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27th April 2012; By KnucklesSonic8
The goal of each level is to stack oversized ingredients resting on platforms to form a giant burger at the very bottom of the playing field. To move them, simply pass over every inch of the respective ingredient to cause it to fall one level below its original position. If there is an item on the platform below, that item will get pushed down, and if there's one on the level below that, then that item will get pushed down as well. With that domino effect in place, you can imagine the mild presence of fun that would automatically result from such a structure.
The introductory cutscene that precedes the first instance of gameplay actually sets the stage a bit for the action that follows. As it turns out, your little chef character is quite the successful restaurant owner. However, one of the competing establishments isn't too pleased with your success. The owner has chosen to, instead of using vermin, send an army of walking frankfurters, spinning crackers, half-open eggs, and bouncing donuts. Somehow they manage to infiltrate the chef's security system and enter through your restaurant's doors. Where does he get such good help?
While many of these enemies are pretty good at trying to outsmarting you, knowing that the crackers follow a set pattern of going down any ladder in their path comes in handy. This still doesn't always protect you from winding up at a dead-end, though. In such cases, your pepper shaker will come in handy. When your rival enlisted the help of these animated food items, he neglected to ask them if they had any allergies. As it turns out, having pepper thrown in their face will force any of the food items to stop in their tracks while you make a clean getaway. Obviously you can't rely on this forever as you only have a small amount of pepper to work with, so it's important to develop a strategy of which ladders you ascend and when to leave an ingredient for later.
Getting back to those ingredients, players will earn 100 Points every time these drop, but can earn at least 400 more if you manage to send it downwards while an enemy is trying to cross over it. Some planning is required if you hope to acquire the bigger point values, setting it up so that two-thirds of the bun/the patty/whatever is already ready to be dropped. That way, as enemies start to come up to you from behind, you can slowly move forward and try to get as many as you can onto that one item before sending it off. Ordinarily, items come down one level, but the number of levels the items drop can vary depending on the number of enemies walking along the same line at the time. So if there are three enemies following you and you suddenly complete the end of the item, it will drop right down to the bottom of the level. When not luring these feisty enemies into a trap, you can also use the large ingredients to squash any situated on the platforms below; you just won't get any bonus points for doing so.
Although condiments and utensils may be absent from the food-themed party, there are some other treats that serve as power-ups to your miniature character. One of these is a chocolate bar that will turn your chef's outfit into a darker-coloured one (likely resembling the pepper), as if he now has such a mastery over pepper that the very scent just emits from his body. Naturally, this will produce the same allergic reaction in any of the enemies that get in his way, leaving them stunned for a short time (shorter than the normal pepper shakes, in fact). Other bonus items include a simple potato and a cup, both of which will award 500 Points when you collect them but have no other effects attached to them (at least from what I could see). And on occasion, a bonus pepper shaker or an extra 1UP will appear somewhere on the stage, but you'll have to be quick; just like tough times, they don't stick around for very long.
For the first couple levels, you'll only be dealing with just two buns and the patty, but later on, you'll be introduced to lettuce as well as hidden ladders that only become accessible once you drop some of these items. Also, not all enemies are introduced right off the bat. You only start to deal with the large, bouncing donuts towards the very end of the game. Other than that, though, there are very few surprises to be seen here. Interestingly, though, the game doesn't feel repetitive to the point of boredom, which is a good sign that the simple fun does hold up.
One thing I really appreciated about BurgerTime Deluxe was the fact that the gameplay doesn't feel rigid. You're not expected to know that enemies will pop out of the doors when you're right next to them. You're not forced to start with the bun and work your way down, and players can even chuck pepper at enemies while ascending or descending a ladder. Heck, I even got touched by an enemy right after my last item fell and the game quickly changed the situation from what would have been a loss of a life into a push to the next level! In short, there's quite a bit of flexibility to the game, and it's that quality that helps players feel in control over the different elements present. Even when you repeatedly are the cause of your own undoing time and again, there's something about the experience that makes you want to keep playing. Admittedly, the extent to which the game maintains a hold on you isn't strong, but it can still be somewhat addicting in its own right.
In terms of presentation, the background visuals aren't very dominant, but what you do see is a market scene with bricks, open signs, wall lamps, and the like. At the end of each area, you'll also watch cutscenes that try to add some humor to the mix, but I didn't find these to be very funny. Probably the most amusing part of the game actually stems from the character's little "death animation" where his eyes bulge and he constantly bounces off the floor before falling over. I also didn't think the music in this game was anything special, nor was it especially pleasing. The sound effects were kind of fun, though, as they make you feel like you just accomplished something or something special just took place. Aside one or two technical stutters, I think the attempted atmosphere works adequately for the concept.
The handheld's save state feature for VC games spares you of the trouble that comes from writing down and remembering passwords that are shown to you as you complete each of the six areas -- aptly-named, since their similarities don't allow them to be identified as worlds. The VS Game function that was built into the game has been disabled with this 3DS version, but you should be able to put in about an hour's worth of play time. Unless you see value in aiming for an impressive high score and showing off to your friends, you'll probably only return to it for some occasional plays here and there.
As I said before, there are very few surprises about this, so if after having done a bit of research on this title you think it might be for you, then go for it. Gameplay works well as an arcade concept and although the game doesn't hold a tight grip on you in terms of addiction, the flexibility in the game's approach certainly helps its case. It's a nifty little title that you may not necessarily come back to all that often, but it's still worth trying. And who knows, maybe the next time you get hungry for a little arcade snack, BurgerTime Deluxe will be one of the first stops you make.
20/30 - Good
Gameplay 7/10 - Fun arcade action, new elements introduced but few surprises occur, domino effect can be stacked, flexible game design
Presentation 7/10 - A sense of atmosphere is attempted, somewhat amusing, music isn't all that memorable, everything works adequately
Enjoyment 3/5 - Can be addicting at times but these moments don't last long, strategy encouraged, somewhat repetitive but not to the point of boredom
Extra Content 3/5 - Minimal replay value, probably won't feel too motivated to come back aside from a quick session or two, multiplayer disabled
Equivalent to a score of 67% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System