Burger Bustle will whip you into shape. If you have been plying plenty of time management food games, you might think that you are ready for what this game will throw at you. Think again. Bustle’s got plenty of challenges and plenty of stages to keep even the most hardened player on their toes. The game brings well detailed graphics, some of the best animations we have seen and a very fitting soundtrack. But the first few stages will be all you have to enjoy the sights and sounds as the game will place you in the heat of the action quite early. If you think you have got what it takes, then it is time to face the Bustle!
Managing Success: Burger Bustle
As you might have expected, we have played countless food simulation games. While there are many great games, there are an exceptional few that truly stand out from the rest of the menu and Burger Bustle is one such entrée.
Just to get it out of the way, we’ll start this off with the one single thing that we did not like about the game: the load times. It will get on your nerves if you are itching for some fast paced gameplay –having to wait for more than a minute for a casual game to load is hardly anything enticing. Also, the artworks for the loading screen betray how well the game actually looks. The devs could have made use of that space to write in a few helpful tips since players will be staring at it for a while anyway. And that concludes everything we have to complain about Burger Bustle.
First off, forget the story. Like many other casual games, this one just places you there and lets you play. Not really the ideal choice for those looking for something with a storyline, but considering that Burger Bustle’s target market is different: the omission of a plot proves to be a good decision. Besides, having to think about other story details when you are busy managing a fast food joint is somewhat distracting.
And yes, we said managing. Burger Bustle takes on the genre in more realistic manner: you do not play the all powerful chef who has to hand out menus, prepare all the ingredients, cook, pack, serve and even handle the payments. In this game, you tell your people what to do. Like most fast food establishments, staff can be moved around quite easily. If you need more people cooking, you can tell that extra worker near the counter to heat up the pan instead of serving customers. This leads to a very interesting and enjoyable gameplay (and we will get into that later).
The first thing players will notice about this game is how it looks. While the initial loading screen may have been a visual disappointment, the rest of the game looks infinitely better. The main menus and the map for the stages are nicely detailed, though a little more cohesion is needed in the design. The colors for the main menus are bright and loud while the map screen is more somber and dark. The actual restaurant however, is a casual game masterpiece.
The details on the individual counters detailing the cooking area, the dessert stations and the burger topping preparations are both informative and nice to look at. The small table icons will instantly tell you what each counter prepares (though the tomato slices table may look confusing on screens with low contrast settings) and will help you when you are busy managing so many orders at once. The serving counter on the other hand is a detailed yet simple bar with three spots that a server can get food from.
Burger Bustle also features some pretty impressive animations. Each worker has their own movement animations depending on which station they are placed in and what foods they are serving. Customers on the other hand will ask for take outs or dine in an also have their own animation frames. The movements are so well-made that they actually give life into this game. Even if you are busy taking on orders, these details provide that subtle level of immersive fun that we appreciate in any game.
The sounds are remarkably good. Few casual titles actually manage to come up with a catchy theme, and Burger Bustle does. Not only are the BGMs good to listen to, the game also makes use of several voice clips that give players a cue that there is a new order coming up (and it also makes the game feel a lot more real). Like most games of its kind, players should make use of the audio and sound cues for the game in order to keep track of finished tasks and tips left on the tables.
This game takes on the management aspect more than any other. Burger Bustle instantly sets you up with at least two workers in the store to manage a myriad of counter. Assigning the workers will let you access any counter that is available but at the same time, any unmanned station will not function. This makes for a very interesting mix of timing and strategy planning especially when you are trying to meet varying stage goals.
The basic run of the game works like any other, wait for customers to order, then prepare the food. The twist comes from being able to manage your team properly so that each order gets prepared on time. Keep things running fast and smooth and even a pile up of three orders will not be a problem, but take too much time and the customers will start getting upset. Fortunately, the game allows players to grind early on, and new players might want to invest time repeating high rating stages to get trophies a lot faster (since trophies also add in more abilities to players as well).
When playing the game, we found it best to stockpile up to two burgers per cooking station and to adjust the locations of the workers as needed. You will need 1-2 at the extra toppings station (depending on how many orders you have) and at least 2 at the desserts –considering that all three toppings and three dessert stations are open. You will only need one person cooking, leave two of each type of burgers ready per station as there is no “heat” to consider. If you accidentally grab the wrong item, just place it in the center display shelf or make use of one of the preparation trays (there are three, so just leave the other two for your server if needed).
Burger Bustle is not your ordinary fast-food store simulation game. Sure, it looks a lot like plenty of those other casual gaming titles out there on the market, but once you get into the game, you will find that the gameplay is deceptively deep and will require more than the usual time management strategies that are effective in other games. Of course, all that challenge comes with its own reward, Burger Bustle’s in game trophies will provide you not only with bragging rights, but additional skills and upgrades as well. Wrapping it all nicely into a great game package are some of the best sprite animations, well composed BGMs and impressive voice overs for a time management title.