If you peer into the bowels of your favourite burger establishment you’ll probably be struck by how much fun the staff are having as they cook fries, pour shakes, and assemble burgers. They can’t believe their luck, because they are literally living inside a casual time-management game.
Okay, that was a lie. The people who actually work in burger joints look sad and bored. But, somehow, video games about doing the exact same thing are routinely fun, and Burger Shop 2 is no exception.
The sequel to ubiquitous casual smash Burger Shop, Burger Shop 2 picks up where the last game left off. With a twist. The catering empire that you built in the first game through the sweat on your brow and your incredible dexterity is in gone, your diner is boarded up, and your head is sore. Plus you’re in a dumpster.
Oops! So Burger Shop 2 sees you embarking on the pretty much same journey again, from penniless caterer to fast food mogul. Fortunately, you still have your secret weapon: BurgerTron 2000, a miracle machine that churns out food as fast as you can serve it.
The BurgerTron is a shiny contraption with a conveyor belt snaking out of it. Food moves along this belt. Meanwhile customers take their seats along the counter at the bottom of the screen and bark their orders at you.
At its simplest, this means tapping on a food item and then tapping on the customer. Usually, though, you need to tap on a plate too. This is consistent with service conventions in the real world.
Things keep getting more complicated from there. Before starting each level you have a choice of three new foods to add to the menu, which need to be prepared in a variety of ways.
For instance, stuff like steak and salmon need to go into the oven before being plated up. Glasses of soda need to be filled, of course, and fries need to be fetched from the fryer. Some customers order ice cream, which is dispensed by an ice cream machine and either decorated with sprinkles or not, depending on what the customer asks for.
If you mess up an order, you need to dump the whole plate into the garbage disposal and start again, while your impatient customer becomes increasingly irate.
It’s likely that you’ll start to upset diners (and lose tips) embarrassingly early in the game as you struggle to cope with cooking and serving simultaneously.
The thing that makes Burger Shop 2 harder than it might otherwise have been is the way the plating up process is irreversible. If you pop the wrong item on a plate – easily done with fat fingers on a small screen – you’ve effectively wasted all of the time you’ve spent so far on that meal, including cooking time.
On the other hand, the game doesn’t insist that you get a whole meal out at once, so you can always keep your customer happy for a bit longer by serving a drink, say, before giving them their meal shortly afterwards.
There are little boosts, too, including a flying robot that can prepare a meal for you in superquick time whenever its boost bar fills.
This is just the tiniest glimpse into Burger Shop 2’s rapidly escalating time-management challenge. We mentioned five food items. There are over 100 in total, unlocked as you make your way through the game’s 120 levels.
The complexity goes beyond serving food, too. There are distinct customer types with distinct levels of patience, food preferences, and so on. Some of them own dogs, and therefore appreciate free dog biscuits. Some of them demand to see menus before ordering. To get the most out of the game you’ll need to be across a lot of information.
In terms of presentation, Burger Shop 2 isn’t a particularly cutting edge example of mobile technology. The graphics are cartoony but basic, and on smaller screens the food items can be tricky to isolate.
But the surreal story is a lot of fun, and the gameplay is deceptively deep. If you’re in the market for some casual time-management, Burger Shop 2 is well worth downloading.