Super Lemonade Factory has it’s charm, but lacks variety too
There’s a website out there where you can get a randomly generated band or rap name made for you. Really, it just throws a bunch of random words into a digital blender and then spits something back out at you. I can’t help but think that’s the route the makers of the platformer Super Lemonade Factory went to come up with a name. It just makes no sense. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game, now does it?
Somehow, amazingly, the weird plotline actually fits the vibe of the game well. Not that you need a coherent plot to have a game like this work, just ask Super Meat Boy. But still, I don’t think I would’ve said a game that takes place post-war about a couple just off their honeymoon trying to take over the family lemonade factory business by winning over the employees would be a great idea. But it actually kinda is.
You play as the inheriting couple Andre and Liselot, and to win over the employees and get the factory for yourselves you’ll need to make your way through 35 increasingly harder levels. You’ll do so by controlling the couple both separately and at the same time. You move and jump using a standard virtual left-right a/b control scheme, and will switch between the two people by swiping left or right on the screen. I thought that would be a bit confusing and mix up my inputs, but it was actually never a problem.
You need to go back and forth between the couple, since each have their own abilities and are better tasked to get through certain parts of the level. In Andre’s case he can smash through boxes and Liselot can do the ol’ double jump. It’s worth noting that you need to get them both to the exit on each level, so it’s nice that it’s possible to “link” them up so you can move them at once sometimes too.
With the visual style, the neat plot idea, plus the better than expected controls, you’d think I loved this game. But sadly I came away just feeling very “meh” about it all. While there’s functionally nothing wrong with Super Lemonade Factory, it’s just that nothing much different ever happens over the course of those 35 levels. It feels very much the same level after level. You’ll switch back and forth at clear intervals, and there’s just never anything that stand out about the experience.
Which is a shame, because while goofy as it is, the idea of a post-World War II factory-based platformer really does appeal to me, and thematically they make it work. The visuals are drab, the rooms often dusty and poorly lit. Even the outfits the characters wear suit the weird time period they’re going for very well.
Dying was another sore spot for me. I have no problem dying in platformers – it’s to be expected. What’s super frustrating about it is how you die sometimes: Liselot has the ability to talk to the factory workers, and they give you little clues about stuff. So you walk up to them and hit A to speak to them. Walk to close and touch them? Dead. It’s nonsense.
I think my lasting takeaway from Super Lemonade Factory was just how generic it was, for better or worse. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it in any shape or form, but it doesn’t do anything to make itself stand out either. In an oversaturated app market, that alone could be enough to bury it in the long term.