Fast Food Panic - WII - Review
The Wii has seen its fair share of cooking-themed games, and with good reason. The art of food preparation is universal, its importance unquestionable, its enjoyability… well, somewhat debatable. In truth, cooking can become a bit of a chore. Fast Food Panic attempts to inject some adrenaline into a normally mundane activity, by placing the player in the shoes of a restaurant entrepreneur. It is less a simulation of an actual restaurant, and more of a mini-game buffet that covers everything from grilling burgers to scrubbing dishes.
The multiplayer modes allow up to four players to participate, and having additional players is always a good idea for these frantic episodes. Single-player sessions will still allow you to switch off from one role to the next, however. If you’re getting sick of dealing with customers and decide you’d rather cower behind the counter flipping burgers, you can do so instantly with a press of the trigger button. The tasks themselves are nicely varied, and role-cycling offers the player some degree of pacing control, which is nice when things become frantic.
Fast Food Panic will try to guide you through each task with text tutorials; unfortunately, the game doesn’t seem to pause automatically when you’re reading through it. Luckily, they aren’t terribly complicated. Burger construction uses “doneness” bars to indicate the readiness of each component. Patties and buns must be flipped only when they’ve reached the red “done” threshold; as you might expect, waiting too long will result in a burnt item, which means you’ll need to start over and spend even more time completing the order. The dishes are appropriately consistent with the fast-food theme, focusing on American classics like pancakes, ice cream, and pizza, each of which requires its own unique bit of skill mastery.
Each completed round offers a total score, as well as a letter grade ranking. There are also mini-games separate from the story, which allow you to quickly jump in and out of anything you might be in the mood for. Among these, one of the most memorable is a game called “Glutton.” This is essentially a food-eating contest, which sees the player scrambling to cut and consume an entire steak as quickly as possible. The Wii-mote makes a somewhat intuitive interface for this process, though I’m not sure who got the idea that manually “chewing” the steak with certain maneuvers on the controller was a great idea.
Even under optimal playing conditions, Fast Food Panic does suffer from the party game’s most common flaw: monotony. The weaving, uppity score only heightens this sense of aggravation, lending the sense that you are trapped in this restaurant workspace and any activity has the potential to frustrate you. Performing the tasks at a heightened pace does not actually make things more fun, but rather, hastens exhaustion. The cutesy-anime style graphics may bolster the appeal to younger audiences, but even they will likely find Fast Food Panic quickly develops into Fast Food Boredom.
Review Scoring Details for Fast Food Panic
Some clever mechanics integrate food service and preparation techniques into frantic gameplay sessions, but they become tiresome far too quickly.
Bright and lively characters appear slightly rough around the edges, and the tasks are sometimes muddled with cluttered workspace areas.
I’m not sure what accent some of these characters possess, but the music is the main irritation. More variety is needed.
Awkward introductions and hurried gameplay. Very young players may struggle to withstand the heat of this kitchen.
Much of it sounds good on paper, but we’ve seen all these things done before – often with better success.
Like any decent party game, the sessions get better when more people are involved. Getting everyone to grasp the techniques as quickly as possible will either become a hilarious or infuriating experience.
Fast Food Panic will likely appeal more to young players than real cooks, as the skills aren’t terribly authentic and the gameplay is far too repetitive. At best, it is a short-term diversion for casual party game lovers.