When not playing games on the living room TV, it is VERY likely that we have it tuned to Cartoon Network. Adventure Time, Steven Universe, The Amazing World of Gumball and Teen Titans GO are staples of our household, but none of these shows have captured my heart quite like Clarence. The story of a sweet, innocent, and often disgusting chubby kid that embraces the simple joy and innocence of youth. During commercial breaks, CN often promotes mobile games based on their plethora of shows. I’m not much of a mobile gamer but lately I’ve been entertaining the idea of giving these a try. Over the weekend Rachel had finally taken the leap and downloaded one of the Clarence games whose commercial had routinely gotten stuck in our heads. The game was Blamburger.
Blamburger is a free mobile game available on Android and iOS devices. The premise is simple – move left or right in order to catch various ingredients that endlessly fall from the top of the screen. Build burgers to rack up points while avoiding game-ending explosives. When you first boot up the game it’s likely that you’ll try to collect anything that falls because they are easy points and you haven’t been given much more information about how it all works! With that in mind, I thought the game was cute and played well enough, but it lacked any sort of depth outside of “Don’t explode”. Pretty quickly I began to notice the discrepancy in points based on the ingredients in-between my buns. For example, a Cheesy Burger which consists of only a beef patty and cheese is worth 500 points. Quite the boost over a regular 100 point burger that you would get from collecting everything you see! Keep in mind that as long as they are ingredients from the same recipe, you can catch as many as you’d like and it still counts as a Cheesy Burger.
Through experimentation (or looking it up in the burger menu once you get a game over) you will discover a plethora of new recipes that will really change the game. Knowing what can be created and judging whether or not to pursue one burger over another adds a whole new layer of strategy while playing this frantic arcade-like game. In my head I would often commit to building a certain type of burger only to find that I’m avoiding and completely missing out on thousands of points that I would’ve earned by working with what was already falling. The need for on the spot critical thinking was something I never would have expected from a game like this.
I have yet to unlock all of the burger recipes, since they require that you hit extremely high scores for the ingredients to start falling. This shows that I’m clearly not as good at the game as I think I am. Blamburger features a robust leaderboard that lets you compare your top score to friends’. You better be ready for the fiercest of feuds! Rachel and I have been chasing each other’s scores since we started playing. While currently I am obliterating her with my score of 44,720, there’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll destroy me eventually. If there’s anything about the game that I dislike it’s that when you have a really great run and then fuck up just before hitting a new high score, the fire and energy that you are feeling and want to take into your next game gets entirely ruined by the obnoxious video ads you are forced to watch before trying again. I understand that these games are totally free and this is how Cartoon Network justifies building them in the first place, but if Blamburger is any sign of the quality and craft put into these titles, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay 5 or even 10 bucks to own it ad-free.
Despite the minor gripe, Clarence: Blamburger was a shockingly fun, addictive and creative take on the (get under/dodge falling objects) genre. It plays well, the mechanics are deep and if you gather a few friends to play with you, the competition is fierce! For what it is, I think this game exceeds expectations and I am anxious to see what else I’ve been missing from Cartoon Network’s mobile games lineup.