Whipping up breakfast and serving supper are simple, menial tasks for many of us, but not to the YouTube celebrities at Yogscast, or the crew at Foggy Box Games. Both teams have collaborated on a cooking game with a predictable twist: the controls and physics are utterly janked. Remember gimmick titles like I Am Bread or Octodad, which made these unignorable flaws a stand-out feature? Brunch Club is the same, but better, thanks to its sizeable amount of content and multiplayer capabilities.
Each stage has a table or surface covered with ingredients, cutlery, plates, and so on. The objective is to create the requested meals before time runs out. You can move a single item at a time, albeit with some unrealistic, ‘floppy’ physics. Flipping items can be a very demanding task, since they tend to pivot on the spot and get stuck under one another at times. Button-mashing will make whatever you’re controlling shuffle around a wee bit, which might be enough to help a hot dog climb into a bun where it belongs, though this may waste precious time in the process.
Practice mode is a good starting point to help familiarize yourself with the feel of the game, but you won’t earn a one-to-three star ranking upon completing any of the stages, nor will your best time be uploaded to the online leaderboards. Standard mode introduces some creative, stage-specific hazards, like a sniper that’ll shoot anything in your grasp. The biggest threat is the fact that if anything falls off the surface and off-screen, then it’s back to square one. One mistake will reset the entire round, and that just feels really cheap. For what it’s worth, there’s still some amusement to be had in this demanding mode.
Other modes include 5 Second Rule, which is like a relay course. You’ll have to move a snack through a handful of checkpoints without letting it touch the surface for more than five seconds in total. If you keep letting it get all icky and contaminated, then the level will reset itself. Luckily, anything that falls off the tables will be dropped back on again. This mode’s a bit of a frantic scramble, and none too easy. There’s no timer, only some shaky tables or moving conveyor belts to complicate everything. While there are only a trio of missions in this one, having to improvise and create makeshift-bridges with whatever’s at your disposal is quite fun, and should be enough to get your creative juices flowing.
There are two multiplayer-centric modes, the first being Face Off, a 1v1 versus mode where players must cook up a meal in their own designated part of the map before the other does. It’s not as intense as the other modes, since it has smaller rota to fulfil and no punishment for dropping your food, so it’s definitely worth a try. The other mode is Rice Ball Rumble. Up to four rice balls (they look like jelly doughnuts to me) must push one another off of moving tables by jumping or charging at one another. It’s easily the weakest mode in the game since it drags on for a total of five rounds, and doesn’t really offer any interesting twists.
Not a whole lot to say about the visuals or sound in this one. It’s colorful and ‘toon-like, ‘nuff said. The music is peppy and upbeat, just the kind of thing you wouldn’t want to hear on loop when you’re in a tense game. The inclusion of a narrator feels a bit pointless, as his sole purpose is to recite the blatantly obvious on-screen objectives, or make unfunny pop culture references about Tarantino movies or Game of Thrones. At least there’s some reassurance knowing he never commentates during gameplay.
As much as Brunch Club will make you want to headbutt a hole through your kitchen in anger, it’s actually an unexpectedly fun time-waster. There’s a good deal of game modes on offer with enough twists to justify its price tag, making it a decent distraction when playing alone, but even better when playing with or against others. Honestly though, some of the levels are just far too tedious for their own good, not helped by the fact that the game will restart if you botch up. The narrator, soundtrack and its writing are all just dead weight, too. Overall, while Brunch Club may have a slight bitter aftertaste that’s difficult to ignore, it’s still a satisfying morsel of Switch-y goodness.
Game code supplied by Foggy Box Games.