(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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

Game Review: Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

This is a slightly late Halloween game review. I did want to cover this game for Halloween, but I got my review code a bit too late. Developed and published by IllFonic, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed (to the surprise of nobody) is a game based on the Ghostbusters film franchise. But, of course, one always has to ask the big question when it comes to busting ghosts, does it make you feel good?

“Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is a fun, multiplayer game perfect for all skill levels. Four proton pack wielding Ghostbusters attempt to catch a Ghost haunting unique locations in asymmetrical multiplayer battles (online or offline). As players progress, they will unlock cosmetics and upgrades for both Ghostbusters and Ghosts to evolve their gameplay experiences.”

Before I do get into the nitty-gritty of this one. My original plan was to do a co-op review with my pal Badger over at Stoffel Presents. Especially as Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed features co-op cross-platform play. I really wanted to try out how well it worked. Alas, that plan didn’t come to fruition as I had some connectivity issues. First, I had to link my Xbox account with an Epic Games one. I did, got a confirmation email and everything was fine, my accounts were linked and the Epic Games site told me as much too. So, I was set to indulge in some co-op cross-platform ghostbusting action. However, when it came to linking my account in the game itself… not so good.

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When I did try linking my account in-game to Epic’s online service, I just got the above screen asking me, very politely, to ‘please wait’. So I did, I ‘please waited’ for about five minutes or so and nothing. I decided that I would ‘please wait’ some more, just in case. Anyway, 20-odd minutes later, the game was still asking me to ‘please wait’. I hard reset my Xbox, double-checked that my account was linked via the Epic Games website and tried connecting again, I got the same thing. I eventually got annoyed and gave up. The game just would not link to Epic’s (not so epic) online service and let me play cross-platform. Ergo, my idea of doing a co-op cross-platform review ended in failure.

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Anyway, with that explanation out of the way, allow me to tell you what Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is all about. Taking place directly where the after-credits scene of Ghostbusters: Afterlife ended, with Winston Zeddemore returning the iconic Ecto-1 to the equally iconic firehouse HQ and possibly setting up a sequel. Well, this is that sequel… kind of. I say ‘kind of’ because we all know that a proper film sequel is on the way, codenamed Firehouse, the film is set to be released in December next year. This game is a ‘what if’ scenario that works as a sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife but most definitely will not be part of the narrative of the next film.

Spirits Unleashed is one of those 4 vs 1, asymmetrical multiplayer titles. You know, the likes of this year’s Evil Dead: The Game, Dead by Daylight or yeah, even IllFonic’s own (and ultimately doomed) Friday the 13th: The Game. Four people team up to take out the single enemy. In this case, that is four Ghostbusters vs a ghost. Playing a the ghost, you have to try to haunt the map before the Ghostbusters catch you. You can possess items and furniture, scare NPCs and even slime the GBs themselves. If you can haunt the map to 100% before being caught, then you win.

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Of course, any Ghostbusters fan wants to play as one of the GBs and not a ghost. Here, the gameplay has you chasing and catching ghosts, closing rifts and such. Really, in terms of the gameplay mechanics, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. This is a very typical 4 vs 1, asymmetrical multiplayer game with little to draw you in. There’s an unlockable upgrade system where the more you use your ghostbusting equipment, you’ll unlock new add-ons. Level up and unlock new cosmetics for your customisable GB character.

You get five maps to play on and none of them are from anything movie related. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it does show that there is a world outside of the films. But you just know that the devs will be releasing DLC further down the line with more movie-centric maps. There’s only one gameplay mode too, catching the ghost or avoiding being caught when playing as the ghost. There really is not a great deal of game here. Mind you, I’m not really sure what else you can do with a multi-player Ghostbusters game.

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IllFonic has done a fantastic job of bringing the Ghostbusters lore and franchise to the game. There’s fan service everywhere. Nods and references littered throughout the game and it even has Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson reprising their classic characters. Just walking around the HQ, you get a great sense of being a ghostbuster and sliding down the fireman pole is never going to get tiresome. Plus, you can collect a variety of spores moulds and fungus found around the maps, Egon would be proud. But, the game itself is just very, very ‘meh’. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it just kind of exists and never does anything to separate itself from the slew of other 4 vs 1, asymmetrical titles on the market. Well, there is one thing that it does differently.

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Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed has an actual story to follow. You know, like a singleplayer driven game, only in a multiplayer game. The downside is that to advance the story, you just have to keep replaying the same five maps and doing the same thing over and over and over again. You can even play the game in single-player and have the rest of the GBs controlled by AI… really, really stupid AI. Honestly, it all get’s tedious very quickly as there is zero variation. The graphics look low-quality and ‘plastic’, especially on the character models. But sound-wise, the game (no pun) hits all the right notes. The Ghostbusters theme, the incidental spooky music and the sound of the proton packs firing up. It’s all very satisfying to the ears of any Ghostbusters fan.

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Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed comes in at around £34 and that is a bit too expensive for me. Really, this feels like something that would be thrown into a bigger and more interesting game as a bonus and not a standalone title. Just going back to the original release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game from 2009. You had a solid single-player story to play through and it came with a multi-player mode as an extra. That is what this game feels like, a bonus that should be part of a bigger game. I can’t recommend this one, but I can’t really damn it either. It’s just okay and lacks any real depth of variation. You’ll soon get bored of those five (fairly small) maps. Does busting make you feel good? Not really, more a case that it makes you feel a bit indifferent. Perhaps waiting to see if you can grab it in a sale in a couple of months would be best?

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The search for a truly great Ghostbusters game continues as nobody has got it right yet. And yes, I am including Ghostbusters: The Video Game in that too. It was good, but samey. Do you know what a really great Ghostbusters game needs? A business-sim angle. That was what the original film was about, setting up a new business. The original game from 1984 understood this had some light business management mixed in with all of the busting of ghosts, it was just limited by the technology of the day. Imagine a new Ghostbusters game where you did have to worry about profit and loss, spending money on R&D, etc. Think of Bullfrog’s classic Syndicate but with Ghostbusters and with you managing a global Ghostbusters corporation while busting ghosts.

(Mini) Game Review: Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef

Okay, that’s an awesome name for a game. Warhammer 40,000 is a massive franchise… and I have no idea what it’s about. I do know that it started out as a tabletop game and that is it hugely popular and that it has spilt over into various forms of media. Warhammer 40,000 is gargantuan and a franchise that I have zero knowledge of. So then, Warhammer 40000 Shootas Blood & Teef from developer and publisher Rogueside seems the perfect game for me to review.

“Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef is a hand-drawn 2D action adventure taking you on a wild ride of dakka, gore and explosions! Krump your way through the hive city of Luteus Prime; battle Humans, Orks and Genestealer cultists; and ultimately retrieve your luscious hair squig from the hands of the Warboss Gutrekka!”

Honestly, I put a review request in from the trailer alone (and the awesome title, of course). It looked utterly insane. I got big Metal Slug vibes from it, side-scrolling, OTT, shoot ’em-up action with a good sense of humour. Plus, the title of the game is amazing. The story of Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef is… does it matter? You’re not playing a game like this for its plot and intricate story-telling, are you? You want guns, lots of them and loads of enemies to slaughter. So, let’s not be coy here, fuck the story and let’s crack on with how the game plays.

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Shootas, Blood & Teef is, from start to finish, non-stop action. A side-scrolling shooter with some platforming thrown in for good measure. Mix in buckets of blood and a good sense of humour and you have a stupid but very fun title. Playing as one of several selectable orks, you set out on a mission to (I think) retrieve a stolen hair squig (something to do with the Warhammer franchise and lore). Honestly, I have no idea what the plot is because I really paid little attention to it. I was too busy laughing as I mowed down hordes of humans (and the occasional ork), while using a variety of weapons.

Shootas, Blood & Teef is stupid and doesn’t take itself seriously at all. A twin-stick shooter with a very 90s feel. Imagine if Doom had been made as a side-scrolling platform-shooter and that is what you get here. Make your way through numerous levels and find in-game cash to buy new weapons at the shop. Arm yourself to the teeth, or teef, kill enemies and big bastard bosses. Simple and basic stuff, immensely satisfying and ridiculously OTT. Throw in a four-player co-op mode and enjoy the carnage with three friends.

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Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef is priced at around £17 and available on PC, Switch and Xbox right now. The PlayStation version is released on the 2nd of December. I don’t think this will get me into the Warhammer 40,000 franchise that I know nothing about. Still, it doesn’t need to. Even more importantly, you the player doesn’t need to know anything about it either. All you need is an urge to play a stupidly OTT game crammed with blood and humour. Look, this is from the same devs that made the Guns, Gore & Cannoli games. ‘Nuff said.

(Daddy/Daughter) Game Review: Horse Club Adventures 2: Hazelwood Stories

My daughter, Sienna turned 5 a few months back and she has been taking an interest in gaming recently. I’ve been trying to find games that she can enjoy, ones that hold her interest and even titles that we could possibly play together. Developed and published by Wild River Games, Horse Club Adventures 2: Hazelwood Stories is a new game that seems to be just what I’m looking for. Sienna loves ponies and horses. So, a game where you ride and care for horses really hits the right spot. But, how does it play? Well, that is what this daddy/daughter review is going to cover.

“Saddled, up and away! Ride together with the girls from Horse Club and discover a colorful world full of adventure. In Horse Club Adventures 2 – Hazelwood Stories you can plunge once again into the colorful world around Lakeside and experience adventures on horseback!”

Before I even loaded the game up, I put the trailer on first, just to see if Sienna would be interested. She loved it and kept asking if she could play it. She was entranced right away. The basic gist of Horse Club Adventures 2: Hazelwood Stories has you taking part in a photography contest. Along the way, you’ll meet plenty of people and get involved in all sorts of adventures. You start out by creating your own avatar with numerous customisable options. You can also name and create your own horse. The character/horse creation is pretty well-detailed for a game of this type. There are plenty of options and you’ll even unlock more clothing and items as the game progresses.

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From there, you are pretty much free to explore the world at your leisure. There is the main story to follow, of taking part in the photography contest, but there is also so much more to do that it is easy to get lost in all that Horse Club Adventures 2 has on offer. Take part in races, collect hidden golden horseshoes, care for your horse and the more you do, the more skills you’ll unlock as your relationship grows.

The map here is huge and I honestly was not expecting this at all. I thought this would be a linear, easy-to-follow horse game. But you get a big map that you are free to explore and a multitude of gameplay options and various mini-games to enjoy. Now, I have to be honest and say that Horse Club Adventures 2 is a bit too advanced for Sienna, with her only being 5 years old. For a kid’s game, this really is very in-depth with a lot to take in. So, Sienna was overwhelmed and couldn’t handle some of the ‘trickier’ aspects. QTE events, mastering slalom racing, timing jumps during races, etc. She’s only 5 and trying to hold a pretty big Xbox controller with loads of buttons is a bit of an issue. But, that’s not the game’s fault at all. As I said, it is a bit overwhelming at her age. However, Sienna still loved just riding around on the horse and just having fun on the map. She may not have been able to follow the story or fully understand the game (yet), but she really enjoyed the basics.

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I’ll pick Sienna up from school and she’ll ask ‘Daddy, can we play the horsey game?”. She is totally absorbed by it and absolutely loves playing Horse Club Adventures 2. I think this is a great title for younger gamers and there’s a lot here to keep them happy. Everything is very serene and welcoming about the world and it really is just a nice place to be in. I asked Sienna what she thought about the game and she said that it is “really, really, really brilliant and lovely”, before putting her thumb up. So, that’s her review. She is utterly enthralled by this.

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£25 (£35 on Switch) is the price tag for Horse Club Adventures 2: Hazelwood Stories and when I first saw that, I did think that it was a bit too high for a kid’s game. However, now that I have spent some time with this playing with Sienna I have to admit that the £25 price is very reasonable. Horse Club Adventures 2 is a big game, a lot bigger than I expected. A large open-world map, loads of missions and side-quests to do. Multiple and various gameplay options. This game is seriously big and I really wasn’t expecting that. I would suggest adding a fast travel option as the map really is big and getting from one mission to the next can be a massive chore at times.

Granted, the game is a bit too advanced for Sienna with her only being 5.5 years old. So, it is still not quite the daddy/daughter title that I am looking for. But, if you do have kids of your own that are a little older, I reckon around 7+ and they love horses, I think this could be a perfect game for them to play.

Game Review: Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator

As the great modern philosopher and free thinker, Homer J. Simpson once proclaimed:

“A woman is like beer. They look good, they smell good, and you’d step over your own mother just to get one!”

Beer, something that (ironically) I have massively cut out of my lifestyle over the last couple of years, is the main theme of this game review. From developer Auroch Digital and publisher Fireshine Games comes Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator. A game that, wait for it… is all about brewing beer. But the big question is, does this go down smoothly like a locally brewed ale with subtle caramel undertones and a careful balance of hops, or does it leave a bad taste in your mouth like a piss-water, mass-produced excuse for a beer?

“Brew your perfect beer in this relaxing home brewing sim. Use a realistic chemistry simulation to brew hoppy IPAs to creamy stouts. Customise your brewing space, create recipes and label your beer, unlock new equipment and enter competitions. Learn to brew, refine your craft and become a Brewmaster!”

I have noticed that these sim-styled games fall into two categories. You either get stupidly OTT ‘sims’ that are nothing like a sim with the likes of Goat Simulator. Or you get really down to Earth and more ‘realistic’ sims that you really need to invest a lot of time into before you even get going proper. Then, when you do get into the latter, they are often either really good, or just outright shit. Thankfully, Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator is one of those more realistic simulations that is actually really good. Not only is it good, it makes things relatively easy to follow too.

Make no mistake, Brewmaster is in-depth, very in-depth. There is so much to unpack with this game that I would need a separate article just to cover the different grains and malts that you can use to make your beer… and that is just two of the ingredients. Trust me, there are ton of things to cover in terms of ingredients before you even get to the actual brewing of the beer itself. I think that the best way for me to cover how Brewmaster works is to just talk you through the opening tutorial.

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So then, there are two play modes here. There’s a Free Play Mode and this allows you to use any of the game’s ingredients and all of the various equipment to brew beers with 100% complete freedom. This mode is great to experiment with, but jumping into it straight away will get you lost in seconds as there is so much to do and so many variables to think about. The best way to play Brewmaster the first time around is to try out the Brewmaster Mode. This is a story mode where you have to follow a set path and hit certain goals.

Set in your own home, you start out by brewing a basic beer, just to get you used to the controls and how to weigh out and use each of the ingredients. Start by grabbing a brewing pot from the cupboard and fill it with water from the sink. Heat the water up on a hob, which does take time when you are trying to boil 21lt of cold water. Thankfully, you can fast forward time at any point via your handy watch, so you don’t have to wait around for 40 real minutes for the water to heat up. Once boiling, grab some malts from the fridge Don’t worry, the tutorial walks you through every step and makes things perfectly clear. Add the malts to the water and then get yourself some steepable grains and add that to your brew. Then, you’ll need some hops, so off you go to nab some and put them in your brew too. Let the whole thing boil for a while and you now have your wort mixture.

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Once ready, you need to let the wort cool, get your handy time-skipping watch out again. Now cooled, take the wort mixture and pour it into a fermentation container, this is when you add the yeast. You then need to leave the brew to ferment for a couple of weeks. Again, you can fast forward time, now by using a calendar to skip forward how many days required. Once fermented, add corn sugar and your brew is almost ready. You then need to transfer your brew from the fermenting container to a conditioning container and leave for so many days, calendar time again. Now, your brew is ready for tasting. Take it to the tasting room and see how your beer turned out. Here, you get a full breakdown of just what your beer is. Did you make a light IPA or a darker stout? What is the ABV content? Is it a low-carbonated or a lively and bubbly brew? It tells you just what flavour profile you created and so much more, as each beer you brew is broken down into easy-to-understand elements. When following the opening tutorial you only make one type of beer (with some mild variation), but as the game progresses your beer-making skills will be tested fully.

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Anyway, now you have a decent brew, you can then design the logo, name your beer, alter the font, what kind of bottle it comes in, which type of glass it should be drank with, etc. You can then submit your beer and, hopefully, pass the requirements to progress further in the game. Once the tutorial is done, you can advance to the next season and start all over again. Only this time, no tutorial to guide you and you are mostly on your own. I say mostly as you do have a guide who will help you out with your brewing as the game progresses. At the start of every season, you get an in-game magazine to read. This magazine will have job offers with specific goals to hit, recipes that you can follow and even handy little articles to read that fill you in on information about brewing techniques.

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Pick a job, pick a recipe that fits that job’s requirements and get brewing. Check out the shop for new ingredients and equipment that will help you brew better and more varied beers. As you progress through the game, you’ll build up a nice collection of ingredients, equipment and skills to make some great beers. Build up relationships with local breweries and become known in the beer-making community. Get bigger jobs and make bigger batches of beer. Get away from recipes and start making your very own and unique beers. Yes, you can write your own recipes and create your own custom brews. You’ll soon be on the path to becoming a true brewmaster.

The gameplay loop really is just make new beers over and over. But it is the variety of ingredients and equipment that make that process far more interesting than I thought it would be. I have drank a few beers in my time and I do love a craft ale or two, yet I’ve never really thought about the work that goes into making them. Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator does a great job of taking you through the process and teaching you a lot about making beer at the same time. There are stats and information everywhere here. Each of the individual ingredients is broken down into the elements that will make the beer what it is. Hover your cursor over some grains (as an example) and the game will tell you what flavours it provides, the SRM and more. What is SRM you ask? Well, I didn’t know until I played the game. This is a factor I really enjoyed with Brewmaster, you really can learn a lot about making beer and playing this has made me appreciate just what does go into getting beer made now.

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Outside of the brewing, you can buy new items for your house and do a spot of decorating. This is a nice little distraction if you fancy a break from making beer. Plus, you can make your home your own and even get a few mementoes and awards of your beer-making antics to put on display.

£15 is what Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator is going to cost you, I feel this is a very fair price too. For me, I honestly really enjoyed learning about the different ingredients used and the different brewing techniques. I got lost in all of the information the game throws at you and loved experimenting and creating my own brews. This is a nice and chilled-out game. I’m sure that is it not an exact representation of what making beer is like and I’m willing to bet that real brewers will be nit-picking this game apart for its inaccuracies. The game can definitely be forgiving at times too. There was one time when I accidentally left my brew in the fermenting container and without the lid on too, for more days than I should have and the beer still came out okay. I’m pretty sure that would be a useless and contaminated beer in real life. Just an example of how forgiving the game is.

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It may not be a 100% accurate recreation of what home brewing is about, but Brewmaster does offer up a nice relaxing gameplay and even a few interesting lessons on the basics of making beer. Available now on PC and all the consoles, Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator is a great relaxing game to play for a good price.