Review – I’m Hungry

I’m Hungry is the newest food service simulation game added to Virtual Reality’s already impressive line-up. However, this isn’t to say it is its best. China-based Winking Entertainment’s aim is to bring you a casual experience that, by making burgers, ice cream, soda, and fries, is both stressful and relaxing. It just never fully succeeds at hitting its mark.

In the beginning, there is little else you can do but play the story. You open your fast-food trailer in Small Town and begin serving its oddly identical population. The second level, Winking Park, is visible, but unplayable until you gather up the necessary stars. Same with additional play modes and an infinite mode, that remain locked until you have completed either Small Town or Winking Park.

I’m Hungry has a simple, cartoony, and crisp art style to it. The feel of Small Town and Winking Park are great. It isn’t pushing any boundaries, but I felt like I was in a living, breathing Lazy Town episode. Residents will walk up and you see a picture of their order. You then hurriedly prepare their meal and deliver it, hopefully to their approval. The sound, unfortunately, did not stand out nearly as well. A dated soundtrack in the background accompanied by characters giving guttural approval or disapproval is about the extent of what it offers.

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Guess it’s Small Town, USA

My main issue with I’m Hungry is that it plays like a mobile experience, only on a console that is far from mobile. Knocking out three-star levels should be easy to play, stop, then get back to. I don’t tend to set up the VR headset and cables just to get in for five minutes or to beat an old score. The experience, however, may be more enjoyable on a mobile friendly VR unit. This leads us to the number of stars or levels cleared needed in order to advance.

Everything in I’m Hungry seems to be behind a grind-wall. You can’t unlock anything until going through all eighteen levels of Small Town. That may not seem like much, but after nine levels that are five minutes a piece, I was done with the quaint little place. Clicking the arrow button to see another nine levels yet to do left me exhausted. I was ready to look at some other, any other, color palette. I’m Hungry would benefit more from doubling the locations and halving the levels needed.

Later in the game, you can upgrade your kitchen. But even this seems to be behind a good amount of grind before you can upgrade your first item. Halfway through Small Town, I maybe had a quarter of the required monies to upgrade a single item.

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Mechanically, the game can be frustrating. On initial boot-up, I probably spent two minutes waiting, then another three minutes wondering why the game wasn’t starting. I was at a positioning screen, but with no actual direction on where to position so the timer never moved. The screen simply telling me to just stay in the center. I would do this, but then move to random spots until it registered and counted down. However, you get this screen after every single level. Sometimes even having to move again in order to find that spot that it will register. And each time, it was followed by a PlayStation pop-up to make sure it was clear and to push X.

Frustrating mechanics were not only on boot and load screens, but also in the game as well. Grabbing an item would sometimes result in grabbing a wrong item. Pressing a button wouldn’t register as a button press. Messing up an item on an order means tossing the entire order, instead of removing that one item. I would need to re-center myself at the beginning of each level choice and then again at the beginning of that chosen level. Later, when you open “golden” version of items, you are unable to make the item golden even though you are following the required movement.

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So shiny!

I’m Hungry is a light and fun food service simulation game, but fails to serve its customers what they want. With a handful of design changes and even more development, it could have been more appetizing. Unfortunately, my order was not well-done.

Graphics: 8.0

Simple, crisp, plastic, cartoony style to the town and characters is really delightful

Gameplay: 5.5

Gameplay is fine, if not repetitive. They do little to mix things up, other than to throw multiple orders of the same item at you.

Sound: 4.0

There is only, so far, an out of date soundtrack, and yes/no grunts will carry you.

Fun Factor: 5.5

The fun is limited by the feeling of the grind. Having such limited access, with such a steep toll to even access those, makes the grind noticeable.

Final Verdict: 6.0

I’m Hungry is available now on PSVR.

Reviewed on PlayStation VR.

A copy of I’m Hungry was provided by the publisher.