I love simulation games. I hate horror games. If you mix the two, I get conflicted. I’m a huge scaredy-cat – and arguably this game shouldn’t terrify me all that much… but it does… but today, we’re reviewing Happy’s Humble Burger Farm which is really great actually. I initially hated it but after giving it another whirl, I realised something amazing about it – but more on that later. In Happy’s Humble Burger Farm, which is technically a sequel to Happy’s Humble Burger Barn, you work at a fast-food chain but stuff goes horribly wrong pretty fast. The game doesn’t make a secret of that either, btw. Yes, this is all in your head, as a cutscene shows on game start. All of this is a simulation but that doesn’t matter right now. The matter at hand is that this place has mysteries to solve and it’s incredibly satisfying to get to the ground of things – all the while flipping burgers.
Developer: Scythe Dev Team Publisher: tinyBuild Genre: Atmospheric First-Person Indie-Horror-Simulation Release Date: December 3rd, 2021 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC (Win), Playstation 4, Xbox 1, Playstation 5, Xbox Series, Switch Copy was provided by the publisher.
To start things off, however, you need to get to work. Travel through New Elysium City to Happy’s Humble Burger Farm – which is btw quite a handful to say. Take care of the bonus tasks on your board for some extra cash, turn on the lights and clock in for your shift… and then the customers roll in which is where the real fun begins. You need to serve burgers (often with extra wishes like “no pickles” or “no onions”), fries, nugs, shakes, and other things… and you need to do so quickly. The timer is running and if you don’t do it in time, your customers won’t be happy. On top of that, you’re not allowed to do more than three mistakes or else the franchise’s mascot, Happy the cheerful cow, gets very angry… and you don’t want Happy to get angry!
But apart from that, the game offers a lot more horrors to you. From Day 1, the game is incredibly spooky due to its atmosphere, and even the retro-esque art style adds a lot to the eeriness of the game. On top of that, you have a bunch of derpy looking fellas coming closer as you look away. If they get too close, they explode! There is also this goblin that shows up and turns off the lights or appliances, which is annoying for the most part. Now, I might make this sound like it’s the scariest thing in the world but it really is not. In fact, a lot of the scary moments are crawling slowly up to you and will most likely make you laugh. Seasoned Horror players will find this game enjoyable but not scary – and Horror rookies like me might find it creepy at first but you’ll eventually get used to it… More importantly, though, there is more to this game.
The core gameplay doesn’t lie in the burger-flipping, cleaning or the mild horror aspects. In fact, that on its own can be enjoyed in an Endless Mode that you unlock after you complete the game. The game is more of a Mystery game with Simulation elements where weird things keep happening and you can embrace them or you just return to flipping burgers. After a few nights, the facade that this house represents broke in one part and I encountered my first “boss fight” that involved some puzzle-solving and a rather intense moment of burger flipping! Similarly, there are clues littered throughout the game with potential puzzles and things that may have more to them than what leads on. And that’s where the fun begins. I really enjoyed that aspect of the game, especially given the lore of the game that you find scattered throughout Happy’s Humble Burger Farm – and in the artbook that comes with the purchase on Steam.
What’s more, is that there is something deeply satisfying to the simulation mechanics in the game. Completing orders of burgers, fries and shakes is pretty neat and I like the idea even if a Goblin is constantly turning off the appliances. You’re also accompanied by Toe who really has moxie! Toe is a bit of a weird fella but he’s grown to me. Toe has the most personality in this simulated town, considering that everyone else is literally the same model over and over again. But that’s actually what adds to the charm of the game. It’s a small Indie studio that made this game and its prequel and I love what they did with the eery atmosphere and the spooky encounters. The voice acting is great and I love some of the stores you can visit. You can go to this jazz bar and while everyone else apart from Toe looks the same, it’s fine because it just symbolises how every customer is essentially just a drone – or at least you see them that way, considering this is all in your head.
What I didn’t like, however, were the fact that some of these early encounters with scary monsters were just too soon. I would have enjoyed a slow but normal first workday more – which then would have been followed up by a slow increase in creepiness in this already eery town. Slow horror is underappreciated – but I like that this game feels like a burger-flipping FNAF without the jump scares and the screeching. Instead, you just do your thing and try to not mess up. Another thing that I didn’t quite like was the controls that were a tad fiddly here and there, especially at the fries section. I think a bit more generous areas to click on there would be nicer. Also, you can completely miss the output area if you’re not looking to your right. The manual wasn’t much of a help there. Once you figure that out, though, you’re free to go for the full playthrough which is about four hours in total and quite enjoyable.
All in all, Happy’s Humble Burger Farm is a nice simulation with some spooky albeit funny moments. I really enjoyed the mystery aspect of it more than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, though, the burger-flipping and actual management were kinda fun as well. I’d recommend this game to anyone looking for a not-too-tense Horror-Simulation game that has its ominous moments!