BurgerTime World Tour

BurgerTime, originally released in 1982, was a platform game that tasked players with assembling burgers by walking on their various components. Those components (cheese, buns, meat - etc) were split out on a number of vertically separated platforms which you needed to navigate in order to successfully assemble the requisite number of burgers before you could proceed to the next level.

This core mechanic remains in this new version, however the 2D presentation - all that was possible in 1982, let's not forget - has moved into 3D (although gameplay is still 2D), with levels wrapped around a cylinder - a bit like Nebulous or ,a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8TWYgjldNk">Lemmings Revolution.

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Your goal, then, is to navigate the 2.5D worlds, assemble burgers, and avoid the food-themed enemies that are out to stop you. There's even boss levels, where your opposing burger joint owner attempts to stop you by firing things at you while you work.

The game is bizarrely difficult, even in "Easy" mode, which is suggested once you fail a few times. Arguably, a lot of the difficulty comes from the presentation which, while fun and appropriate, makes distinguishing enemies and environmental hazards much harder than it should be; they simply blend into the background.

Enemies are interesting, with simplistic variations that change the challenge which each represents. If you're able to time it right, you can nuke them when you make part of the burger fall - otherwise you'll need to rely on avoidance or one of several different powerups that dot the levels.

At the most basic level, the pepper powerup can be used to stun enemies, letting you run past them unharmed. A more effective method is the much rarer fishslice-like implement, that you can use to smack the crap out of an enemy - or several, should you time it well. There's even rockets to help you get to the very high parts of levels, which vary from a useful tool to an essential navigation device - depending on the situation.

Another factor that contributes to the difficulty is the fact that your character is extremely vulnerable; a single touch of an enemy will instantly kill you and consume one of your lives. Combined with the aforementioned difficulty to see the enemies much of the time, this can result in frustrating situations in which you fail a level for design reasons alone.

You can also be crushed by the many lifts in the game, or accidentally fall through sections of the level which flip between being there and not - thanks to the side-on camera, it can be difficult to tell which state they're in.

Visually it's pretty decent, most of the time. The cutscenes are the worst part; given they're used only to tell a dull "story", you have to wonder why they bothered at all - surely some sort of simple cartoon or comic-like presentation of the narrative would be a better choice? But the gameplay stuff is pretty cool, aside from the visibility of enemies, with the various food-related elements brought nicely to life.

So it's frustratingly difficult, then - frustrating not just because it makes it hard to progress, but because it makes it hard to love; an emotion that the game otherwise does fairly well to engender. The presentation - aside from the narrative, which is horrible - is charming, poppy, and fun. You want it to be good, and it mostly is - if you can handle the annoyance factor.

"Fun, if frustrating in parts"
- BurgerTime World Tour
Follow Own it? Rating: G   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 15 Min


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