Frosty, Frustrated Foods

HIGH The theme music is rather catchy.

LOW A confusing tone and frustrating gameplay.

WTF The Baby.

Hungry Baby: Party Treats is a puzzle title that forces a single player (or a team of up to four players) to dash across a board and be eaten by a baby.

Each player takes control of a treat (ice cream, fruit, etc) and walks around an area to collect alarm clocks which are used to rouse a sleeping baby. Once all alarms have been collected, the baby will wake, ready to eat each player. Each level is complete once all players make it to the baby, but the effort required to stomach this game is more frustrating than rewarding.

Players move square by square toward the alarms and the baby, but it’s not a stroll in the park – each square has a chance to contain a trap like a buzz saw or an angry cat that will eat or squish the player, forcing them back to the starting square. Once a trap is revealed, it will remain visible so players can see where they have fallen previously — this helps players make it through the level, but memorization is key for playing each area quickly enough to complete in the time needed for a top score.

With each step, players will fill a meter that will grant a power-up. One might be an invincibility binky, which will protect the player from a trap. Another might be a satellite dish which reveals all traps in adjacent squares when the player uses it. 

While this might seem like a straightforward experience at first glance, Hungry Baby struggles with conflicts in its design.

While many puzzle games thrive on the idea of fail, learn, improve, the gameplay loop here isn’t satisfying. Hungry Baby relies too much on atmosphere and looks instead of offering puzzles that made me felt anything but frustration.

I’ll admit, maybe I’m the issue here. When doing puzzles, I prefer to wrack my brain and think critically about answers or strategies instead of relying on short-term memorization and luck.

Hungry Baby also requires lightning-fast completion times to get the top score on each level. Since players move at a fixed speed, one wrong move feels unnecessarily punishing by demanding perfection.  Perhaps it’s so tough because the campaign is a short 15 missions, which I’m guessing could be whipped through in about an hour with enough friends.

Speaking of multiplayer, Hungry Baby has no online capabilities, so local co-op is the only option. The main multi mode is cooperative, but Hungry Baby also boasts a multiplayer competitive mode. It’s hardly different, though — the changes largely hinge on what power-ups are available (attacks against other players are added) and what the finish line looks like (a frying pan or a freezer, instead of a baby) but the gameplay remains essentially identical.

I’m sure there are those who will enjoy the atmosphere, cute art style, and the fail-and-repeat mechanics that Hungry Baby: Party Treats has to offer. Perhaps sharing this dish with friends does give the game more life, but I’ve had my fill of frustration.

Rating: 3 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Tribetoy.  It is currently available on Switch, .This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately 2 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed1 hour was devoted to multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E for everyone. No issues here.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The game discloses most information as text icons, and the game is fully accessible.

Controls: The controls are not remappable.

Eugene Sax

Eugene Sax

Eugene grew up playing other people’s videogames. He didn’t have his own console for some time, and has many memories of playing games his friends owned and beating them. Once he saved up enough money, he finally bought a Sega Genesis secondhand and started a gaming library of his own.

While Sonic and Street Fighter were great places to start, his first love was Final Fantasy X when his dad bought a PS2. Ever since, that love for gaming has evolved -- there are a number of game worlds out there, and he intends to explore them all. RPG to horror, platformers to casual and everything in between -- if it’s available, he’ll play it.

While his time is short between writing reviews, tabletop gaming, and attempting to start a cheesecake business, he has caught all 806 pokemon and can speedrun Star Fox 64 in less than 40 minutes. He’s always looking for new things to try and new challenges to conquer. You can find him on Twitter -- @eugene_sax.
Eugene Sax

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