Burgertime World Tour Review
Game: Burgertime World Tour
Developer: Monkeypaw Games/Frozen Codebase
Available on: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, PC (Reviewed via Xbox LIVE Arcade)
80s arcade classic Burgertime has been regurgitated into the 21st Century, courtesy of Monkeypaw Games. Rather than giving the ancient cabinet a simple lick of HD paint, the developers have created a new title that takes the burger flipping gameplay of the original, with new ingredients to bring the game up to modern standards. I’ve always got the hunger for a good retro remake, a hunger that hopefully Burgertime World Tour can satisfy – Order Up!
Burgertime World Tour has a narrative as thin as the slices of lettuce that the main character Peter Pepper uses to make his delicious giant burgers. The aforementioned chef challenges other culinary masters from around the world to make the tastiest (and largest) burger, stacking individual components by walking over them. Unfortunately, the main hazards in his way are the ingredients themselves; Pepper is pursued by all manner of anthromorphic food products, from killer sausages to diabolical fried eggs.
As you’d expect from a classic arcade-style game, that’s as indepth a narrative as you’ll get, just be thankful that the game didn’t try and add a love story and epic emotional struggle.
The developers could have just taken the 2D pixel based graphics of the original arcade game and drawn over them, but instead they have completely thrown them out to construct an all new 3D structure for this new Burgertime instalment. Honestly, for the main part everything is functional; no frills or anything particularly memorable in terms of design. Enemies look like how you would expect walking food items with evil eyes and sharp teeth to look, while Peter Pepper is just a typical chef character, with his handlebar ‘tashe and typical chef’s garb.
The main beef (zing!) with the graphics are that at times the enemies blend in with the environment too much, making it difficult to see the enemy that’s just about to sneak up from a nearby ladder. Because the levels are cylindrical, you can see the opposite sides of the level in the distance, which is incredibly distracting.
If Burgertime’s graphics can be considered functional, its sound is just plain generic. Certain pieces of music from the original Burgertime game have been brought back in a slightly tweaked form and honestly, it’s incredibly grating at times. Meanwhile, sound effects are generic and unmemorable.
The original Burgertime was a 2D platform puzzler in which the player navigates around a sort of scaffolding structure, with various layers of a burger (bun, burger, lettuce, cheese) on each level of the scaffolding. These layers need to be walked over to drop them down to the floor below, the objective being to stack the entire burger on the ground level. Should a runaway enemy sausage or other deadly ingredient end up being crushed under the weight of a falling burger layer, they are instantly killed and bonus points are earnt.
It’s a simple premise that has been updated by making the entire play area cylindrical in structure, with the environment revolving as the player traverses it. As per previous Burgertime titles, ladders and lifts are used to navigate vertically, but this time around there are wooden platforms that give way, and other platforms that rhythmically move.
In terms of Peter Pepper himself (or your Xbox avatar, as this can also be used in the main story mode), he has also been given the ability to jump; something lacking from the arcade original. As well as his pepper attack, used to stun enemies (this enables Peter Pepper to pick them up and either place them in strategic positions, or throw them at other enemies), there is also the opportunity to obtain various powerups that further improve your chances of survival.
The problem with Burgertime World Tour is that it is a game that, despite the few changes and additions made, is still desperately clinging onto the elements that made the original Burgertime what it was. Unfortunately those same elements created a repetitive and incredibly frustrating game, of which World Tour has sadly replicated.
On the occasions where you can actually see the enemies coming your way (thanks to the unusual viewpoint), there’s also an issue of poor collision detection; you could be hit by an enemy when you know that you weren’t even touching it – a frustrating turn of events that is compounded by one-hit kills and a limited number of lives. In a game where you are easily cornered by enemies you can’t even jump over, Burgertime World Tour is incredibly frustrating from the very start of the game, with little in the way of reward, should you persevere.
The game does have an easy mode selectable from the options screen which makes the game a little easier to deal with, but this makes it impossible to get scores and rankings required for some of the achievements. Another annoyance is that when you die a set number of times in any level on normal mode, you are given the opportunity to switch it down to easy mode. If you are impatient; mashing the A button to move past the game over screen, then it is incredibly easy to accidently confirm this change without realising. To turn the game back to normal you have to dive out of gameplay, back into the main menu, then options, then settings – and change it back to normal mode – an unnecessary amount of button presses and menu options to fix a setting you accidentally changed.
World Tour has added a new multiplayer mode, allowing 2-4 players to compete locally or online, as players rush through the same level to build as many burgers as possible, while stopping their opponents from doing the same. Local split-screen gameplay is a welcome change from the modern age of online multiplayer, the only problem being that the gameplay view is shrunk down so much, that it is can be even more difficult than normal to see what is going on.
With only a single multiplayer mode (with 10 different levels and a few configurable enemy/power-up options) it is unlikely anyone is going to play more than a few games of this – I picture Burgertime World Tour’s online lobbies to resemble a ghost town in a matter of weeks.
Burgertime World Tour consists of 50 maps (split into 4 countries), with every country ending in a boss battle. It will take you a little while to see everything the game has to offer, the problem being that the game is so repetitive and tedious that you will probably give up way before that happens.
While some of the levels start to differ in structure, once you figure out a burger stacking tactic that works (Pro Tip: Get to the highest part of the level, systematically walk over every burger component, before moving down to the next level down; repeat ad nausea) even the boss battles repeat the same tired structure as the other levels; only instead of stacking a set numerical amount of burgers, you are stacking a set number of burgers to deplete the enemy energy bar.
Once you’ve figured the game out, you’ll fly through it in a few hours. The only way you’ll get more out of the game is by improving your rank (by finishing within a certain time and getting a high score) or by going after the game’s achievements, such as “Finish every level without dying” or “Get a 5-star rank on every level”. If you have the patience and willpower to get through the entire game and get every achievement, I applaud your tenacity.
VERDICT: Burgertime World Tour is a remake of a game that needed to be left in the past. While I can appreciate the efforts to breathe new life into an admittedly unusual concept, the main problems with this game are down to the fundamental mechanics of the arcade game it is based on, rather than the developer’s own additions. To fix these issues would essentially stop the game being a remake and instead it would become a totally different game; maybe that should have been the intention in the first place. Only experienced Burgertime Chefs need apply.