Heidi has been obsessed with burgers her whole life. She graduates at the head of her class at the International Culinary Academy, but instead of going to work at a famous high-end restaurant, she decides to start her own burger joint to prove to the world that burgers can be fine cuisine too. In Burger Rush, you’ll help Heidi realize her dream of creating low-fat, delicious burgers and spreading the burger gospel.
Think of Burger Rush as a cross between Stand O’ Food and Jewel Quest (and a bit of Cake Mania and Diner Dash thrown in for good measure). Like Stand O’ Food, you must serve the various customers that come into the restaurant by creating the burger that they order. To create the burger, you’ll need to match a certain number of ingredients on a grid that resembles a Jewel Quest board but substituting things like beef, chicken, lettuce, ketchup and tomatoes instead of jewels.
For example, if a customer comes in and places an order for a burger that needs 7 lettuce, 7 beef and 9 tomato, you’ll have to match that many of each ingredient in the grid to fill the order. You can have up to four orders queued at the same time, and if you’ve filled all of a certain ingredient for the first burger, any additional matches you create will automatically start to fill the second order in line, and so on.
Once a burger is ready, you have to click on it to serve it to the customer, and then click on the money that the customer leaves behind to conclude the order. You can increase the value of an order by adding a soft drink or a side of French fries to it – these extras become available every so often depending on how many matches you make.
Like all restaurant sims, time is a factor in Burger Rush. Customers have a limited amount of patience, and if you take too long preparing their food they’ll start to get annoyed (which means less of a tip for you), and they may even storm out. You can feed treats to huffy customers to get them to stay a bit longer.
You’ll earn tokens throughout the game that can be used to purchase things like new burger recipes, more treats, extra lives, and upgrades to the soft drink and fry machines for improved flavour and efficiency.
Heidi will also gradually expand her burger empire from the humble shack she starts out in to other spiffy restaurants like a retro diner, tiki hut, and later on in the game to even more outlandish locations like underwater and outer space.
In spite of the fact that there are only up to four customers in the store at a time, Burger Rush is still quite challenging because it takes a lot more effort to create a burger than simply clicking on the necessary ingredients with the mouse. Adding the match-three element to the restaurant sim experience was a stroke of genius that adds a lot to the game’s appeal.
Burger Rush is also helped by great production values and cute extra touches like a comic strip to introduce the story, and "Burger Facts" that pop up between levels with interesting tidbits about the history of the hamburger. (For example, did you know that the hamburger bun was invented in 1916 by a fellow named Walter Anderson, and that prior to that people used to put their meat between two slices of regular bread?)
Players will also get a kick out of the eccentric group of customers that come into the store. There are ten in all, ranging from computer nerds to construction workers to street mimes and Elvis impersonators, and each has their own set of entertaining animations and sounds – when the nerd is getting impatient, for example, he pulls out a light sabre and starts to brandish it at Heidi.
The only problem I found with Burger Rush was that it was hard at times to drag a treat onto a customer due to an extremely small and sensitive target area. Sometimes it would take two or three tries before a customer accepted the treat, which wasted valuable seconds.
This is a small gripe, however. With 50 levels, 15 burger recipes, and plenty of upgrades for the restaurant, Burger Rush is an inspired combination of two popular genres, and it’s great fun too.