Organic Panic by Last Limb Games will change the way you look at the food in your refrigerator. It’s a war within the food pyramid, as fruit and vegetables fight to restore order and stop meat and cheese from running a muck. This side-scroller takes platform games to the next level, incorporating destruction into a puzzle-based adventure. Fighting the war for the side of fruits and vegetables, players are given four characters each with unique abilities. From a fireball shooting carrot to an athletic apple, it’s up to the player to figure out how to incorporate these abilities to advance further in the game.
The game utilizes the ‘DAFT Engine’ (Destructible and Fluid Technology) which uses physics to allow the player to be as chaotic as possible. Nearly every object on the screen is destructible, and often anarchy is the key to success. The beautiful 2-D levels are cartoon-like, but the lighting and attention to detail makes playing through each level worth it. The backdrops on each level isn’t interactive, but it does add to the appeal and feel of each scene. The story of how the meat and cheese came to take over the universe is told horribly, despite the intuitive comic book layout. On-screen displays are simple to understand, which each character and enemy having a health bar, and a score. If the level allows the player to switch between characters, a bubble with the additional character is displayed at the top of the screen. Cut scenes are dull and uninspired, and are usually unnecessary anyway. The general premise of the game is to rescue the captured fruits or vegetables and solve puzzles in order to save the world. Organic Panic may look like an Angry Birds knock-off, but it’s far from it.
Organic Panic’s control system is fairly simple, with jump, attack and interact buttons as well as a button to reset the level. Character control is tight, which is important considering the slightest movement on certain platforms can lead to failure.
Co-op mode allows two players to team up to work their way through the game, helping each other with the game’s intricate puzzles. But to whom much is given, much is expected, and by enlisting help the CPU AI steps up the difficulty. Players can also compete against each other in the equally fun Vs Mode. Up to 4 players can compete in an all out war, similar to Super Smash Bros or Mario Party. As interesting as the single-player mode is, versus is the biggest draw of the game. On-screen chaos is multiplied with each player added, with the destruction only adding to the fun. With multiple players attempting to thwart each other, strategy is even more important.
As aforementioned, each level is different, and the increasingly difficult puzzles and smarter enemies keeps replay value high. From simple hand-to-hand combat specialists to enemies wielding automatic rifles, strategy is key. Each level holds hazardous obstructions, from buzzsaws to landmines to hot lava. Knowing your character’s strengths and weaknesses is key, as some characters can swim or climb while others can’t. Collecting crystals on each level is essential, as it aids you down the line in boss fights. Even if you can easily beat a level, it’s often worth it to delve deeper to capture the crystal. Level completion awards you with a medal of Bronze, Silver or Gold, with different objectives to reach each plateau. Despite the adversity of each level, the difficulty is never overwhelming.
While the game boasts more than 200 levels, many can be completed in minutes. Trial-And-Error soon turns into ease, and with practice the game can be completed in less than a day. Even when you complete the story, the fun continues, as you unlock new game modes.
The unveiling of the story mode is the only flaw of the game, but it is a major flaw. The bland cut scenes and storyline really take you out of the adventure. Attempts at humor are dry, and in-game music is underwhelming. Despite the on-screen action, listening to the game’s sound effects is pain-staking after a while. At times you will be stuck with no clear indication of where to go next to complete the mission, but that also adds to the challenge.
Organic Panic is a fun game that anyone can pick up and play. Despite featuring mild violence, the game isn’t too gory enough to keep away from the kids. At £11.99 / $15, you are getting plenty of bang for your buck. With an extensive single player campaign, along with exciting multiplayer modes, you are getting more for less. Although the storyline could be improved, there is more than enough here no matter how serious of a gamer you are. If you are looking for a fun game that won’t break your pockets than Organic Panic is the game for you.
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