Could you imagine fusing the intricate world of simulation games with the rising trend of PSX visuals in horror games! Imagine no longer – you can see it right now in Happy’s Humble Burger Farm!
Bring Your Own Burger
You know that this game is going to be something different from the intro sequence alone. It shows you being operated on, followed by a tutorial sequence in the woods and then you wake in your dingy apartment. You find a headset which is a one-way communication device from the manager and make your way to Happy’s Humble Burger Farm.
The game provides you with not only a handy tutorial in the form of an employee guide but also an amazing amount of T.V Shows, audiotapes, and radio shows to listen to. This helps to flesh out this bizarre world and leans cheekily into that simulation aspect.
As you make your way through a dark town, the police attend an explosion and you’ll notice how its residents wouldn’t look amiss in a Resident Evil title. Starting off the work day by clocking into work, you’ll see just how useless your colleague “Toe” is, hit a few jump scares, and realize that maybe there is something a little more to this than just flipping burgers for weirdos.
Unfortunately, I feel the game reveals its hand far too quickly; Within the first hour, you’ll have a fair handle on what exactly is going on as this game has the pace of a Blue Hedgehog with weak bowels.
To remedy this point somewhat, the amount of world-building is quite admirable. This is especially the case when you factor in the number of radio shows and the like you can listen to. It is just a shame that even before you’ve settled into the weirdness that is this game it’s screaming the reason into your face.
Would You Like Fries With That?
Happy’s Humble Burger Farm is a game of two halves. One side sports a rather addictive fast-food worker simulation and the other a scavenging, survival horror mystery. For the most part, these two manage to exist with a certain level of harmony but this isn’t always the case throughout.
The simulation side is a fantastic and addictive mix of time management, order reading, and staying on top of your fries and nuggets as you dive between the grill and the milkshake machine. To mix things up you have optional jobs to gain bonus money. Things such as bringing deliveries in, clearing rubbish up, and removing rats from the property.
Naturally, stuff is prone to breaking down and you’ll be rushing to get the lights back on, turning the equipment back on, and dealing with enemies and jump scares while you work. Stressful eh!
Each workday tends to introduce new equipment or stuff to do such as the milkshake machine or opening the drive-thru. This helps you really help drive up profits! It’s a nice easy build-up and never feels like too much!
Alongside that you have energy and health bars to maintain. It’s hard work at the Farm! You use money from work to buy food and other things I’ll mention later on to keep yourself alive.
It’s worth noting that keeping the customers happy is key. Failure to do so results in Happy turning up and they are anything but. You quickly have to knock together a burger from rotting meat to appease this overprotective, evil force of fast-food nature.
Outside of the simulation, you have the crafting, survival horror aspect of the game. This provides a contrast from the mundane life of a Happy Humble Burger Farm employee.
While you are going about your work, creatures will find their way into the kitchen. You need to dodge these or throw stuff to get rid of them. Some provide the scares and some can hurt you and result in your untimely demise.
There is a mystery to solve and that means you’ll be exploring the city, crafting and stocking up on health and food items in between your shifts. This makes it essential to work hard for a good payday. Along with this, you can find coins that allow you to upgrade your fast food joint and craft items such as Hacker pads so you can get into the manager’s office.
Generally, before or after a shift you’ll be helpfully directed to where you need to be or what item you need to hit the next story beat. Fortunately, the world isn’t too expansive, so you’ll rarely get lost and much like the mechanics, it opens to you the further in you are.
Now I’m not one to give away spoilers, so I’m going to be a bit vague in this section.
Happy’s Humble Burger Farm has a surprising feature. One that involves working under quite a lot of pressure at certain points. While I’ll avoid mentioning it as it’s a spoiler, I should note that it was around the time of the first one that the game started to unravel for me.
Can You Cover for Me this Weekend?
The game is roughly 7 to 10 hours long and features an Endless Mode for those of you who love the thrill of burger dispensing.
Now it’s worth noting that I had quite an issue with this game in that either I couldn’t figure out how to save OR the game just wouldn’t save. Keep in mind that I played this prior to release and as such could have just been a bug.
The developer has mentioned on Steam it’s an autosave at the end of the day situation. Considering the number of hours I’ve lost already to this game, I was rather disheartened each time I saw only “New Game” on the title screen, however much I played.
A Visual Feast
Visually Happy’s Humble Burger Farm resembles the graphical style of the original PlayStation or Sega Saturn era. It has a heavy focus on bizarre animations, a macabre art style, and feels like it’s watching the electric meter when it comes to lighting.
This for me personally is a huge positive. I love the gritty, low fidelity art style that is currently in vogue with FPS and horror titles alike. It’s not for everyone and certainly doesn’t quite hold a tighter grip in terms of tense atmosphere like titles such as Resident Evil 8, but I feel it just adds to the curiosity of the title.
You Can Hear The Food
As mentioned previously there are plenty of radio and video shows for you to take in. These are acted brilliantly and are genuinely a joy to listen to and watch and help you really dig into this universe.
Musically I don’t really remember any of the tracks that played. There was just nothing that stuck with me sadly.
At the end of my shift, I found myself really enjoying my time at Happy’s Humble Burger Farm. It managed to be a genuinely interesting title with surprisingly fun simulation gameplay. The save issue aside, I do feel the game had some genuine pacing issues and was too eager to serve the meal while I was still wolfing down the starters. If you’re a horror fan or fancy something a little different than usual I’d suggest coming on down to the Farm, but if you’re after a pure Simulation maybe skip the fast food this time.
HAPPY’S HUMBLE BURGER FARM IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to tinyBuild for a PC review code for this title.
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