Orders are in. BurgerTime has made a comeback on the Nintendo Switch. This time, the focus is on a more traditional experience that increases the difficulty by adding new enemies or stage hazards. It also is heavy on getting competitive, with some modes encouraging people to play together either cooperatively or competitively. In each case, it’s tapping into nostalgia and trying to give people a new way to build burgers.
People might be wondering how a new entry happened? Well back in 2003, Data East went bankrupt. This meant that a number of the company’s notable IPs were up for sale. Among them was BurgerTime, the action game about a chef who made burgers by walking over their gigantic pieces while avoiding anthropomorphic pieces of food. (It wasn’t exactly hygienic, but it was effective.) G-mode, a company that often specialized in bite-sized pieces, picked up the pieces. It dusted off the buns and, for a while, used its new purchase to release the NES and Game Boy games on the Virtual Console. While some other games in the series appeared in between, like Monkeypaw’s now-delisted BurgerTime World Tour, this is the first time G-mode is doing a new game with the license.
Things kick off in BurgerTime Party! with the basics. By which I mean, you have to unlock additional modes to start playing. Initially, only Solo Burger is available. This is a puzzle-like tutorial mode that walks you through every element of the game. It will teach you enemy movement patterns, show how to use helpful mechanics like ducts to reach new areas, and tell you what to expect from stage hazards like platforms that can collapse or ladders that will suddenly become scorching hot. The stages here are typically all informational, with the first 15 unlocked right away and the second half unlocked as you play.
After going through the first few stages here, you’ll unlock Main Burger. This is a mode with slightly larger levels. Between one and four people can play, which means it isn’t too perilous initially, so long as you have allies. (Especially since you can resurrect other people, though you share lives, so be careful.) Even if you are playing alone, it isn’t too trying. Black pepper refills automatically, so you don’t have to wait for refills to appear. It also is a mode where power-ups, like soda that speeds chefs up or jalapenos that make them breathe fire, can offer an additional assist. Just like Solo Burger, the first 15 levels are immediately available, with subsequent ones unlocking as you clear additional blocks of fifteen. The further you get, the more you’ll appreciate having extra chefs to coordinate with. Especially if you have one person attempting to act as a lure while the other prepares to drop parts of meals onto angry items.
Of all the modes, Battle Burger might be the ones that will have the longest legs in BurgerTime Party. This is a mode for at least two players, or up to four, that involves people being both chefs and food foes. A bit of balancing appears, as those foodies now have a dash move that can counter the stunning black pepper. There are five total stages here, each with their own mechanics like ducts or levers that can make platforms drop. The players acting as Food Foes are the only enemies on-screen, and a match lasts until either every chef has been touched by a piece of food or every burger has been made. It is essentially as good as the people you have playing it. Which means with a full party of four, it might be entertaining seeing if only one chef has to deal with three people intelligently acting as food or if a more balanced group leads to new strategies.
Finally, there is Challenge Burger. This is a ranked mode where pepper doesn’t recharge, lives are limited, and there are so many enemies. Your performance here helps you find a place on the leaderboards, and everything learned in other BurgerTime Party! modes comes into play. Like Challenge Burger, it’s the meal you may keep coming back to, due to your own improvements making each game better as you learn how to handle the different sorts of food and better maneuver through stages. It also offers the option to have multiple people join in, in case you feel like another set of hands would help boost that score higher and increase the odds of surviving.
I only have one qualm. BurgerTime Party! forces players to use the right analog stick to move Peter Pepper. As someone who first played the original entry all the way back on her parent’s Intellivision, then subsequently in arcades and on the NES, I appreciate the sort of precision a good D-pad can offer. Being forced to rely on an analog stick alone isn’t always ideal, and another option would have been appreciated. Especially on Challenge Burger, where every move counts.
Basically, BurgerTime Party! is a more accessible, modern version of BurgerTime with more of a multiplayer focus. It is absolutely a game you can play alone. Solo Burger only lets one person in, and both Main Burger and Challenge Burger can offer a sufficient challenge to people going it alone. But the focus here is on playing cooperatively and competitively with friends, with three of the main modes reminding you that you don’t have to cook alone. While some modes might be more entertaining for extended periods than others, getting other people involved will probably make this meal feel more worthwhile.
BurgerTime Party! is available for the Nintendo Switch.