While never really regarded as a smash hit in arcades, the original BurgerTime has always been an entertaining little game. We recently got what is arguably the best older version, BurgerTime Deluxe, on the 3DS eShop, and now we finally have a completely new title that other platforms received a couple of months ago. But is it any good?
The basic premise of the game hasn't changed a bit. As Peter Pepper, who is curiously referred to constantly as "Chef Peter" in the manual, you have to move around a big stage while avoiding food that has managed to come alive, run across giant hamburger ingredients, and cause them to fall down onto a plate and create a burger. Once every burger has been made the stage will be cleared, you'll receive a rank for your efforts — a new feature — and you'll unlock the next stage.
While that is basically the same as before, you'll very quickly notice that the game has received many, many changes that aren't necessarily for the better. One nice change is the addition of different types of burgers. If you drop specific enemies onto a plate together with burger pieces, you may receive bonus points for making a special burger, such as an "Italiano" for creating a burger with a sausage enemy. Unfortunately the compliments both start and end there.
The older titles were all about planning ahead. Enemies, of which there tended to be many, moved relatively fast, and with the many long, narrow paths in every stage which you had to follow, you needed knowledge of specific enemy behaviour in order to quickly think up a path past the burger parts and around the baddies. In case you got cornered, your only saving grace was a limited supply of pepper, which you could throw at enemies to temporarily stun them and run past.
All of this strategizing has been thrown out the window here, because the enemies are now just about the least dangerous thing in the game. For starters, every single level starts you out with 10 lots of pepper, and as there are usually several pickups with additional pepper scattered around you're very, very unlikely to run out. But the biggest change is that Peter can now actually jump. Since only one of the four different types of enemies in this version can also jump — which they'll always do at the same time you do — you can avoid just about every single enemy by simply jumping over them.
If that wasn't enough, you can also find a secondary item to carry along with your pepper which makes outsmarting enemies even easier, like a spatula that lets you spin around wildly and knock them off the level, or a frost attack that allows you to run through enemies to freeze them. To make up for the enemies being so easy to defeat now, the levels also have a lot of environmental hazards: these include standard videogame tropes such as slippery floors, flames, and spikes. These should technically be just as easy to avoid, but for some reason Peter's jump is strangely floaty and wonky, which resulted in more than one trip down a spike pit for us.
Your most fearsome enemy, unfortunately, will most likely turn out to be the camera. Presumably to showcase the admittedly nice graphics, every level has a cylindrical shape and thus wraps around, but as a result the camera is zoomed in quite a lot, meaning you can't see very far above or below Peter. If you want to go up a ladder you'd better hope for the best, because if an enemy happens to come down from above you'll have almost no time to respond. Despite the heavy focus on platforming there are still quite a lot of ladders, so you can expect this to happen quite often.
But perhaps the game's biggest flaw is the amount of content that had to be cut to get it on WiiWare. So much has been left out it probably would've been better to release it as a retail title instead, perhaps with additional content. Some of it is minor, like the removal of all cutscenes — it's not like the story is the biggest selling point anyway — but there are also some major omissions like the complete and utter lack of different environments.
This title is called World Tour for a reason. Peter is supposed to (and does, in the other versions) travel around the world, resulting in levels set in various locations. The WiiWare version only keeps one environment, which is probably the one that has the least to do with burgers — outer space. While other versions also had 10 levels per world (with the last one being a boss), this only has four worlds with five levels each, of which only the very last one is a boss. Not that the boss is much different from the rest of the game, you still just make burgers, but the only difference is you'll have to watch the background to avoid his attacks. The two-player mode has also been removed, and although it wasn't even that substantial, it's still another mark against this edition.
But perhaps the single most annoying thing is that an endless loop of a song created on Newgrounds — used with permission from the composer, we must add — plays during every single level in the game, including the final boss fight. There's a decent-sounding remix of the original BurgerTime theme for the title screen and menus, so why couldn't they just use that instead?
An updated version of BurgerTime sounded like a nice idea on paper, but World Tour has most certainly not succeeded in bringing the arcade game's fun factor to a new audience. The challenge is almost non-existent, most of your deaths will be control or camera related rather than from genuinely messing up, and a loop of an annoying 40-second song plays endlessly. The icing on the cake is the removal of arguably half the game's content for the WiiWare version. Even if all of it was still intact we wouldn't recommend this, but as it is now this title is simply a major disappointment.