Lunch A Palooza Review
Lunch A Palooza is a multiplayer party brawler that supports up to four local players. Gamers, choosing from a variety of food fighters, attempt to best their friends in one of four game modes. While this sounds fun in concept, Food A Palooza is poorly executed and left me feeling like I was playing an unfinished game.
Lunch A Palooza, developed by Seashell Studio, has some original ideas that would make for a great game. They were sadly not fleshed out, and even when they were, they felt unpolished and buggy.
Upon booting up the game, players can choose from four game modes that feel far too similar and could have benefitted from additional variation. The two that feel the most alike are certainly Main Course, a basic free for all, and Side Dish, which adds teams into the mix.
The remaining modes, which are different but not enough, are King of the Cloche, a king of the hill game mode, and Royal Buffet, which sees you spawning as a new character every time you die.
Even after seeing the lack of eye-catching game modes, I persevered for the sake of this review. I’m sad to report that things didn’t get much better when I started playing.
I genuinely believe that the developers wanted to make a party fighting game with the whacky physics that have dominated recent popular multiplayer games. However, in an attempt to do so, they crafted a game that makes you feel like you have no say in what is transpiring on the screen.
Everything feels like pure luck, with attacks randomly landings and the smallest hits sometimes sending you rocketing off stage. I never felt good about myself when I won, as I didn’t even know what had just happened.
On top of these random, and dare I say, broken physics, there are also powerups and hazards thrown into the fray. I use the word powerups lightly, as it seems most of these kill you or provide no noticeable effect other than a basic visual change. While the stage hazards do make the gameplay more chaotic, they are inventive and fit with the various unique stages the game has to offer.
The stages you can choose from all revolve around tables in different settings (you are playing as a piece of food). These stages were one of the few things I enjoyed about this game. They range from a standard table at an Italian restaurant to one at a haunted house that features ghosts as a stage hazard. The stages all feel relatively different, and I found myself enjoying them and wishing the developers had included more.
One thing I didn’t wish the developers included more of is fighters. Players start with four food-based fighters and unlock more with time. After unlocking all of them, I can confidently say that there are only two worth playing. The corn and gelatin characters seem to be the only ones with somewhat consistent attacks.
I found myself struggling to succeed with any of the others due to their poor design. What’s worse, is both of these characters are unlocked at the start of the game. So there is no reason to grind for any of the additional characters.
Now, as I mentioned, everything isn’t terrible about Lunch A Palooza. On top of the previously mentioned unique stages, the game also features a decent soundtrack and some quirky but acceptable graphics. The music is arcadey and reminds me of some of my favorite childhood games on the GameCube. It might just be the nostalgia talking, but I enjoyed the music, even if it did get a little repetitive at times.
The graphics are also a plus. Although they won’t blow anyone away, they are functional and acceptable for a small game from a small studio. I know I seem to bring it up in almost every article I write, but the character design in Lunch A Palooza reminds me of Bugsnax. The graphics are both bright and colorful and grab your eye as a result. Again, the graphics are nothing phenomenal. They are basic, cute, and inoffensive.
I know my review may appear hyper-critical. However, I sincerely believe that while my complaints are warranted, there was potential for this game.
If the developers had spent additional time refining the game, it would have been getting a noticeably higher score. Instead, they chose to release what feels like a half-finished game that feels like a personal project. The issues I have described in this review make the game almost unplayable.
What’s worse is this is not a $5 game. Instead, it costs almost $20 on the PS4, which is the console I played it on. For $20, gamers should expect a more polished and refined game than Lunch A Palooza.
Lunch A Palooza had the potential to be an enjoyable party fighter for friends to enjoy. Instead, it lacks polish and quickly becomes tiresome due to its repetitive nature and broken mechanics. There are certainly better party games to check out. I wouldn’t recommend showing this one to your friends.
Thank you to the developer for providing a code for this review!