You live a menial life in a ruined husk of a world with a dead end job. Your grandmother runs a successful well loved diner up in orbit, and her cooking is one of the few things that keeps you going in this world. Sadly, she dies, and her diner and its alien clientele are passed to you, giving you a new chance in life. Sadly, what did not pass to you was her cooking talent. Her customers get mad. You get mad. Suddenly, one of them offers you a choice. Learn how to make the best burgers in the world, or die. Obviously, not wanting to die, you pick the first option. Then there’s a flash and you’re all alone in the diner. Well, not alone per se. There are severed remains of aliens all around you. Desperate to clean up, you throw all the bodies into the meat grinder, and that’s when you make the horrific yet delicious realization: the secret ingredient is your customers.
This entirely unnarrated intro, told in wordless comic form, is how you begin Godlike burger. To say that the game is unique while true feels redundant, because where else are you going to get a game that turns the premise of “to serve man” completely on its head, mixing it with a bit of Sweeny Todd, and a dash of Faustian Bargains in the mix. And that’s the narrative side of it, mechanically Godlike burger is also a strange beast. Rogue-Like restaurant management/murder simulator is a hell of a genre and certainly one that I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen before.
The basic gameplay loop for Godlike Burger is that a customer will come in and give you an order. You then have to make that order for them; finding the correct meat and toppings, cooking the meat, putting it on a warming tray and dealing with malfunctioning equipment the entire time, you’ve gotta kick it to get it fixed again. If the customer takes the food, you get money, which is good. If they like it, you’ll get a positive review, which is also good. But each burger made eats into your very limited supply of “locally sourced” mystery meat, and while you can buy more, that eats into profits you need to improve yourself and your equipment. So what’s a struggling restaurateur to do? Murder. Using your traps or in a pinch your cleaver, you brutally murder customers – ideally after they pay, though you also want to let enough of them live to get you a good rating. It’s a balancing act, and one you might not be able to maintain initially. So you might run out of supplies, or get too many bad reviews, or mistime a swing, or let an attempted victim escape and attract the attention of the cops. And then you die.
But death is not the end. Turns out that deal you struck means you can’t actually stay dead, at least not yet. So back you go to the beginning with only a handful of money but restocked on all the things you need to get through a day at the restaurant. Then if you can get overwhelmed and die, how do you make progress? Upgrades. At the end of every day you go into the back rooms and buy upgrades, in the form of new recipes, better traps, faster and stronger machete swings, or just buy ingredients if you’re seriously running low. You can also throw your cash into a safe and it’ll stay there even after you day. Sure, losing 20% of it when you put it in sucks, but that’s better than losing 90% of it when you die. So it’s very possible to repeatedly complete a day, bank your money and let yourself die until you have the funds to start playing for real. As for why you want to play for real, you need to play enough to get a good enough restaurant rating to move your restaurant to new planets until you can finally reach paradise, and that requires a number of days of good reviews from still living customers. Plus you get new skins for enough in-game days completed in a single run.
So Godlike Burger is a unique game with an interesting and hectic gameplay loop. It just gets bogged down by throwing a lot of mechanics at you very quickly and despite a mandatory tutorial to get you started, it still feels like you’re being thrown into the deep end. Despite that, the game just released and has a very responsive dev team who have been doing their best to iron out bugs.
Tim played Godlike Burger on PC with a code received from the publisher.