I'm Hungry (PSVR) Review
Release Date: July 8, 2019
Publisher/Developer: Winking Skywalker Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation VR
Many PSVR games I play try to be snippets of bigger games, like how Batman got a VR game that’s just the investigations, or racing games that strip down a lot of the choices and nuances that might be found in it’s controller counterpart. I’m Hungry attempts to go the other way, by taking essentially a mobile game and fleshing it out to more than what it started as. While the traditional gamer in me sees room for more growth, what you end up with is a great party or family game that provides more laughs the more people you have in your room.
My wife basically has this game on her phone under another name. You are the owner of a food truck, and you have access to a few basic meal items. You open shop, people order their food, and you have to make it. However, instead of basic clicks on a touchscreen, players are tasked with physically assembling the burgers, cutting the fries and cooking them, or placing the cups and pumping the ice cream. Each of these actions are made more frantic with the Move controllers, all the way down to my favorite; the satisfying SNAP as you pop a paper bag open, swipe up the goods, and hand it to the customer. It’s a basic mobile game premise, right down to the potential three-star grade you can get per level. There are eighteen levels each in two different venues that you work for about five minutes apiece, eventually unlocking endless mode where you just keep going and aiming for a high score. Earning cash allows you to unlock better equipment, though it feels like a contradiction to the fun as it basically eliminates some of the motions you have to do to prep a food item. One unique addition is a calorie counter on your “wristwatch” showing you how many real-world calories you are burning as you serve calories to your customers.
I’m Hungry may be a single player experience but it really comes into it’s own with several people in the room laughing and having fun. I played a round by myself and was willing to give the game a decent score, but then my kids and wife saw it and wanted to try, which turned into several nights of frantic food prep that I guarantee aren’t over yet. I wish that the game officially provided a way for competitions between players locally (there is an online leaderboard) as we basically end up working on one person’s profile. It’s no big deal to start over and unlock for the other players, but I could see fun in officially set up local “competitions.”
I understand the arcadey roots and budget experience we are getting in I’m Hungry, but there are a few things that I personally wish got a bit more polish. There seem to be a notably limited amount of customer models in the game. When a line forms of random characters and four lanky dudes in green trenchcoats line up with the exact same demeanor and mannerisms it just gets repetitive. I know the food and creation of it is the main attraction to the game, but my family got to joking that the town was full of clones. Watching them slowly show excitement to their food in the same goofy way each time then take a notable amount of time to pull out their money was annoying when you are working against a clock. Perhaps at least a clothing palette swap? Even in the trailer below you can see two or three of the same exact clone character in a line doing the same animations while they wait. Sometimes I’d have loading frustrations too, as “bagging” an item might end up with a cloud of smoke that lasts a few seconds longer as it turns into bagged food to hand over, which can make the difference between two and three stars based on an in-game issue you have no control over. A few times my wife ran into frustrations when she’d “bag” an item, but the trash can is right next to the bagging area, and her swipe threw the food away! Frustrating at first, but it did end up getting laughs as we all knew how to avoid it so a frantic swipe didn’t turn into starting over.
I would prefer the game to be a hair more “sim” myself. For example, you can start a batch of fries at the start of the level and not burn them at all, even if the first order of fries comes three customers in and they sit in the grease for three times longer than normal. I want to accidentally overflow the ice cream or overtoast the bun. I want to create multiple orders at once. I also want a few more combination items. Fries, soda, and ice cream are straight sets of motions for the exact same thing. The burgers are always bun, lettuce, meat, one of two toppings and bun. I haven’t seen anyone ask for hot sauce AND cheese yet, or maybe no lettuce or two patties. Maybe take the fries to the burger counter and add cheese to them. Just a few things like that would make it a bit more intense, though it’d probably detract from the arcade experience my family loved. Maybe that could be implemented as an extra “hard mode” option.Mind you, my family hasn’t gotten through the entire game yet, so I may be pleasantly surprised as we press further.
Again, though, these are small nitpicks on what is otherwise a fun time. If you are a solo VR flyer, you’ll likely not see much worth in I’m Hungry. Get a few friends together and you can have a rollicking good time laughing and trying to beat each other’s scores.
-A good group can have a lot of fun sharing the headset and competing
-Natural movements and easy access to all the food areas means you’re running back and forth maximizing cook time
-A cool wristwatch shows how many calories you’re burning as you play
-Feels like a natural progression of classic arcade fun
-Everyone in my family felt you were “too close” to the counter and wanted to “back up” but any movement or adjusting wasn’t supported by default and forcing it put you too far away from grill items. More headset adjustment options would be great.
-Great party game but no real way to have a competition locally
-I want a “hard” or “sim” mode for extra challenge!
-Certain animations and delays allow the timer to tick down when you can’t do anything but wait for the customer to open their wallet
Special thanks to Winking Skywalker for providing a code for review, and hours of family fun!