I get killed by a spoopy cow demon.
Happy’s Humble Burger Farm won’t make its way onto my best games of 2021 list, but for a $20 indie title I certainly had a good time playing it. But in the 13 hours I spent slinging burgies, I have a lot of good things to say about the game. And bad things.
So let’s dive in.
I’m somewhat disappointed in the fact that Happy’s Humble Burger Farm lays out what might have otherwise been an intriguing twist within seconds of loading up the game. Everything you see exists within a simulation with you being a test participant. Well, almost everything. Your job is to complete your shifts at the McDonald’s-esque burger farm and piece together what is going on, with the ultimate goal of freeing yourself from the simulation and surviving the real dangers within. Again this is something that might have done better with some build-up as opposed to the literal bootup screen of the game.
Time spent in Happy’s Humble is split between slinging burgers and exploring the city. You go to work, finish your shift, and then have an infinite amount of time to explore around before having to go to bed.
Happy’s horror moments are fleeting and rather quickly lose their luster through repetition. The movements of the character props is unnerving right up until your brain settles on the fact that nothing dangerous will come of it. The same goes for the yellow dude shuffling around. Some of the events spawn too much, like the invisible guy who runs in to shut off your appliances, and just become a minor annoying diversion. Others are so rare that I’m not even sure if they’ve been cut from the game as after six full playthroughs of the release version, I’ve never encountered them. Many of the spooky events barely seem to fit into the plot narrative.
Outside of your burger activities, the bulk of the game comes from uncovering secrets and understanding the state of the world and how you’re supposed to escape. You could theoretically ignore the outside burger world and just keep working shifts until the cows come home. The further you get in, the more the game world opens up with new things to discover and collectibles to find. Burger coins upgrade your workspace making much of the game trivial pretty much from shift 2 if you seek out the two available coins and upgrade the grill cutting cook time by 50%.
Difficulty in Happy’s Humble comes from the game’s distractions, so if you worked tables at a busy restaurant you’ll be fine. Otherwise you’ll find yourself messing up an order because you were making the food and noticed one of the characters is now in the kitchen with you, forgetting exactly what toppings the customer wanted on their burger. Mess up three times in a shift and Happy will give you a humble termination.
There are boss fights in Happy’s Humble and it may be the cleverest thing in the game having them be based around cooking burgers. The set-pieces for the boss fights against Happy’s various mascots is really where the creativity of the team shines, and a reminder that the game works best when it’s a more controlled experience rather than a wheel kicking events randomly during your shifts. It takes the skills you learn at the grill and puts them in an environment that is far more fast-paced and dangerous.
Some disappointment is inevitable when you realize that a few mysteries are just that; mysteries. Questions without answers, as there’s a small handful of things in the world that are half-finished cut content. I think I ran around for a good half hour after unlocking a room with a furnace inside of it before confirming with a developer that you couldn’t actually do anything with it.
As another example, in the manual there’s a notation to never miss a phone call from the boss. The phone never rang, and once again I’ve played through this whole game roughly half a dozen times. I never got an answer about this when I brought it up to the developers.
Ultimately Happy’s Humble is a game for lore hounds first and foremost, people who love checking every nook and cranny, reading pamphlets and watching commercials, and crawling every inch of the world for details on how it works and who inhabits it. If you’re the type who craves the next release of Five Nights At Freddy’s so you can start uncovering secrets and lore bits, you’ll be at home here. As a horror game, it falls into the realm of unsettling over instilling a fear of dread in the player. For the best experience I would recommend waiting a couple of months until the bulk of the kinks and tweaks get implemented, and then pick it up.
I didn’t particularly enjoy grinding out 100% for this game as it required purposely failing multiple times a process that is rather simple to do correctly.