Thursday, November 19, 2020

Lunch A Palooza (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC) Review

It's been a while since SuperPhillip Central has been harsh (well, harsh in the site's way) with a game review, as that's not something I take pride in doing. Unfortunately, that time has come once again with the physics-based party brawler Lunch A Palooza. Here is the SPC review.

 Sloppy seconds

My mom used to scold me for playing with my food at the dinner table. But c'mon--I had to do everything I could to make green beans look more appealing, and who as a child could resist the desire to fire and launch some beans across the room? Getting my ear chewed out and having extra chores for doing so was never fun as a punishment, but in hindsight it made me a stronger person. All that welcomed nostalgia aside, in Seashell Studio's Lunch A Palooza, the game is all about playing with your food--well, it's more about fighting with your food, but you get the idea. Unfortunately, this food fight is quite a stale one from the word "go" and one that you definitely won't want leftovers from.

Starting off, Lunch A Palooza looks... presentable. There's a colorful menu set in a kitchen where you select between the four modes the game possesses. All the while your ears get some bouncy and dare I say catchy music to listen to. The four modes include a free-for-all battle, a team-based battle mode, a king of the hill-style mode, and a timed battle mode where each life lost results in you changing characters upon respawning. Okay, good enough so far.

Matches are mercifully short in Lunch A Palooza.

Then, you get to the actual game, and this is where things get rather rough. Lunch A Palooza plays like an arena brawler with the main goal is to knock your opponent or opponents off the playing field to make them lose lives. Be the last food stuff standing and you're the victor. Matches are quick--I'll give the game that, but when it comes down to actually fighting with your food characters, well, this is where the game falls apart like poorly made dough.

Each character in Lunch A Palooza is based off a food item of some sort. There's a burger, a cob of corn, a meatball, a slab of gelatin, etc. Each possesses its own attack, and these are hardly balanced. Now, I'm not saying this game needs to be tournament-ready, as it's meant to be a silly chaotic brawler, but there really is no point in choosing any other character than the gelatin due to its wide area cube-spewing ability.

Chaos is usually welcomed in games like this, but with poor collision detection,
 this isn't quite the case in Lunch A Palooza.

Perhaps if attacks consistently HIT, this wouldn't be so much of an issue, but they don't. Whether it's the corn on the cob's spin move, the pizza slice's leap, or the meatball's roll, these moves do not routinely connect with the impact they should. Sometimes you'll stand right next to your opponent, unleash an attack, and nothing happens. Do the same attack the next time and suddenly your opponent is flung across the screen and out of bounds. It's silly, and not in a good, fun, "This is what the developers were planning" kind of way. 

As for the arenas, there are some neat ideas here. Each arena is based in a restaurant-like setting, such as a classy Italian joint where a ladle, fork, and knife routinely enter into the checkered table arena to cause mischief. There's also a Chuck E. Cheese-like pizza arcade where you battle on an ice hockey table that can flip into a foosball table when a player inserts a coin item into a slot. 

One bright spot is the creative stage ideas on display in the game.

Unfortunately, there's very little meat on this game's bones for the price tag of just over $15. Sure, there are multiple unlockables in the form of new stages, characters, and skins for said characters, but these are timed-based unlocks. You'll have most of the stages and characters unlocked within two hours, and that--believe me--is two mind-numbing hours of utter boredom and mindless button mashing. It's just not worth it.

Lunch A Palooza fails as a party game with any kind of strategy or more importantly, any semblance of fun. It's just too random, from its inconsistent physics to its yawn-inducing, indecipherable gameplay. It has nice ideas with some clever arena design, but other than that, I cannot recommend this game at all. You might as well take a burger patty out of the freezer as well as take out a banana and start smashing them into one another like they were action figures. At least that would show attacks that actually hit consistently and be less random than suffering through this game.

[SPC Says: D-]

A code was provided for this review.

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