It seems like everyone’s opening a burger joint these days, but that doesn’t stop Burger Shop‘s combination of restaurant management and furious assembly-line clicking from being an enjoyable, funny and graphically impressive outing.
One day you receive a mysterious package in the mail that contains the blueprints for some sort of strange machine. Because you have nothing better to do, you decide to try to build the thing. (Why not?) The machine turns out to be a BurgerTron 2000, which is essentially a robot chef capable of spitting out an endless supply of ingredients onto a conveyor belt.
"If you fry it, they will come," the BurgerTron 2000 whispers in your ear. And so, you invest your life savings into a Burger Shop and embark on a new career as a fast food mogul.
During a typical day at the shop, you serve customers by clicking on the necessary ingredients to assemble whatever they have ordered. To make a cheeseburger, for example, you click on the bun halves, a ground beef patty, and a cheese slice. When the sandwich has been assembled, you can drag it onto the customer or right-click to instantly deliver it.
Take too long with a customer’s order and they’ll storm off in a huff. Serve them promptly, though, and they’ll leave you cash and a nice tip too. Raise enough cash to meet your minimum goal requirement for the day, and you’ll move on to the next day. Eventually you’ll have enough cash to open a new restaurant.
Sound pretty simple? The game’s just getting started. There’s actually far more to Burger Shop than just a couple of sandwiches. In between levels you’ll be able to upgrade your shop with the ability to serve new types of burger, drinks, sides and snacks. Add a fryer to make French fries and onion rings, for example, or an ice cream machine for sundaes and milk shakes, or a soft drink machine to serve different kinds of fizzy, brightly colored drinks.
There are an astounding 60+ upgrades in Burger Shop, which means that after almost every level in the game you get to add something new to your shop that makes the next level more challenging and interesting – as opposed to other time management games where you can purchase all the upgrades there are in the first 10 or 15 levels.
You can also add things like an extra workstation to place an unfinished burger on (which comes in handy if you’re waiting for the right ingredient to come down the conveyor belt), cookies to hand out to customers who are getting impatient, or a BurgerBot helper who fills a customer’s order automatically.
Just like a real fast food restaurant, you can cleverly combine the same few ingredients to make many different menu items. Take vanilla ice cream: You can serve it as straight ice cream in a cup (and garnish it with several different topping), turn it into a milkshake, or add cola to it to create an ice cream float.
With the more complex burgers, it can occasionally be tough to tell what a customer has ordered just by looking at the burger in the little bubble above their heads. (Is that two or three patties?) While you’re squinting trying to figure it out, of course, other customers’ orders are being neglected. And while the later levels never become uncomfortably frantic, every second does count. It’s a small issue, however, that only occasionally impacted on my enjoyment of the game.
Each new restaurant (there are 8 in total) has a different theme such as Wild West or Sports, and different customers have personality traits that dictate what they’re likely to order and how long they’re willing to wait for it. Businessmen will always order a humburger, fries and coke, while cowgirls love strawberry ice cream, and schoolgirls always come in groups of three and order three of the same thing because they want to fit in! My favorite characters are the clowns, who order crazy things like a burger with four patties, a vanilla sundae with ketchup, or an empty fry carton.
On top of enjoyable gameplay, Burger Shop boasts stellar production values. You can see and hear every detail of the food prep process, right down to the bubbly froth of the soft drink as it fills the plastic cup. The music also changes depending on the location; in the sports restaurant, for example, the theme is embellished with ballpark organ ditties.
Once you’ve completed the 80 levels of Burger Shop‘s story mode, there’s still a whole lot of game left. You can go back and try to get a Perfect score in every level, or try the next 80 levels of Expert Story Mode. Or you could switch to Challenge Mode and see how much money you can earn per level, or try Relax Mode, where the customers never leave so you can serve them at your leisure. All-in-all there are 96 trophies to add to your virtual case across all the modes.
Burger Shop isn’t the first burger-themed game to come out, and it likely won’t be the last, but it’s a game that’s definitely worth sinking your teeth into.