavily promotes its multiplayer side. The multiplayer is split between two game modes. One has you and three friends working together to clear normal levels, while the other is a battle mode where you can take control of either Peter Pepper or one of the food enemies. There is also an online leaderboard for the solo levels in the game, adding an extra layer of challenge to the levels.
Even though the multiplayer is the most advertised aspect of the game, sadly it does not feel that well thought out. As the saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth. The standard multiplayer just features the normal levels of the game and they don’t feel built for multiplayer. The fun of BurgerTime is gaining the control of your kitchen. Getting enemies to the exact spot you want, planning out combos, the contained chaos is a big part of its appeal. When you have 4 players working at once, that control is now gone as you have every player doing their own thing and the enemies become unpredictable as they spread out trying to catch every player. It’s not the fun type of chaos that games like these thrive on, instead sucking out the strategy of the game completely. The battle mode feels better equipped for multiplayer, but that’s about the only compliment I can give it.
While normally a game being packed with content might sound like a good thing, it really backfires in this game. There are over 100 levels and even with the new gimmicks introduced throughout it seems like only about 15 are filled with original ideas. In other words, the game is very padded out and it becomes boring after you’ve reached level 20 or so. This hurts the replayability, as I can’t imagine anyone wanting to sit through 100 levels of this game and enjoying it. This is a rare occasion where less content might have helped rather than hinder the game. Perhaps more time should have been spent in creating unique multiplayer levels instead of shoehorning 4 players into the regular courses.
Overall, BurgerTime Party feels more like a budget game than anything else, and that’s aside from the gameplay. This game looks like a mobile game both in graphics as well as things like menus, art style, and even a medal system that seems ripped straight out of the App Store. The character designs have a very 1930’s cartoon feel to them, very similar to the likes of Cuphead. However, the designs here are just unpolished enough that they come off as cheap and generic. The characters seem out of place on the generic and bland looking backgrounds, which really brings the overall visuals down. Unless BurgerTime is one of your favorite games of all time and you have an urge to play through 100 levels of burger creating action, this one is probably a pass. It’s not that it’s a horrible game, it’s that it does nothing to push the series forward in a fun and meaningful way.
BurgerTime Party Review
- Graphics - 4.5/104.5/10
- Sound - 5/105/10
- Gameplay - 5.5/105.5/10
- Lasting Appeal - 4/104/10
Final Thoughts: MEDIOCRE
BurgerTime Party is a mediocre introduction of the series to a new generation. The core gameplay remains the same, but everything else just hurts the experience. Lackluster level designs, content stretched to the point of tedium, undercooked multiplayer modes, and terribly unappealing aesthetics contribute to its downfall. As a budget title, this wouldn’t be so bad, but at the asking price of $20 you’re best off playing the original game.