For years, Data East’s BurgerTime has been seen in collections and re-releases time and time again. Sometimes it’s been great, like with the original arcade game; and sometimes, well, you get BurgerTime World Tour, which rightfully vanished without a trace.
But now we have BurgerTime Party, Xseed and G-Mode’s attempt to bring the game into the modern age with an all-new art style and a focus on couch multiplayer. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it solo — you can. The real question, though, is if the game is, ahem, “well done” enough.
In the game, you play a chef, given the task to put together giant burgers by walking over its ingredients and making them slam down through the floors into a full-blown patty. Never mind the sanitation complaints, this is about entertainment!
As you proceed to do this, rival foods will battle against you, including pickles and eggs. More than likely, they’re not pleased with you trying to put together burgers. So you’ll either need to avoid them or use one of your precious pepper sprinkles to subdue them and finish the level in a timely manner.
This isn’t structured like the arcade game. Instead, G-Mode opted to create a puzzle-style format with BurgerTime. It mostly works, though I’m still nostalgic for the original. Basically, your job is to complete levels as fast as you can, with your best times being posted to an online leaderboard. This introduces a fun, competitive component to the game, though some players may be wondering just how some certain players managed to get such low times. Do they have “chef’s kiss” powers or what?
The format change may throw off some, but it works pretty well here, as starting levels go down easy. But as you get into the later stages and incorporate some new gimmicks to keep the rival food off your back, things tend to get tricky. That’s not a complaint in the least; you just need to be prepared for a challenge.
BurgerTime’s gameplay continues to be just as good as the original, though some of the new gimmicks — like needlessly crawling through vents, for example — aren’t the most fitting for the series. No matter, as it’s still satisfying watching a pickle get thrown to its death after trying to stop you from completing the meal. That’ll teach ya!
Along with single player, BurgerTime Party does incorporate local co-op, where you work together to structure the burgers. It’s a neat idea, and there’s also competitive play as well for score building. But it also overcrowds the game needlessly. It might also explain why Xseed didn’t go all out to include online multiplayer. If it’s a versus edge you’re after, I advise you sticking to the leaderboards. Multiplayer can be chaotic with the right group, but Overcooked! 2 it isn’t.
The presentation makes up for it in some ways. It’s not nearly as smooth as what Cuphead pulled off months ago, but the 30’s-esque animation and level design is inspired, replacing the old visuals from the 80’s game. Again, it can get a little nuts with so many players on the screen; but going solo is just about right.
I just wish the music was a little more inspired. What’s here isn’t bad, but doesn’t seem to match up with the charm of the original soundtrack. It’s okay, though.
In the end, BurgerTime Party may not be one of my ultimate favorite arcade revivals, but it’s definitely got enough “service with a smile.” I could’ve done without some of the gimmicks; and some structure resembling the arcade game wouldn’t have been a bad thing. Also, I admire the gusto of going for multiplayer, but it doesn’t always work.
That said, the new presentation is pretty solid; the puzzle structure gives the game longevity; and the online leaderboards can make for some fun competition. And, hey, you get to send eggs back to their rightful place in food hell. (That’s right, don’t @ me.)If it’s an old-school cooking revival you’re after, and you’re a little tired of Overcooked!, then Burgertime Party should be the next thing you order up. Just mind its little flaws while you try to partake in the flavor.
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