Burger Cat is a logic puzzle game where you are given a collection of tools to assist a cat in making it safely to his delicious cheeseburger waiting for him (usually) on the far end of the level. There are be blocks that need building, blocks that need removing, deadly drop-offs which must be traversed, keys collected, doors unlocked and even the stray dog or two to avoid.
At the start of a level, players are provided a limited set of tools (in both type and quantity) like a magic wand (to build blocks), pick axe, spring and dog bone, which can be used build a save passage for the cat. It’s up to them to figure out how best to use them. In some levels you may need to use all the resources at your disposal, others may require just a subset of them.
The cat does not start moving until players press the “play” button, so you can take your time and plan out exactly how you are going to use the tools and apply them to the level to create a clear path for the cat. Then you press play and watch him walk safely to the other side. Tools can also be applied to the level while the cat is in motion, and in some levels you will need to do this for things like using an umbrella to walk safely under dripping acid, or distracting a dog with a bone. However, for the majority of puzzles, everything can be pre-done before pressing play.
To use tools, you select them from the toolbar and then tap the spot on the screen where you’d like to apply them. Sounds easily enough, the only problem is that the game will often misinterpret where you tapped and put the block one square higher or to the side of where you actually wanted it. Oh, and did I mention there is no incremental “undo action” button? Your only option is to restart the entire level, undoing every tool that you already applied on the level. This was a constant source of frustration for me.
When you press the play button, Burger Cat automatically starts walking across the screen from left to right, climbing over single blocks. If he encounters two or more blocks (creating a wall) then he turns around and starts walking in the opposite direction. Many levels spread across multiple screen-lengths, so during playback, the screen will scroll with the cat as he reaches an edge. Unfortunately this scrolling is very jumpy and there is no way to speed up the playback with a 2x speed or anything. So you are stuck there watching this cat slowly walk across the screen taking longer to get his cheeseburger than it did for you to solve the puzzle.
The game comes with 60 levels, the vast majority of which are way too easy. The handful or so that did put up a little of a challenge were interspersed throughout the game and there was no consistent increase in difficulty as you progressed through the game, with some of the easiest levels coming right near the end. There is no benefit to trying to find the most clever path, or the one that uses the least number of tools, you aren’t rewarded with any sort of per-level star ranking, it’s just pass/fail. So once you complete a level, there really in no incentive to go back and play it again.
It is not all bad news, the game features some amazingly crisp Retina display graphics that look amazing on the latest generation iPad. Burger Cat also includes the (far too underused) iCloud save option to sync your progress across multiple devices. However, with the speed at which you’ll get through the 60 levels, playing on more than one device may be unnecessary.
Unfortunately Burger Cat really doesn’t live up to what the studio has shown they are capable of. It is far too easy, feels unfinished and in need of some performance optimizations. There is an achievement called “Time Well Spent” that is awarded for playing the game for more than 4 hours, it probably should have been called “How Did I Fill The Time?” because this game will take you no where near 4 hours to complete. It has the makings of a fun game, it just needs to some time at the fixins bar to get there. In the meantime, I’m sending this one back to the chef.