In Lunch A Palooza – one of the latest local multiplayer party games to arrive on Xbox One – we get the chance to act out the ultimate food fight with your friends. Pick from a whole range of foods and battle for bragging rights and dinner table supremacy. Priced at a fairly hefty £16.74, is Lunch A Palooza a delicacy or is it completely stale?
I think the most important thing to mention is that this is a game that will be closed off to a fair amount of gamers. Essentially, if you don’t have friends willing to come over – or a spare sibling lying around – don’t bother. There’s really nothing for you here as a solo player; no online play and the ability to only play against bots, which isn’t fun at all. In my experience, playing alone became rather boring and tedious after just a few matches. It also robbed Lunch A Palooza of the key element that makes party games like this so much fun to play – talking massive amounts of rubbish to your opponent(s) as you wipe the floor with them.
If you do have some friends, then Lunch A Palooza will give you a few hours of entertainment. The gameplay is simple to pick up and you’ll be off and running within a few minutes. You get a set number of lives, and you lose one if you fall off the table. Lose them all and it’s curtains for you. The aim then is to outlast your friends and avoid being knocked off yourself.
Each food has a different attack and a special charged attack that can be used to send your friends flying off the table to their doom. There are some random items that drop during each game which will give you some extra firepower, and some maps come with environmental hazards that shake up the game significantly. Meanwhile the unpredictable physics system makes every match play out differently than the last. In short, you never quite know what’s going to happen in Lunch A Palooza.
There are four game modes on offer: Main Course, Side Dish, King of the Cloche, Royal Buffet. Every mode – except King of the Cloche – revolves around knocking your adversaries off the table with a slight twist. Side Dish sees you teaming up, while Royal Buffet is a straight deathmatch that has you spawning as a random character every time. King of the Cloche, on the other hand, is a king of the hill type mode where the player who controls the dessert plate the longest will win.
If you win enough games with a single character you might be rewarded with a new skin. Or you might unlock a new map. Or even a new character. There’s just so much to unlock in Lunch A Palooza and I appreciate the amount of customisation packed in here.
Unfortunately, there’s a really frustrating glitch associated with unlocking anything. The ‘Press to Reveal’ screen that pops up would crash my game and necessitate a restart. It really disincentivized me from playing the game more and potentially unlocking more maps, characters and skins.
And this glitch really speaks to the main issue with this game. In short, I just found the entire experience to be too rough around the edges. Some maps are far too busy, and it gets hard to see what is actually happening. I can’t count the amount of times I accidentally walked off the table because I lost track of my character. There are also some slight performance issues. Whenever the action started, the game seemed somewhat delayed or slow. Some of my button presses didn’t seem to register either, often leading to a frustratingly unfair death.
I also feel the physics to be a touch too unpredictable. Don’t get me wrong, they make for great edge-of-your-seat games where anything can happen – a necessity for any good party game. But it does get frustrating when your charged attacks don’t seem to do anything, whilst the tiniest attack from another player will send you flying off the table.
And even though Lunch A Palooza is extremely unpredictable, that doesn’t stop it from becoming also extremely repetitive after just a handful of games. Even with the four different game modes, there just isn’t enough here to sustain hours and hours of gameplay. I foresee this being a game that you’ll play for a few hours before shelving it entirely.
So do I recommend Lunch A Palooza on Xbox One? Eh … not really. It doesn’t do enough to warrant the relatively steep price tag. it’s too rough around the edges, with annoying glitches, overly-unpredictable physics and dropped inputs aplenty. You and a couple of friends will probably wring a few hours of fun out of it before things get too repetitive (or frustrating) to be enjoyable. And with no online play, once your friends have gone home it’s practically useless.
The fact is there are better party games on the market for a similar price. Maybe your parents were right – you shouldn’t play with your food.