Lunch A Palooza (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

Pick a food character like a burger, meatball, donut, gelatin mold, and more as you try to knock each other off the table in this silly multiplayer battle game.  Lunch A Palooza is available for nearly all current game consoles, but reviewed on PS4 here.

Each food character has different attacks.  The burger can do a body slam, the corn on the cob can scatter popcorn everywhere, the meatball does a rolling attack, etc.  The X button jumps and the circle button attacks.  The square button is for picking up items and throwing them.  You can also hold down the attack button for a charged move, or tap the jump button if you get stunned or flipped over.  There are also temporary power-ups that appear that you can pick up for an edge.  You’ll battle on tables in an Italian eatery or an outdoor patio at a Mexican food restaurant.  My favorite is Pixel Pizza Paradise, a kind of Chuck E. Cheese ripoff where you fight on an air hockey table that flips to a foosball table with an arcade in the background.  As you play and win matches (up to four can play), you’ll unlock new colors for your food, more characters to play as, and new locations to fight on.

The main menu lets you choose a few ways to play.  Take an Order is the main game selection, but you can also toggle options, view the credits, and track your progress.  The four main gameplay modes are Main Course, which is just a free-for-all where you try to knock each other off the table, and whoever gets knocked over five times loses and the last one standing wins.  In Side Dish, you do the same thing but are on teams of two.  In King of the Cloche, you must stay on a dessert plate the longest, and whoever can stay on it to reach 100 percent wins.  And Royal Buffet is a timed battle where you must knock over the other players as many times as you can in three minutes.

I like the cartoony food characters and settings, but the controls are just too sloppy for me to get into it.  It’s hard to tell when you land an attack, pick up an item, or get hit.  A difficulty selection for the CPU players would’ve been nice, too.  I imagine this is one of those games that’s way more fun with multiple human players.  No online play either from what I could tell.  Just couch local only.

Kid Factor:

Lunch A Palooza is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Alcohol Reference and Mild Fantasy Violence.  You smack around other googly eyed cartoon food characters and they can even get cut in half, but still keep on going.  Some of the tables have bottles on them which could be presumably filled with alcohol.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, and younger gamers may find it too difficult.

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