Japanese games that never made it across the Pacific can be huge hits on the import market. Now, with the advent of digital distribution, older titles can find new life and new audiences with minimal effort. Monkeypaw Games has started to release unedited PSOne games in their original Japanese on the PSN and Yukiniku Bugyou, available for $5.99, is now available.
Originally an advertisement game (similar to the Burger King titles released a few years ago), Yukiniku Bugyou requires the player to grill meals for three customers with specific likes and dislikes. You’ll need to manage the 4×3 grill, doing your best to serve patrons the right items at the right temperatures. For those not versed in the Japanese language, Monkeypaw was kind enough to put complete instructions on their website. Even if you do read some Japanese, I’d recommend checking out the write-up for sheer comedic value. The “graphical stylings,” grill lines and smoke trails from sizzling meat, would never have been bullet points on the back of a box in the US, even for PSOne titles.
The controls are simple. The left thumbstick moves the chopsticks and the X button handles all interactions with the meat. Pressing it over an empty grill space drops the next randomly selected item onto the grill. Pressing it over an item already on the grill flips it. Pressing and holding over an item allows you to move it on the grill, possibly to take advantage of one of the two center hot spots that cook faster. If an item burns and carbonizes, you’ll need to tap the X button on it to break it up, freeing up the grill spot. The other three face buttons serve items to the customers.
Unfortunately, the years have not been kind to Yukiniku Bugyou. While the game includes minimal text, the speech bubbles coming from the customers confused me. They often include pictures of items and I had no idea whether those were incidental or a specific request. Monkeypaw’s site indicates that those represent changing likes and dislikes, but often, customers reacted poorly when being served an item they should have liked and that I believed had been cooked properly. It was very hard to match the way the patrons liked their food cooked to the items on the grill.
The game features a variety of modes including a 6 level single-player experience culminating in a boss battle, a 1-player survival mode and a 2-player competitive endless mode.
The music has a far more serious tone than the game deserves, adding to the unintentional humor of the game.
It’s hard to recommend Yukiniku Bugyou, unless you are obsessed with Japanese barbecue. Despite Monkeypaw’s claim that there is voice acting in the title, I didn’t find any and, given that one of their screenshots is from a PS2 version of the game (yes, there was more than one made), they seem to have gotten some of the bullet points confused. The game does have a certain charm, but it, and the shallow game play, quickly wear thin.
Review copy provided by publisher.