Hungry for excitement and adventure?

Dig into Burger Island, the coolest electronic exercise in slinging food to unruly patrons we’ve spied in several weeks. Despite the frantic pace at which the game unfolds, and the inevitable onset of repetition, it’s a surprisingly polished and gratifying experience that’s sure to satisfy any craving for spastic, arcade-style fun.

As the tale opens, you find yourself – a green-eyed, raven-haired beauty with an omnipresent grin – washed ashore on a remote island in the wake of a terrifying storm. Alone, stranded and without a penny to your name, you stumble upon a lone burger stand, which, after working at for just a day, you unexpectedly inherit from a kindly old couple.

Cue a fairly typical, if sweat-inducing, series of standalone challenges, within which you must satisfy impatient customers’ orders before the temperature gauge representing their mood runs cold. The trick to doing so: Making burgers, fries and milkshakes to custom order, with more money paid out the faster you feed goofy bikers’ and flabby tourists’ faces. Meet a minimum cash goal before closing time comes around on any given day, and you successfully complete the level, and have the option to buy new gourmet recipes. Each original culinary creation is, of course, sold at an increasing premium, with the cycle repeating itself as you slowly work your way around the island, opening new stands.

Things start out simple enough, with one of three scenarios presented. Looking at four trays from a perspective set above and behind the heroine’s back, you’ll either be working the grill, fryer or milkshake-making station. But to finish these vignettes, you must furiously cook up tasty treats by slapping meat, veggies, condiments and other yummy toppings together as fast as humanly possible.

For example, one patron might order a cheeseburger; another, a veggie burger; and a third, a Tiki special. Each is naturally its own recipe, requiring a different mix of ingredients (e.g. meat patty + cheese + pickles versus a veggie patty + mustard + onions + tomatoes + lettuce). And, of course, all must be assembled in the exact order prescribed by the icons hovering above each color-coded station. As can be expected, this involves moving your mouse about the screen at top speed, hyperactively clicking on buns, milk cartons, bottles of strawberry syrup, cans of whipped cream and piles of peppers.

Interestingly, the outing’s fairly strategic – success depends largely on anticipating the next orders to arrive, queuing up various actions and learning how to group related activities to save time. While there’s definitely a science to the proceedings though, you’re eventually sure to find yourself overwhelmed. Certainly, practice makes perfect, and there’s no challenge presented that isn’t soon overcome with a few tries, and barely-averted aneurysms. But juggling four stations and an all-you-can-eat buffet’s worth of foodstuffs while keeping grumpy vacationers from going ballistic and burgers from burning will definitely tax both your patience and reflexes.

That said, this is a title best enjoyed by intermediate-level to experienced casual gamers… A shame, considering that the staggering production values it sports will easily appeal to audiences of all ages and genders. Seriously: The surfin’ safari soundtrack’s good enough that even if you don’t possess the right skill set, it’s still worth checking out. As is, for that matter, character animation, especially that boasted by sarcastic, scowl-faced maitre d Pierre, who serves as both tutor and constant comic foil.

Alas, for all its upsides, the game’s no different from peers in one key respect: Eventually, you’ll just grow tired of the admittedly cardiac arrest-inducing, but ultimately all-too-similar, action. Nonetheless, several hours of extended play will surely have passed before you’ve reached this point. Meaning that, while fairly derivative, and notable mainly for its spectacular graphics, killer soundtrack and overall sense of personality, the saga’s still worth scoping out.

You’re wholeheartedly encouraged to chow down and see for yourself. Frankly, I’m getting a little peckish just thinking about it already…