(Mini) Game Review: Godlike Burger

Earlier this year, I played and reviewed the rather macabre cooking-business game Ravenous Devils. A Sweeny Todd-inspired, kill people, cook them and serve them to customers type of game. Now, I’m reviewing Godlike Burger from developer Liquid Pug and publisher Daedalic Entertainment. Guess what? Yup, it’s another game about killing and cooking your customers. Only with a less-human angle.

“Godlike Burger puts you in the shoes of a maniac chef who makes the best burgers in the universe. The secret ingredient? The customers themselves! Run the restaurant, cook delicious burgers and kill lots of aliens. But be careful – leave no witnesses uncooked!”

Set in space, you run a burger joint where you serve tasty burgers to customers, before killing the very same customers to use them as the main ingredient to your tasty burgers, to sell to more customers. And the cycle repeats. Think something like Overcooked, but with a big emphasis on murder. You wait for a customer to come into your restaurant and order some food. Grab the indigents from the fridge, cook them up and then construct the burger to the customer’s requirements. Do they want cheese, tomato, etc?

GODLIKE BURGER SCREEN 1

However, you’ll need to dispatch your customers in order to keep your food supplies stocked. Now, killing folk in front of your customers would be a bad idea. Customers can and will fight back, or run away and call the police. If the police get involved, that’s a bad thing. You can travel to different planets to sell your burgers and each planet has a different race of aliens with different requirements. Moving to a new planet can also help you dodge those police if things get a bit too heated.

Throw in a load of upgrades for your restaurant’s kitchen, the ability to build traps to kill your customers and so on. There’s even a bit of a rogue-lite element as if you lose, you’ll have to start from the beginning of the game. However, you’ll keep any unlocked upgrades and (hopefully) learn something from your last run. Really, there are two sides to the business to manage here, the making and serving of the burgers and the secretly killing of the customers while trying to stay one step ahead of the police.

GODLIKE BURGER SCREEN 3

Available now for PC and all the consoles, with an £18 price tag. Personally, I felt that Godlike Burger was a bit too ‘busy’ for a game of its type. Plus, I was playing this on the Xbox with a controller and everything just felt really awkward. I’m sure this plays far better on a PC with mouse controls. There is just too much to keep your eye on and the UI is way too small, something that is often an issue when porting a game from PC to consoles. This makes reading what the customer wants pretty difficult at times, leading to mistakes that aren’t really your fault. You can only hold one burger bun at a time, so when you are preparing multiple orders, it really slows the pace down. Bearing in mind that you are always against the clock here too. This single burger bun thing is particularly strange because you can hold multiples of every other ingredient.

GODLIKE BURGER SCREEN 2

Overall, Godlike Burger is a great idea but with some poor design choices that hamper your enjoyment. Awkward controls, an unfriendly UI and it all just feels way too fiddly. Still, outside of those niggles, there is a good game here, it just needed a little bit of streamlining and some of the creases ironing out.

(Mini) Game Review Warpips

Warpips is a funny word, it is also the title of a new strategy-based war game developed by Skirmish Mode Games and from publisher Daedalic Entertainment. Do you like a mix of 3D and 2D pixel graphics? Do you like lots of guns and explosions? Do you like plenty of blood splatter and games with funny-sounding titles? If so, then Warpips could be right up your battlefield. A quick aside, this is just a mini review for a game that does deserve a more in-depth look.

“Warpips is what would happen if Command and Conquer and Nexus Wars had a baby made out of tanks and napalm! Set loose the engine of war and watch the chaos of physics-based combat explode onto the battlefield! Assemble your army from a diverse roster of infantry, vehicles and airplanes. Deploy troops, call down airstrikes, and launch missiles – all without that pesky micromanagement.”

So then, what is Warpips all about? I guess that it’s a kind of RTS game with a lot of the fat trimmed to make things fun and more accessible. You don’t have to worry about base building or any of that guff. What you get here is all of the action of an RTS game, with an emphasis on the action. Like most RTS games, you’ll still have to take out the enemy base only here, you get a bit of a tug-of-war mechanic thrown in.

WARPIPS SCREEN 1

You start out by selecting your loadout from the limited troops that you have. This is a pretty important factor as your units are not infinite, the units that you select will only last for the battle you are tooling up for. Lose and say bye-bye to your troops for good. Mind you, win and say bye-bye to your troops too. So, you have to be careful and think about what to take with you and find a balance between what you have and what your enemy will use. Thankfully, on the mission select screen, it tells you what units your enemy will use, so you can plan ahead.

When ready, start the battle. You need to take out the enemy’s command base and they are trying to do the same to you. Units cost money to send out and the money auto-generates over time. This adds another layer of strategy as you can’t just send out endless troops and only what you can afford. You need to pick and chose exactly what to send out and when. There is a bar at the bottom of the screen that details how your enemy will attack. Standard attacks, sending out waves of enemies, air strikes and more. This means that you can pick the best time to attack and the best time to hold back and reserve your money and units. Overwhelm the enemy, destroy their base (before they do it to you) and you win. Earn new units and in-game currency for upgrades and to buy wares from the in-game market. Make your way to the enemy’s main HQ and destroy it to conquer the island and move on to the next one.

WARPIPS SCREEN 2

You can choose to try and take over every area on the map if you wish. However, for every place that you do overrun, the enemy becomes stronger and stronger. Or, you could just make a beeline for the main HQ and destroy it before the enemy grows too strong. Now, there are positives and negatives to both of these approaches. If you do choose to go straight for the main HQ, you will prevent the enemy from growing too strong, but you will also gain very few extra units. If you do try to take over all of the areas on an island, the enemy will grow stronger, but you earn a lot more new units and in-game currency to use for future battles. It’s a kind of ‘pick your poison’ strategy.

WARPIPS SCREEN 4

Depending on your chosen platform, £14 – £18 is how much Warpips is going to cost your wallet. I had a huge amount of fun with this. It is a very simple concept for a game and one that you will grasp in just a few minutes. A handy tutorial gets you up to speed quickly and sets you up for the many battles that you will face. There are loads of various troops and units for you to play around with, each with their own stats, strengths and weaknesses. Warpips is (to break out a classic cliché) easy to understand and play but hard to truly master. There is a lot more depth here than you first realise and as the game progresses, strategy becomes key. Simple but utterly engrossing and thoroughly enjoyable. Available on everything right now, Warpips is well worth a play.

Game Review: Wildcat Gun Machine

Developer Chunkybox Games and publisher Daedalic Entertainment have a new game out. Do you like guns, do you like shooting things with those guns, do you like kittens? If you answered ‘yes’ to all three of those questions, then Wildcat Gun Machine could just be up your alley.

“Wildcat Gun Machine is an explosion roller coaster ride! Enter a bullet hell dungeon crawler where you take on hordes of disgusting flesh beasts with a wide variety of guns, giant mech robots, and cute kittens.”

What you get here with Wildcat Gun Machine is a real mish-mash of game ideas. Maze-like dungeons to explore. Plenty of guns to find and upgrade. Ugly bastard monsters to kill. Giant mechs to use. Upgradeable skills. Wonderful 2D art… and cute kittens. This is a bullet hell shooter that starts out tricky and just gets increasingly more difficult the more you play. The game’s basics are stupidly easy to follow and understand. You run around the maps, shoot enemies, earn bones (coins), use those bones (coins) to buy upgrades for both your (many) guns and skills, kill the boss and move on to the next level. Rinse and repeat.

WILDCAT GUN MACHINE SCREEN 2

If you are looking for depth of gameplay and story, then you won’t find it here with Wildcat Gun Machine. This is pure, balls-to-the-wall action with simple controls. Using a twin-stick shooter control method, you’ll be dodging bullets and shooting monsters in the face over and over. Think something along the lines of the classic shooter Doom, only not as appealing. You’ll be running around the map, which consists of large rooms connected via corridors. Enter a room and the doors will lock and you’ll have enemies spawn. Kill the enemies, the doors unlock and you move on. Along the way, you’ll find coloured coded doors and areas that you’ll need a corresponding key to access. Need to get to the red coloured area, then you’ll need a red key… again, very basic, very Doom-like.

That really is all there is to the gameplay. Enter a room, kill all the monsters and move on. There is no real story to speak of, it’s all about having bullets shot at you and you shooting bullets at enemies. The numerous guns have various attributes. From your standard and unlimited ammo pistol, to more impressive weapons such as lasers, rockets, pulse rifles and such, which do have an ammo limit that you need to keep an eye on. Kill a lot of monsters and you’ll fill up your special meter and you can unleash a bullet orgy of an attack, of which you have several to choose from, once you unlock them. Oh, and as for the cat theme that features in the game and marketing, cats are basically extra lives/checkpoints. That’s about it.

WILDCAT GUN MACHINE SCREEN 1

Available to buy now on PC and all the consoles, Wildcat Gun Machine will set you back £13. This is a tricky game for me to pass judgement on. If I really like a game, I can very easily put into words why you should buy it. Same with if a game is terrible, I can convey why you should avoid it. With a title like Wildcat Gun Machine, it’s okay. This is far away from being a terrible game but it is just as far away from being a great game too. It’s just a game that exists, it’s perfectly fine and very standard. It’s alright. Is it worth the £13 asking price? To be honest, it’s a fair-ish price point but I would’ve felt disappointed if I had paid for it at that price. Perhaps if you can get it on sale for sub £10, this may be worth looking into.

WILDCAT GUN MACHINE SCREEN 3

If you are a hardcore shooter fan, you may get more enjoyment out of this than I did. This is the first game from the small indie developer Chunkybox Games. In that regard, it does show some promise. They know how a shooter works and understand all the staples. But Wildcat Gun Machine is just a bit too shallow, a bit too cookie-cutter and all too safe. The indie scene is full of shooters, ones that are better than this one. A studio really needs to be a bit more creative. But as I said, this is a first title from a small team and I would like to see what they can do with this genre in the future.

Game Review: The Suicide of Rachel Foster

As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression in the past… still do now and again if I am being honest. The title of this game stood out to me before I even knew anything about it. It was that word ‘suicide’, a word that has passed through my own mind more than a few times over the years, that jumped out at me (don’t worry, I’m in a far better place now than I used to be).

I have always been interested in games that do tackle hard to talk about subjects. The indie game scene is amazing for this kind of stuff. AAA devs wouldn’t dare to go anywhere near games with ‘certain’ themes, yet indie devs are willing to take bold risks to make their titles. Developed by ONE-O-ONE GAMES and published by Daedalic Entertainment The Suicide of Rachel Foster is… well, it’s a little fucked up.

1993
LEWIS & CLARK COUNTY, MONTANA, US

Ten years ago, teenager Nicole and her mother left the family hotel after discovering her father Leonard’s affair with, and pregnancy of Rachel, a girl her own age who eventually committed suicide.

Now that both of her parents have passed, Nicole hopes to fulfill her mother’s last will to sell the hotel and make amends to Rachel’s relatives. With the will and determination to put that chapter behind her, she returns to the hotel with the family’s lawyer to audit the decaying structure.

As the weather unexpectedly turns for the worst, Nicole has no way to leave the large mountain lodge, and finds support in Irving, a young FEMA agent, using one of the first radio telephones ever built.

With his help, Nicole starts to investigate a mystery far deeper than what people in the valley thought. A story of love and death, where melancholy and nostalgia melt into a thrilling ghost tale.

So yeah, you play as Nicole, a young woman who returns to her family hotel after a few years. I’m not going to get into the meat of the story here as well, it really is the main selling point of the game and I don’t want to get into spoilers. But the short version is that Nicole uncovers some pretty damning things about her family history with the help of Irving, the only person she is in contact with while at the hotel. The content description of the game states that The Suicide of Rachel Foster ‘touches on mature subject matter’. Well yeah, it certainly does that.

THE SUICIDE OF RACHEL FOSTER SCREEN 3

If you have already clicked on the trailer up there ^^^, then you’ve probably already got a feel for what kind of game this is. I’d guess you’d throw it into the walking simulation sub-genre. If you have ever played something like What Remains of Edith Finch, then you’ll know exactly where you stand, in terms of gameplay, here. Which makes writing this review kind of tricky. See, these games really live or die on their stories and I don’t want to get into spoilers… so I can’t really delve into the story. I mean, I can tell you that the story is pretty damn WTF when you get into it… and I don’t know if that is a good thing or not.

All I really can get into is the gameplay, which is very bog-standard walking sim fare. Now, I don’t mean that to sound dismissive. It’s just that… it is a walking sim, you walk a lot, do a bit of interacting with the scenery and pick up the odd item now and again. It is simple and basic gameplay. So there really isn’t much to shout about here in terms of how The Suicide of Rachel Foster plays. See, this is why this is a hard game to review. It plays just like any other walking sim and the bit that really sells a walking sim is the story… which I’m not going to cover as I don’t want to spoil it. I have little to write about then.

THE SUICIDE OF RACHEL FOSTER SCREEN 2

In terms of looks, The Suicide of Rachel Foster is perfectly fine. The hotel is creepy and atmospheric. From narrow hallways to large and open ballrooms, the game feels like a certain Kubrick film from 1980. The fact you are snowed in too really does send out some strong The Shining vibes. There are some really fantastic moments here that work brilliantly, in terms of the plot, which really is what The Suicide of Rachel Foster is all about. But I have to be honest and say that the game begins to lose some of its luster in the last act. As the story does open up and builds to its finale, things happen that will leave you disturbed, but also suddenly hit you with how ham-fisted the writing becomes.

I think this is The Suicide of Rachel Foster’s biggest failing. The story starts out good, great in fact. It grips you and you really want to learn more of what happened. Then it gets to a point where you do learn what happened and the subject matter is pretty depraved and that is when the writing feels wrong. Not the subject matter itself, just how it is handled and it feels very soap opera. The game is set in the nineties, you have a chunky mobile phone and trying to sort out some deep family dramas. Seriously, you should’ve just called Jerry Springer to sort it out. That is what this story ends up being, a Jerry Springer episode.

THE SUICIDE OF RACHEL FOSTER SCREEN 5

With only around a three-hour playtime and with this being sold for £15 to £17 (depending on format). I can’t really recommend The Suicide of Rachel Foster. That is way too much to pay for such a short-lived gaming experience and flawed story. There is a brilliant premise here, the story starts out amazing and does try to touch on some very serious issues. But it soon descends into farce. The subject matter is disturbing when all the pieces fall into place… yet it is just handled so badly that it almost becomes parody. The gameplay here is your basic walking sim stuff and never does anything new or creative with it either. Exploring the hotel is great fun and (as I previously said) it feels very The Shining, with quite a few nods and (indirect) references. But while Kubrick’s film was supernatural, this game is far more grounded and in no way a horror game. This is a story about a family drama, no ghosts, no jumpscares, etc.

There are some really nice looking environments around the hotel but most of the doors are locked, which does limit where you can go. So as big as the hotel first seems, it soon becomes clear how few places you can really go. Then there’s the fact that Nicole moves pretty slow too. This is one of those games that has a run option, yet the run is about the same speed your average person walks. The hotel has been unused since 1989, so if you are of a certain age, like myself, you’ll find plenty to put a smile on your face, like a Commodore 64 in the office.

THE SUICIDE OF RACHEL FOSTER

The Suicide of Rachel Foster isn’t a bad game at all, it’s just a very average, one that would’ve benefited from a better writer and an extra hour or so of gameplay to flesh out the rushed and abrupt final act. A great idea that is sadly wasted and a subject matter that really should’ve been written better.

Game Review: Anna’s Quest

The graphic/point ‘n click adventure game is one that is in danger of dying out. There have been a few recent attempts at keeping the genre alive with the likes of Thimbleweed Park and Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Dry Twice. Me personally, I love the genre and I spent a great deal of collective hours through the nineties playing them. It is great to see that devs today are still making them. The very dull-sounding Anna’s Quest from developer Krams Design and publisher Daedalic Entertainment is a new-ish point ‘n click adventure game on the market. I say ‘new-ish’ as it was originally released in 2015 on PC (technically the first episode was released in 2012 before it was finished and released as a full game in 2015), but it has much more recently seen a port to all the consoles. But the big question is, is Anna’s Quest a good graphic adventure game, or is it as boringly beige as the title sounds? Let’s find out.

Okay, so I was originally going to do this bit where I drag out how mind-numbingly dull this game is, using its bland and uninspired title as a running gag. However, I can’t do that because Anna’s Quest is amazing. Before I get into the meat of this review, I may as well just get it out there just how much I fell in love with this game. Just look at the trailer up there ^^^, that is a gorgeous looking game. Beautiful hand-drawn art that looks like something from a children’s fairy tale book. The animation is also exquisite, simple and yet stunningly handsome. Yet, that trailer (as nice as it looks) really does not do the game justice. There are some scenes in this game that look like they’ve been produced by top Hollywood animators and not by a small indie game studio. The attention to detail, dramatic camera angles and more really do impress on a nice big TV. This is the best-looking game I have played this year so far. But of course, it’s not all about looks. What makes a point ‘n click adventure game work is its story, characters and its puzzles.

ANNA'S QUEST 1

Thankfully, in terms of the story, Anna’s Quest hits all the right notes. I’m not going to go into too much detail here as I really do think this is a story you need to experience for yourself. I’ll just give you the set-up for the game without going into spoilers. So you play as Anna and Anna lives with her grandfather on a farm near a deep and dark forest. Gramps is always telling Anna to stay away from the forest as it houses many a danger. Anna, being the good little girl that she is, obeyed her grandfather’s wishes… Until one day when Grapms became ill. Anna has no choice but to venture out to try and find help or a cure, something to make her grandfather healthy again. When Anna ventures into the forest that she had always been told to stay away from, she is kidnapped by a wicked witch and locked away in a tower. The witch conducts various experiments on Anna believing that she has some special powers. Turns out that she does too as it is soon discovered that Anna has telekinetic powers. After befriending a talking teddy bear (trust me, it makes sense in the story), Anna and Ted escape the tower and embark on a quest that draws heavily from classic Grimm fairy tales and European folklore. Seriously, Anna’s Quest looks nice and cute… But it really gets very dark and twisted along the way, all topped off with a very macabre and wonderful sense of humour.

Anna’s Quest is split over six chapters, each chapter based on a location and each one being distinctly unique. Once you finish the tutorial/locked in the tower intro, the game really opens up and you get to see just how lovingly designed the world is. Game mechanics-wise, this is typical point ‘n click stuff. Move your cursor around the screen, find objects to pick up/interact with. Use items, solve puzzles and progress through the story. There are a couple, of handy features that make the gameplay much more fluid. You can flick between items of interest on the screen at the touch of a button, this highlights what can be used and examined, so you’re not just randomly clicking around trying to find something to do. You can also highlight any items that can be picked up too. Two nice gameplay mechanics that just make navigating the game much more fluid and fun.

ANNA'S QUEST 2

As for the puzzles that drive the game, I never found any of them to be overly obnoxious as you often find with point ‘n click games. Yeah sure, some of them had me stumped for a while, but the solution was always logical and I just needed to readjust my thinking to make it work. There’s even a slight sense of freedom while making your way through the game too. There is always the main plot to stick to, but many of the quests in the game can be completed in a non-linear order. I never felt lost here either, I didn’t need hints or any kind of in-game journal to keep track of where I was or what to do. Everything is just so well crafted that progress through the game felt smooth and uncomplicated. Everything leads to a really quite brilliant ending too.

All in all, I got about eight or so hours out of Anna’s Quest and it really left me wanting more too. There are a few niggles I have. The voice acting is very hit and miss, often it sounds like the actors are just reading off a script with very little emotion or depth to the acting. There are a couple of mini-games that do get a tad annoying and really don’t need to be here at all. Thankfully, the minigames can be skipped and are not important to the plot.

ANNA'S QUEST 3

I’m not going to say that Anna’s Quest is the best game I have played so far this year… But I will say it is the most enjoyable game I have played so far in 2021. It is just so well crafted, from its art and animation to the story and characters. Anna’s Quest is simply beautiful and certainly not the boring, beige game I was expecting just going off the title.

As I write this sentence right now, Anna’s Quest is 90% off on Steam and priced just £1.49 (until the 8th of July). That is a crazy, insane price for a game this well made. Buy a copy now, buy five copies for friends. As for the console versions? They come in at £17.99 (Xbox), £15.99 (PS) and £16.99 (Switch), for me, that does seem a little bit steep (full price on Steam is £14.99). Still, Anna’s Quest is a brilliant title, but it being £18 brilliant is really perhaps pushing it a little too far, £15 feels about right to me. Still, this is a must buy if you are a point ‘n click adventure fan. I quite genuinely love this game.