When I was much, much younger, my first job was working in one the more popular fast food restaurant chains as a lowly burger flipping employee. My time working there was an “experience” and nothing as “kingly” as it could have been. Terrible customers, shocking health and safety standards, long shifts in a hot kitchen. It’s not something I would ever want to experience again…. Yet here we are!
Happy’s Humble Burger Farm is a fast-food restaurant simulator crossed with some survival horror for good mix. Developed by Scythe and published by tinyBuild – the game sees you become a new employee working the night shift at the titular fast-food chain! Grilling patties, making burgers, pouring drinks and ensuring your friendly patrons are served correctly…… or else…..
Now the first thing that will jump out at you is the visuals of the game. The devs have purposefully gone with a very retro graphical style akin to old school PSX and early PC games. The game itself is in first person and the aesthetics really reminded me of games like Postal. Now this isn’t a bad thing and really lends itself to the overall gameplay, everything from the chunky looking items to the way you hold, drop and throw things in game. It gives a great retro feel while utilising newer machines (no more loading screens every time you move from one room to another etc).
Now when you start your first night shift you have your employee handbook that will assist you in your duties. You take customer orders, make sure you make them correctly and quickly within their time limits and then make some sweet, sweet cash. You can also make extra money by completing a selection of extra tasks around the restaurant at the same time, think collecting deliveries and stacking them, taking out the trash etc. Whilst doing this you also have to ensure you complete orders correctly or risk getting infractions, because if you get three of them then Happy the fast-food mascot will not be happy… you have been warned.
As well as the simulation side of the restaurant management there are also random/creepy events that take place including a selection of boss fights which can be more challenging, with some enemies even messing with your lights and kitchen units ultimately keeping you on your toes! But don’t worry there are vending machines to help you maintain your health and hunger bars and you are able to upgrade your restaurant by using tokens you collect during gameplay.
Not only do you have free reign in the restaurant but you also get to roam around the large New Elysian City which features plenty of interesting places to explore. There’s a coffee shop where you can buy drinks to increase your speed, a museum full of art and a Happy exhibit, your apartment where you can store items, sleep and be safe and many more. By exploring you will be able to find a whole host of collectables that explain backstories and what is actually going on. There are a selection of audio tapes, notes and even tons (literally hours) of radio stations and tv channels to tune into!
The game itself should take you around 6-8 hours to get through, but if you spend your time exploring the city you could put a lot more time into it and if you want to get the 1000g completion you’re probably looking around the 10-hour mark. I did encounter a couple of bugs/glitches while playing the game. Nothing particularly major and the devs are already working to fix most of them if they haven’t already been patched out at the time this review goes live. I also wish the game had a co-operative mode; this just feels like the type of game I would love to experience with a friend. I get that you're supposed to feel alone but if the devs could ever make a side mode for two players to enjoy at once I would definitely be there day one!
Happy’s Humble Burger Farm is an often creepy, often scary, often hilarious game that mixes the horror and simulator genres to make something exceptionally enjoyable and then wraps it in a nostalgic coating that has a certain appeal that older gamers will instantly be at home with. With the depth on offer and the variety of things to experience (including an unlockable endless mode that focuses on the cooking aspect of the game), this is definitely one fast food job you will want to apply for!
This review comes to you courtesy of Ash, aka Ima Gh0stbuster, of XBL Party Podcast. Check out all their great video game reviews, and awesome podcasts over at www.xblpartypodcast.com.