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BurgerTime World Tour Review

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On 11/08/2011 at 03:00 PM by Julian Titus

Someone needs to call the health inspector, because this joint is selling some rancid burgers.

If you really, really need a new game with classic arcade gameplay, you might find something here. But there are far better games out there that are way more deserving of your purchase.

When it comes to updating classic arcade games, there’s a right way to go about it, and a wrong way. Last year, Namco showed us the right way to do a modern take on a classic game with the excellent Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. This year, we get to see the other side of the coin, thanks to Frozen Codebase’s release of BurgerTime World Tour. I’m not a picky eater by any means, but this is a burger that I’d send back to the kitchen.

BurgerTime is one of those fondly-remembered arcade games that I’ve actually never played. Even so, I am aware of it and understand the basic concept enough to know that, yep, this is a BurgerTime game. You’ll play as burger chef Peter Pepper as he climbs ladders, crosses platforms, and assembles giant hamburgers. You’ll have to avoid sentient food ingredients like walking sausages and jumping pickles because, hey, why not? Peter will also have to contend with a different rival chef in each of the four regions he visits (America, Mexico, France, Japan) who not only want to shut him down, but want him dead! Who knew that flipping burgers was such serious business?

BurgerTime was a shallow experience to begin with, so Frozen Codebase needed to add some toppings to this plain burger. Changes abound in World Tour, while keeping the core of the original game intact. The biggest change to the game mechanics is the addition of the jump button, which purists may decry, but is absolutely necessary for the vertically-scrolling levels. And that brings me to the first of BurgerTime’s problems (and there are many): the levels are many screens high, but your ability to see ahead of you is extremely limited. Climbing up a ladder is a game of chance, as enemies and obstacles tend to hang out at the top, ready to kill you without a moment’s notice. There were many levels where I had nowhere to go but up, only to get killed as soon as I hit the next platform because I couldn’t avoid the enemy waiting for me.

That’s a recurring theme in BurgerTime, actually. The game seems to throw the player into impossible situations, where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The controls are frustratingly imprecise, to the point that I felt like I was completing the levels through dumb luck than any real skill. Peter Pepper has a floaty jump that makes Luigi in Super Mario Bros. 2 feel like he’s in total control. Hit detection is also spotty, and when you combine that with the loose jumping and unresponsive controls you get a game that feels broken and almost unplayable.

Peter can use his pepper shaker to stun enemies, which you can then pick up to slam onto a burger. This has the dual benefit of finishing the burger faster and increasing your score. But once again, the finicky controls get in the way, and it’s not uncommon to be pressing the “grab” button over and over with no result until the enemy comes to and kills you. You can grab power-ups to help you out, with the spatula being the most useful, as it kills enemies outright. When it works, anyway; I experienced glitches where the item simply wouldn’t work no matter how many times I hammered on the button.

Eventually, I began to compensate for the horrid controls, and I began to have a little bit of fun with BurgerTime. You can use your avatar in place of Peter Pepper, and that was kind of cool. I thought about buying the Batman avatar suit so that I could pretend that I was playing a much better game, but that would have meant that I spent money to play BurgerTime, and I couldn’t stand for that. Even this modicum of fun that I gleaned out of the game went away, as every element of World Tour left me with indigestion.

The art style is rather awful, and the design for Peter Pepper and the rival chefs is nothing short of ugly. The enemies tend to blend in with the overly busy backgrounds, resulting in even more cheap deaths. The music and sound design is repetitive and I found myself feeling assaulted by the terrible music. Thankfully I didn’t have to suffer through it during France, as my game glitched out on me and I never actually heard any music for those ten levels. Boss battles were also added, but these are tedious affairs that aren’t so much challenging as they are annoying. In a perfect example of “why did you bother?” BurgerTime World Tour features multiplayer modes, but as you can imagine, I never found anyone playing online to try this mode out.

I can usually find something fun to latch on to with any game, but I was hard-pressed to find any reasons to recommend BurgerTime. The avatar support was a cool addition, and every now and then I would get into a zen-like state where it felt like I was really playing well. But then I’d get thrown into another impossible situation where all I could do was die because of hidden enemies or poor hit detection or both, and the moment was lost. I love me some burgers, and I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur of them. If Pac-Man C.E. DX is a gourmet restaurant burger, consider World Tour to be a 99 cent McDonald’s hamburger. If you close your eyes and think about something else you might get some enjoyment out of it, but it won’t satisfy your hunger.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Travis Hawks Senior Editor

11/08/2011 at 05:12 PM

That's too bad. The original was frustrating, but addictive enough that we kept putting quarters in it anyway.


11/15/2011 at 08:35 PM

funny thing is - I ENJOY those 99 cent McBurgers.

Maybe I'll just throw this ten bucks on GrimGrimoire.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

11/15/2011 at 09:05 PM

Some friends of mine tried the demo and felt I was too harsh. But the problems don't really start to crop up until mid-way through the first world.

If you have 800 points burning a hole in your pocket, try out Fusion Genesis.

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