[Review] Shakes on a Plane – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Huu Games
  • Publisher: Assemble Entertainment
  • Release Date: 15/12/2020
  • Price: £17.99 / $19.99
  • Review code provided by Assemble Entertainment

Introducing Shakes on a Plane Switch Review

Assemble Entertainment have a wide range of titles in their portfolio, it is safe to say. One of their more recent releases is Huu Games’ offering “Shakes on a Plane”. Now that we have dispensed with the pleasantries, it’s time to sit back, pretend to read the safety card and take off into the wild blue review.

The idea was to bring together a group of… well even people is strong… to see if they could be something more

A nice touch is using actual airport names for locations.

OK, I will warn you now dear reader. There will be Samuel L. Jackson quotes throughout. But if you are going to insist on playing on the title, I am going to pick that low hanging fruit.

The story behind the game however is as much detached from it’s homage as it is bizarre. A group of aliens who have lost the intergalactic version of Masterchef have set their sights on winning next year. To that end, they have decided that Earth has the best cuisine to do it and set about kidnapping… well random characters. I mean personally I’d have at least kidnapped one chef but…

Fortunately, the story leaves itself there as you choose one of the four available characters. Prison warden, robot hostess, vampire queen and alien captain all vying for your selection. You are then tasked with providing airline passengers the epitome of Earth cuisine, airline food! Now was that the chicken or fish, madam?

I’ve had it with these malted strawberry shakes on this mostly turbulent plane!

Choose from a diverse range of characters, none of whom can cook…

The premise of the game is simple. Collect, cook and give food to passengers, while also cleaning up their mess and in some cases, moving them out the way. Each character has their own special ability which you can deploy to give an advantage during game play. The game adds obstacles further on, such as unsecured trolleys that collide into you. Health and safety is not a priority on these airlines.

Each level lets you see the map beforehand and each mechanic is introduced over a number of levels to build confidence. At the end of each level, the passengers give their opinion on their flight, adding to your star total. A minimum of one star is needed to progress, with three stars being the goal.

Whilst there are no difficulty settings, the levels increase in complexity as you work through them. This creates my first problem with the game. Whilst you are unable to change the difficulty, you are also at the mercy of the game’s pre-set mechanics. Too often I found myself breezing through one level, before having to repeat the next due to imbalances in the game itself. A difficulty setting would have helped immensely here.

Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to exit the donut (shaped craft)

The last time I was on a space craft, I lost an eye

From the get go, it is clear Shakes on a Plane is designed for multiplayer. Whether it’s forcing you to choose a second character even when playing single player or in it’s game design, you won’t want to play this alone for long. Choosing a second character does at least serve a function in giving you the ability to switch between characters and abilities, especially if a rogue trolley takes you out.

With the inability to search for online players, any multiplayer is restricted to couch co-op. This is already a staple of the Nintendo Switch and something the console does really well, but with that comes some stiff competition. There is also the current issue that playing this in couch co-op is challenging at the moment without any supporting online functionality. Something that again, a lot of the competition employ.

Well aren’t you the cutest little thing?

We are sorry for the delay, this was due entirely to the fact that none of us know how to fly…

OK, maybe that subtitle is a bit strong. Shakes has a pleasant comic aesthetic and looks as charming as other games in it’s genre during gameplay. During cut scenes the animation tells a different story. The quality is reminiscent of the time I tried to rush something through in movie maker for a school presentation. With assets clipping over each other and transitions looking like they belong on a secondary school PowerPoint. If you add to that the disjointed story that adds little to the game itself, you can clearly see which elements were left till last here.

Musically, I wanted to mute it early on. There are only so many flight themed sound effects I grant you, but I don’t need to feel like I’m in an elevator at the same time. Again, if you’re playing with a group of friends no one is going to notice this.

Final Thoughts – You are in our library, but we do not grant you the rank of Golden Child

I recognise the passenger has made a decision, but seeing as its stupid im giving him a burger!

On the whole, Shakes on a Plane draws so many obvious parallels to the Overcooked franchise that I have tried hard to not mention it until now. However, part of me feels that if I have to try this hard, then there’s something not quite right.

While the game itself has a degree of charm and is relatively inoffensive. I just struggled to enjoy it. At no point did I want to continue playing and each level completed just felt like the last but a bit more difficult. Maybe with some cosmetic rewards or bonus items this could change but it just felt featureless.

Likewise, I also struggle to get past the disjointed theming used throughout. Clearly a tongue in cheek approach was taken. I mean the UFOs look like fidget spinners, it just felt like less care was put into the polish than the game itself. Sometimes you can pull that off, but usually that applies to triple A titles, not indie clones.

Pros

  • An ideal distraction for couch co-op fans
  • Cartoon like aesthetic

Cons

  • Lack of online support makes multiplayer difficult
  • Little substance to back up the core game play
  • Elevator music

Verdict
Shakes on a Plane is the budget airline of time management games. Offering the same as it’s competitors, but the drink service isn’t free…

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