Kitchen Panic is a 2D side scrolling adventure with a thematic focus on food. With bright cartoon visuals, cute and quirky characters, and some high flying acrobatics, Kitchen Panic is a quality time. Aimed at fans of the platforming and action genre, it evokes feelings of Sonic the Hedgehog, and other classic Sega Genesis platformers. Although the visual style includes detailed assets instead of 16-bit sprites, there's something about the movement and gameplay that feels distinctly retro.
Kitchen Panic is relatively light on story, but the world building and guiding narrative is quite cute. Although it doesn't truly play a role in the gameplay, I feel it appropriate to summarize, as it accurately depicts the zany tone of the game. Playing as a “100% American” potato grown in Idaho, everyone is getting wild in the kitchen. Apparently, if the potato mother wakes up and finds out, everyone will be in huge trouble. Thus begins your hurried run through the various levels of Kitchen Panic.
Hurry you shall, as the game is mainly built around dashing from the starting point to the finish as quickly as possible. Much like Sonic the Hedgehog, you try to avoid obstacles, enemies, and traps while maintaining speed. There's a variety of power ups to collect and use, like the ice potato. If you happen to take damage while dashing past some enemies, you can easily grab some veggie pickups to regenerate health.
The timed component of Kitchen Panic extends past personal enjoyment, as there is a leader board to post your best time. For those looking for an even greater challenge, each level has a series of collectible items to find. If you collect all of the items in a level and complete it quickly, you'll obtain a perfect bonus. Perfecting each level earns you achievements, further improving your Google achievement score thanks to the Google Play integration.
The developer also plans on releasing new worlds as they complete them, ensuring you'll never run out of game play or new levels to play. There's no official cap for how many worlds they will release, so hopefully Kitchen Panic sees a wide variety of different thematic worlds for the player to enjoy.
The first world is pretty standard fare, taking place in a colorful kitchen settings. The kitchen and the tools within it are large in size; you are playing as a potato after all. There's a great kind of satisfaction in hopping on enemy heads as you hop over huge pots of boiling water. Levels are just as expansive as they are detailed, and like Sonic the Hedgehog, it was apparent to me that there are multiple routes to completing each level. As a game design choice, I wholly recommend the multiple route choice, as it instills immediate replayability.
Controlling your potato pal is easy enough, thanks to the virtual gamepad. The left corner of your screen occupies the directional movement, and the right corner houses the jump and dash buttons. The size of these overlays can be adjusted, so those with larger or smaller fingers need not worry. I was easily able to find a size setting that worked and felt natural for me.
That's good, because movement in Kitchen Panic is one of the best parts of it. Normal directional movement and jumping is pretty common stuff, but dash hopping is super satisfying. If you hold the up direction while in the air, you roll into a ball. Time this roll correctly upon reaching the ground, and you can jump again to massive heights. Flying high in the air over enemies and potential pitfalls is a risk/reward situation, and a gameplay mechanic I found enjoyable.
Generally speaking, Kitchen Panic is a fun and quick paced platformer. Its colorful visuals and enjoyable movement tech make for a pleasant platforming experience with a bit of challenge to boot. If anything, Kitchen Panic might be a bit too tough, and I would recommend extending the health bar or having certain enemies do less damage. Simple balancing can easily be fixed, and should in no way deter you from trying it out. In fact, if you're looking for a fresh and unique platforming experience, look no further. Support indie game development and give Kitchen Panic a try today. At the very least, you can say you played as a potato. And that's worth it all by itself.
Reviewed by Matt
Watch Kitchen Panic: Escape The Kitchen Trailer