Imagine being jammed in a room full of strangers with no windows or doors. You’re stuck together with your new cell-mates in this purgatorial nightmare until someone figures how to get you all out. Or the Rapture comes. Either way, you’ve got a lot of time on your hands to get to know your new `friends` and figure out which one will be the first to go nuts. What better way to help with that than by asking them if they have the time.
You see, such a seemingly innocent question actually has no end of answers that can help determine a person’s mental state, ranging from responding with the actual time (boring, avoid!) to not wearing a watch (ill prepared!), Hammer time (trapped in the past), Miller Time (party animal), Chico Time (undoubtedly the nutter in waiting)… the list goes on. But this reviewer will be willing to bet that in the millennia you’re trapped there, no one will ever say Burger Time.
Not surprising really given that the original release of Burger Time didn’t set the world on fire, but MonkeyPaw Games are looking to change that, putting it into the forefront of people’s minds with the recent release of World Tour. It’s been a long time since the original, close to the thirty years in fact, and the first thing you’ll find is that the gameplay in World Tour hasn’t really changed much.
Guide Peter Pepper the chef (or your Avatar if you’d prefer when playing on XBLA) around the platforms avoiding Mr Egg, Mr Hot-Dog etc (here given `hilarious` new names such as Frank Furter and Sonny) whilst walking over the Burger ingredients built into the platforms to make them fall and create a slap up burger. Time it right to catch enough enemies in the falling ingredients and you’ll rack up the points. Complete the burgers in the level and it’s on to the next. World Tour doesn’t really tinker with the very basic formula of the original and while it’s arguable if it ever could have, lest it become something else, it’s this rigidity which plays a large part in its downfall.
The game tries to keep things fresh by mixing in a few modern elements, such as ditching the 2D levels for wrap around 3D towers. A nice idea, sadly it makes things a little confusing as you blunder around the level looking for the ingredients and the curvature means things some time roll into view when you weren’t expecting them. Nice if it’s a power-up, no so nice if it’s an enemy that, if you’re lucky enough that it doesn’t kill you, then tries to chase you down. This is where World Tour’s other main issue comes into play – the controls, like a jar of mayonnaise left in the sun for a week, are sloppy and make a real chore out of trying to avoid the rogue foodstuffs.
There’s also the inclusion of new food based enemies, some level bosses or environmental traps, and power-ups such a spatulas to avoid and fend off enemies, but by and large you’ll really feel like you’re still playing a game which is probably much older the its target audience. Unlike the other recent updates of titles which are even older, such as Pac-Man CE DX and Space Invaders Extreme / Infinity Gene, here the presentation isn’t really up to much. While the developers might have thought that it was endearing to have an opening scene where Frank Furter drives past you in a car hurling abuse, it’s an inclusion that ends up as baffling and it is pointless. Not just because Hot-dogs can’t drive cars, but because it genuinely feels bereft of any charm.
By sticking so close to the original title, the dated gameplay and mechanics quickly become boring, so while there’s a wealth of different levels to conquer, you’ll probably have lost interest in the game long before you get half way. While there’s a multiplayer mode, the fact that the title seems to have been vastly overlooked means you’ll have little hope of finding anyone to play against.
It’s undoubtedly a harsh criticism, but Burger Time World Tour ends up as a classic example of a title that no one really asked for. In the crowded market that the download sphere finds itself in at the moment, it really is the kiss of death. In fact it would probably be fair to say that it’s more fun being stuck in the metaphorical room mentioned at the start of this review, playing hunt the nutter, because at least it would probably be more interesting.
Hopefully this is one case of what goes on tour, stays on tour.