Food Pals is an auto-running platform game available on iOS and Android for $2.99. Auto-running games have become much more prevalent on mobile. Can this do anything to make it stand apart?
I love platformers, and something about the auto running mechanic on mobile just works for me. It’s comparable to the Rayman games available on mobile, and also Super Mario Run, both games I loved. Not having to worry about running makes the game a lot easier to control on mobile devices. Touch controls are great, but on more precise areas, it can be a hurdle that you don’t want to jump.
Food Pals is unique as it's a food theme; for someone who also writes for a food blog—check out www.foodierooneys.com—food obviously appeals to me. The food is animated in a nice way and all the foodie characters have a cute aesthetic to them. You can select which food to control, however, they all play the same.
For an auto-runner. you have more control than others of its type. You are able to change direction at any time with a swipe. You can easily double back for something you missed. This was something missing in earlier auto-runners and seems to be added in more. Check out my review of SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit for another auto-runner that lets you change direction.
As you play through the game, you will find other food pals trapped in a bubble; jump up to free them and then they will follow you. They are still susceptible to damage, though, so if you want them to make it to the end with you, you need to be even more careful. Time your jumps even more perfectly, so not only you, but the line of food behind you also clear that jump. If you do lose some of them along the way, it's not game over, only you need to make it to the end to win.
My opinion on the game changed many times while playing it.
At first, my thoughts were that the game looked great and played well, but it was just too easy. As I started to get halfway in, the difficulty spiked to an area that felt almost perfect. It was not too hard, but challenging enough, where I was losing some food along the way.
The game decided to end with levels that got very long with no checkpoints and jumps that you had to time perfectly. It also put enemies in areas that it was almost pure luck if you were able to make it through without hitting them. The game is short—only 38 levels—and I think I spent more time on the final 5 levels then I did on the first 33.
I’m all for a challenge but this was borderline unfair.
After finishing the game, I did my usual thing of going back to levels to try to collect everything, but the idea of the difficulty of the last levels made me not even want to continue. I knew I would never be able to survive with all the fruit in the end so why even try? The difficulty broke me from wanting to try to 100% the game.
Verdict This was a quick and fun platformer for most of the levels. It looks great and plays great but I have a hard time recommending this one at its price tag. $2.99 is not a lot of money in comparison to other games but in the mobile market that’s a nice piece of change. If this sounds like something you would like I would recommend watching it for a sale and take that $2.99 and add two bucks and get a month of Apple Arcade. Final Score —3.5/10—
For more reviews, be sure to check out my thoughts on The Last of Us Part II (spoiler free and with full spoilers), Mosaic, Jay and Silent Bob MallBrawl, and my new podcast: Game Bites, the latest entry in The Spinchoon Podcast Network (check out Flix & a Six here). As always, check us out on Twitter @TheSpinchoonand I’m @Big_Broons.