Guilty pleasures

Picture 37 After hearing about it for a while and thinking it basically sounded like a silly gimmick, I finally tried Achievement Unlocked; and I have to say that it actually is fun, as well as being a goofy send-up. Its sequel/relative This is the Only Level is not bad either, though some of the mechanics were irritating in practice; it struck me as a good sort of mental exercise for the designer (what are all the different twists we can put on this one simple challenge?) but less awesome to play.

burgershop2aThese days I mostly don’t play time management games unless they’re sent to me for review, they’re demonstrating some new mechanic, or they show hints of having a more interesting storyline than average. The first few were fun, but I’ve now pretty much been there and done that. But I made an exception for Burger Shop 2. The first Burger Shop was simply very well constructed; and number 2 won my heart and my registration with its goodnatured jokes about casual games in general. The game opens with the protagonist of Burger Shop having mysteriously lost his empire and needing to rebuild it (the question that most time management sequels have to answer somehow or other, usually hamhandedly). One of the first things he does is to hire a detective, but the detective is useless and keeps bringing him pointless objects, in a screen that spoofs hidden object games. Other casual game styles are sent up in later screens.

There’s no great depth here, just strong design and a perky self-awareness that many casual games lack.

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