A little over a year from the release of Habroxia 2, Lillymo Games has decided to return to its roots. Super Perils of Baking is an old school side-scroller that brings doesn’t deviate too far from the classic gameplay. You take control as a student-baker that needs to stop his brother from destroying everything in his path.
Much like a Mario game, the main button is jump. You’ll be jumping over gaps, jumping on the heads of the enemies, and jumping to collect everything in your path. It’s an old formula, but it’s still fun to this day. Super Perils of Baking doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but it does sprinkle some ideas that makes it feel fresh. For instance, you can collect cookies (much like coins in Mario), but it doesn’t reward you with lives. Instead, if you get enough, you can take an extra hit and even get a new move. Collecting enough of those delicious sweets gives you the ability to throw objects, such as a frying pan, which really comes in handy in certain situations. I do understand that Mario gives you power ups, but it’s not really based on your collecting skill like it is here. It’s a much more enjoyable element in my opinion, and I’m glad that it’s worthwhile to collect the cookies.
There are other gameplay elements that are tied to specific types of levels too. While most of the game you will be doing the regular platforming, there are water, minecart, and balloon sections in the game. It helps keep things fresh in the game, but it doesn’t stray to far away from the core gameplay. I think the minecart and balloon levels are pretty fun and do enough to make me excited to see the levels come up. Minecart levels are more about your reaction time, as you won’t be able to stop and think about your next jump. You can speed up and slow down the cart, but you can’t stop it to gather yourself for the next jump. The balloon levels kind of feel like water levels but much better. When you grab onto the balloon, you can throw your baking projectiles without having to power up with cookies. You do also have to fight the balloon a little, because it consistently wants to go up. It may sound annoying to have to stabilize your balloon, but I assure you it’s not.
As far as bosses go, the game does lack variety in both the amount of bosses and boss move set. Every 10 levels, and there are 50 (well 55), there is a boss stage. Now the stages themselves are different from one another, but the boss is the same throughout. As previously mentioned, you must stop your brother and is always at the one at the end of the boss stage. His move set does grow throughout the game, but it’s nothing that feels truly game altering. The boss isn’t bad per se, but it just felt like it could have done more.
The star of the show is more about doing the extra things. Super Perils of Baking has multiple objectives to finish for each level. You can collect B-A-K-E like K-O-N-G in Donkey Kong, speed run the levels (and I assure you they aren’t “cake” walks), finish the level without getting hit, and find the secret area. Each level has all of these objectives, and they are a ton of fun to try to achieve. I do love that collecting BAKE and finding the secrets didn’t feel impossible and that it gave little hints to know where the secrets in the map were. The time trials and not getting hit are no joke though. Even on the early stages, you might struggle to complete these objectives. If you are a completionist, doing all of the objectives will surely soak up a lot of your time.
As far as aesthetics and sound design go, it doesn’t feel like the most memorable game. I feel like the backgrounds and color palette didn’t vary a whole lot and it almost feels like you are going through the same maps. It’s not the biggest deal, but I feel like it could have used a little bit more variety. The music did seem to fit the game, but it was mostly the fast-paced songs that stuck out to me. Those were great, and I could have used more of that. As you play the game, you will probably get some of the music engrained in your head for a day or two.
The difficulty in this game was……interesting. I don’t think the game was that hard, but there were some weird difficulty spikes. I felt that levels 1-40 were quite easy, but then I died often on the last 10 levels. It kind of forces you to get good at that point. It’s nothing you can’t overcome, but the checkpoints are further apart, and the levels are more dangerous. I can see it being frustrating for some players, and there were times (particularly the final boss fight) that I wanted to throw my controller.
I was curious what Colin Moriarty would do for the story. I was left a little disappointed with the lack of story in Habroxia 2 after putting in some cool stories in Twin Breaker, and I was left disappointed again in Super Perils of Baking. There are definitely more things to read this time around, but the best parts are the recipes. When you defeat a new type of enemy you get their recipe and can read the different steps into making the evil sweets. It was quite charming to read them, and I felt like it fit perfectly into the type of game. However, the ending didn’t really gel with the style of game in my opinion. There’s not much interactions with your brother and they are short lived. The ending goes through a few paragraphs of what feels like great life wisdom, but it’s just odd. The game has you destroying evil cookies and the recipes are charming, so why do the serious tone for the main story. I feel like Colin could have really shown his creativity off with doing a crazy balls to the wall story, but instead we got a more tame story that leaves a lot to be desired.
As fun as the gameplay loop is there are a few things in the game that I felt could be improved. As far as core gameplay goes, I think it could have benefited from a camera that was slightly zoomed out. It can get really frustrating doing a speed run in the game. If you are jumping from a high enough spot, you may not have good enough reflexes to avoid the pit you are about to fall into. Restarting a level isn’t all that bad since they can be completed in 1-2 minutes, but the deaths felt cheap. The zoomed in camera made me feel like I was playing a Sonic game when I was doing speed runs. I feel like having a wall jump could have helped the situation and aided with some of the deaths I felt were cheap. Another gameplay element I didn’t enjoy was dying at boss fights. It’s not the dying part that I was frustrated with, but that I couldn’t skip the short dialogue segments that came before the start of the fight. After you die, it should skip it completely or give the option to skip them.
There were also some non-gameplay elements I thought could be improved. The store felt bare and was disappointing. The cookies you collect in the levels act as a currency in the main game. However, there are a total of four things you can buy from it. Two of them are gameplay items such as the baker’s hat powerup and a heart. The other two are characters you can unlock. The cool thing is those characters play differently but having only four items to buy was disappointing. I feel like it could have thrown in new skins, a jukebox for the songs, or some other non-gameplay items. The hub world also had a couple issues in my opinion. Going from level 1 to say level 42 is as simple as pressing the directions, but it takes longer than you would hope for. I know the portals to the secret levels can be an easier way to skip forward, but it could have used a different way to get to levels quicker. Also, it would have been nice to not have to click on the level to figure out what objectives I had left. That last point is minor, but it could have improved the quality of life.
I do also have one level design gripe. One of the best levels in the game is one where you have to use the edges of your screen to “transport” to the other side of the screen. It brings in a new element to the gameplay that was highly enjoyable for me. The problem is that a level with those rules only happens once and it’s much later in the game. It was well designed, and I would have liked to seen more of that in this game.
The trophies are well done in the game. There’s nothing that really stands out as a creative trophy, but everything they ask for feels fair. I think one of the only things I would have added was completing a speedrun without getting hit. Regardless, as far as trophy lists go it’s one of the better ones in games and it’ll be one that most trophy hunters will want to get the platinum in.
Super Perils of Baking isn’t setting an industry standard, but it achieves what most games should and that’s just let the player have fun. There’s a ton of replayability with all of the side objectives and there’s even a new game+. It doesn’t alter the game too much, but you will have to navigate through more bad guys and even a few more traps. It took me a little less than 10 hours to beat the game twice and find all the secrets, and I felt like that was the sweet spot. There’s enough here to warrant the 10 dollar entry fee, and I encourage people to give this a shot. If you are fans of old-school side-scrollers, Super Perils of Baking won’t let you down.