I thought I had a grudge against this game until like, a day or two ago when I was talking about the games I had left. When Hachi and I made King of Gourmet a few year back, a game about eating a bunch of food and then fighting the bad guys, all anyone would say was that they wished someone would merge our game with what I thought was Super Penguin Chef.
Naturally, I felt like we were being unfairly dismissed, like we weren't smart enough to make our game and that it was just a good idea for someone else to do properly, and swore a blood feud against that tainted game that was stealing our thunder. Thought it was this one, but turns out Penguin Chef wasn't released back then. The guy had been talking about WALRUS Chef. Blood-feud cancelled... UNTIL I NOTICED THE GUY WHO SUGGESTED MERGING WALRUS CHEF AND KING OF GOURMET WAS MOOGLE1, THE SAME GUY WHO MADE THIS GAME!!!
So you want my predictions? My prediction is that low-down cheating Moogle-loving snake in the grass took the best parts of King of Gourmet and the best parts of Super Walrus Chef and glued 'em together like some kind of twisted frathouse toilet-seat prank! This isn't gonna be a review, this is gonna be a revenge! Every theft, every flaw, every coincidence dragged into the light of justice where it belongs.
You messed with the wrong man, Moogle1!!!!!
I notice a thanks to Surlaw on the download page. What about Giz? What about Hachi? What about George Washington? -100 points!! (That's right, there's points this time!)
...the enclosed Game.EXE says it has unsupported features. How the hell does that happen? What's that going to look like to someone playing this thing blind? -50 Points!!
That pig looks a lot like the hero of Wage Slave, ANOTHER entry in that 48 hours contest! -100 Points!
And another -100 for ripping off Final Fantasy 2!
AND WHAT ABOUT APOLOGIES TO GIZ? TO HACHI? TO GEORGE WASHINGTON?! -500 POINTS!!!
Pleasing customers? Jesus, now he's ripping off Pepsi's Entrepeneur! -100 Points!
Sound effects are kind of loud. -1 Point
There's a duck. In a pond. That's ripping off Duck, Duck and MJ, AND Village People RPG. -900 Points
Carrot Top is a registered trademark of some asshole comedian. +3 points ('cause fuck Carrot Top)
Battles are kinda slow and awfully hard
"Nevermind" doesn't actually leave the tutorial guy's menu
Shortcuts should work both ways.
Oh, there's wings for that. I see.
And fuck it, I'm stuck in the woods.
So, it doesn't steal the concept from King of Gourmet like, at all. At least in the parts I saw. THIS TIME. It does seem to borrow just a little bit from those "Person is in debt and in trouble" games like... Nintendo's Animal Crossing or Fenrir's Barely Legal Bitches, but I guess that's more a genre than plagiarism. THIS TIME. I do think the battles are just a little bit harder than they oughta be, it's hard to explore without wasting your entire day, and just generally the game is slower paced than I would like. I think the daily restaraunt routine could be a little showier. I was kind of enjoying it until the very end where I think I broke it.
Graphically, it feels alright. Some things are a little bit lazy looking, but the walkabouts and enemies and important stuff have some cartoony style to them. Reminds me of that last game Moogle1 made, with the timer and the heroes and the puzzles. One important exception to the lazy looking rule is ChickenDome. That place is badass. Music was well-ripped midis that generally fit the scene they were in. Menu sound effects were a bit obnoxious for my tastes, but I'm not a fan of them in general.
There's a custom level-up system where you learn new spells and techniques, but most of my spells did equal or lesser damage than just punchin a fool. Maybe in the later areas elemental stuff gets to be a concern, but as it was felt kinda pointless except for the healing stuff which seemed somewhat underpowered. Same for the buffs and debuffs, no point that I saw. At least (I think) when you die you go back to town without penalty so you're not losing much for trying. Hated that the shortcuts were one way. Who wants to have to walk all the way home, especially when you can't run from battles? Worst thing was the "Wings" that a buffalo (HONK) gives you. I tried using them right before leaving the forest and was told "There's a time and a place for everything, now isn't it". And then when I tried to walk out of the forest, I got the same message. Again and again. FOREVER. Not sure if it had something to do with my trying to leave and saying no a saecond before, but it put an end to my playthrough.
Fortunately, I had already seen a few days at the restaraunt, the arrival of the loanshark and his increasing demands for money, and an IRON CHEF SHOWDOWN! Oh no, I forgot to deduce points for ripping off Tokyo TV! These seem to be the focus of the game. Two judges will be chosen, perhaps at random. So will an ingriedient. Your goal is to create a dish with two other ingriedients to please those judges. It can be difficult to judge what's going to work how, what the recipe is gonna end up being. I won mine with a combination of Taco Salad and Spaghetti. The other team used Tacos and got the same amount of points for the first bout, but went with god only knows what for the second one and I won by 14! Was kind of fun, but could've been more intuitive.
All things considered, it's at least a really cool concept that falls short every now and then of its true potential. The battles are brutal, but if you can really die and just get a free trip back to town it's not that terrible. Maps are really big, but I assume there's something to be found by exploring so I can forgive that. The Adventure -> Restaraunt -> Bed cycle would've been cooler if the palette had shifted a little, play up the Day - Evening - Night stuff. I'd love to recommend it 'cause it is kind of cool, and I can only assume it'll get cooler with time, but then I look at the score.
-1948 out of a possible 5 Stars
Not even IGN would recommend a game with a score that low!