Super Perils of Baking Review (PC)

Super Perils of Baking Review: A Little Undercooked

 

 

Platformers: a classic recipe for fun. The time-tested genre is as old as gaming itself, yet still remains a fixture of the video game landscape. Super Perils of Baking, an extension of the original Perils of Baking, brings a pretty big sweet tooth to the land of platforming. But with such a concentrated theme, I had to start wondering if playing with my food for so long didn’t make the experience a bit stale. There are a few tastes to unwrap here, so let’s look into this mealtime mayhem.

 

Dinner for Two

 

Can’t say I’ve ever tried cooking with Ecto-Cooler, but his brother may just be mad enough to try it.

So the story here does its part to keep things simple. You’re a professional baker that’s unfortunately gotten to see your brother turn to the dark side of the cookie, where the tastes are black and crispy. His disdain at being second fiddle to his brother led him to a forbidden chef’s hat, one that makes everything he bakes turn into a monster ready to strike. As his brother and only baker skilled enough to take on the perils before him, you set off to wander the lands in search of your brother to save him from the evils of that demonic chef’s hat. Is it simple? Yeah, but it does all it needs to, and that’s fine by me. It even rhymes all the way through!

The overworld is simple and reminiscent of a Super Mario Bros. game in that you go from node to node along a line, conquering the levels as you go along. When you head into a level, it’s standard platforming magic at work. You can stomp on enemies, or, if you have all three hearts available, you can throw and whack with whisks like the Fire Flower from Mario games. If you’ve played any basic platformer, you’ll get the gist of what to do here.

In an interesting take, as you collect tasty treats and take down baddies, you earn points that will fill up a heart bar. Fill it up all the way, and you get a free heart (or chef hat if you already have the second heart). You can even store extra hats if you need an immediate backup after an oopsie. Along the way, you can also go for par times, and there are four letters of the word “BAKE” to collect for bonuses. If you’re having issues collecting the extras or even getting through the levels, you can also go through a store and spend some of the cookies you’ve gathered to get more hearts and hats. Lastly, there are select points in several levels where you can go off-screen and initiate a bonus stage to get some extra points and power-ups. They’re usually pretty easy to spot; just look for a cookie floating near where you’d typically fall off-screen.

Adding to that is the occasional mine cart level, taking a lot of inspiration from Donkey Kong Country. They’re pretty limited in scope, but they have a nice change of pace when they drop in. There are also underwater levels and sky-bound levels where you command a balloon. While these feel like a needed change of pace, the aerial levels are very empty and far too easy. Meanwhile, the underwater levels, for some reason, feel really cramped and occasionally punishing in difficulty, requiring quite a bit of precision for what are relatively floaty controls. The boss levels also lack punch, being rather easy chase-the-boss-and-jump-on-him-fests with little challenge. They’re all against your brother, with slight variation between them, leaving much to be desired.

 

Needs A Little Buttah’

 

That snail looks like he’s a very different kind of baked right now.

While there’s nothing wrong with sticking with what works, Super Perils of Baking winds up feeling same-y throughout. Once you get past the first boss, you’ve seen all there is to see. There are a few variations of enemies that quickly run dry, and the levels never do much to change things up other than add a slightly interesting gravity reversal mechanic. Ultimately the gameplay never dares to overstep its boundaries. It’s a real shame. I love candy and food-themed levels in other games, but here it feels like going to the same restaurant and only that restaurant for an entire year straight. Even if something does change, it doesn’t change enough to make you not wish you were somewhere else.

Speaking of mind-numbing, the music is probably the blandest part of the game. It feels so watered down, with little sense of melody, progression, or even basic interest. I wound up turning it off to play something else after the first few levels and realizing how barebones and uninspired the music was. As for the art, it hits and misses to some degree. The backgrounds are very basic, and the ground art is just the same. No attempts to make like a bridge out of wafers, stairs out of truffles, nothing even to suggest that this was a food-themed game. I don’t understand why more wasn’t done to garner interest in the theme, that should’ve really been the first stepping stones to capitalize on what normally should be a very vibrant, exciting theme.

That said, there are some sweets to be seen in this meal plan. The enemy designs are absolutely what I wanted to see, from cupcake roadsters to peppermint snails that act like Green and Red Shells from Super Mario. Not only that but when you interact with the enemies, they get added to a Recipe Book, which shows “recipes” on how to make these critters in real life. Ok, so yeah, they’re goofy and nonrealistic but dammit, if they aren’t just a delight to read and really got a chuckle out of me. This was the kind of dedication to the theme I wanted more of! I loved this kind of humor and detail, and it makes me all the sadder there wasn’t more neat stuff like this.

 

A Cake Half-Baked

 

Perhaps I went in with too high of expectations. Or maybe I wasn’t the target audience. But between the monotonous music that I eventually muted and the gameplay loop that tires itself out long before the cake’s done cooking, I couldn’t find much to savor when it comes to Super Perils of Baking’s flavorless recipe. If you’ve played platforming mainstays such as Super Mario Bros. or Donkey Kong Country, you’ve already seen everything this game has to offer and then some. If you don’t mind that and just want some solid platforming to kill five or so hours, it’s harmless enough that I’d say go for it if it’s on sale. But otherwise, it’s reshades of the same thing, and this game doesn’t dare to tread much farther than those before it.


Final Verdict 2.5/5

Wandering Trails

 

Available on: PC (Reviewed), Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Series S|X; Publisher: Lillymo Games; Developer: Lillymo Games; Number of players: 1; Released: June 2nd, 2022; MSRP: $9.99

Full disclosure: The publisher provided a review copy of Super Perils of Baking.

Cory Clark
With a passion for all things musical, a taste for anti-gravity racing, and a love for all things gacha, Cory is a joyful and friendly gamer soaking up any little gem to come to his little Midwestern cornfield. An avid collector of limited editions with an arsenal of imported gaming trinkets he's absorbed into his wardrobe, he's usually always near his trusty gaming rig if he's not on his PS4 or Xbox One. And when he's not gaming, he's watching anime off his big screen with his lap lion Stella purring away.

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