Organic Panic has a lot going for it. Some funny, original character designs, good platforming, destructible environments (always fun in my book) and a solid variety of gameplay. Unfortunately, much like healthy food, it’s just not that much fun.
In Organic Panic, you play as different fruit and veggie characters each with their own powers and personalities to help you blast and puzzle-solve your way through fully destructible environments overrun with meat and cheese monsters. It certainty sounds unique and interesting on paper — and it was actually kind of fun to type that last sentence! And it’s not all bad, but just like eating healthy, it’s all kind of a chore.
Here’s what I liked:
Totally unique — When was the last time you played a game like the one I described in the previous paragraph? Recently? Didn’t think so. The silly idea of mixing food-based characters with a cartoon style and lots of action is pretty great. I only wish the production values allowed Last Limb to expand on all the personality that is hidden just under the surface.
Destruction — I’m a sucker for games with destructible environments. There’s something about being able to blow up pretty much any and everything that adds to any game experience. Part of it is just because it’s cool to do, but mostly it’s because seemingly anything is possible in this type of game. Can’t figure out a way through without getting killed repeatedly by some bad guys? Blow the level up to sneak your way through!
Controls — Everything plays just loose enough to let you really mess around and try to have a good time but tight enough to be well put together. There are some cool play mechanics too, especially the character who can shoot out water that actually fills up the environment rather than just disappearing when it hits the ground.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Level design — Quite frankly, every level basically feels exactly the same. They’re all very short, so they never really get into any kind of a groove, and they can mostly be beaten by shooting anything and everything while collecting anything and everything you see.
Repetition — Not to repeat myself here too much, but Organic Panic really is very repetitive. Every level has roughly the same goals, the same amount of obstacles, the same collectibles. They can all be beaten in a matter of minutes — if you don’t accidentally run out of ammo and need to restart — and they all sort of blend together. There’s a ton of them too, which isn’t the worst thing if you do like the game, but it’s going to make for a real slog for everyone else.
Who does what? — Characters all have their own play styles and unique abilities, but figuring that out is basically just up to random luck. It doesn’t help that one vegetable guy doesn’t look or act that much different than another, so it’s hard to keep track. If they all had more distinct personalities, it probably would have gone a long way toward actually learning who does what. It becomes especially confusing when you’re introduced to a new obstacle or enemy but you really have no idea how your character’s powers will interact with new enemies or environments. And you don’t get to pick the characters you play with; they’re tied to specific levels.
Production value — While the graphics are pretty good, and controls aren’t bad, everything else about the game feels like it has low production values almost to the point of making this feel like a really high-end student game. That’s not the worst thing in the world considering there are lots of student games that exhibit high levels of originality and fresh ideas, and some of that sort of thing is found here, but Organic Panic would definitely be a better game if it was more polished.
Like a trip to Whole Foods, Organic Panic is not without its share of fun, but its cons unfortunately outweigh its pros. Destroying the environment and flooding out meat and cheese monsters has plenty of charm, but some variety and polish would have gone a long way toward extending it. This is definitely not a bad game, but it does get a little boring — just like veggies.
Score: Limited Appeal
Organic Panic was developed and published by Last Limb on Xbox One. It was released on April 1, 2016 for $14.99. A copy was provided by Last Limb for review purposes.