To be fully honest with both myself and you, the reader, I don’t exactly have the best diet. Between work and trying to keep up social appearances, I ingest a lot of crap on a weekly basis. I do try to eat healthy when I can, but the majority of my 180lb skinny-fat frame is filled with unhealthy goods. Last Limb are here to teach me a lesson about treating my body better, though. Organic Panic, while not explicitly stated, is a teaching tool for why fruits and veggies need to be part of your everyday diet.
Organic Panic is set in a universe where humans don’t exist, and processed meats and cheeses have combined forces in order to take over the world. The once-harmonious world of food living together was shattered by the unhealthy options massacring their fruit and vegetable brethren. Primarily in hiding these days, the fruits and vegetables have come up with one last plan that will hopefully lead to the tide of war being changed for good.
Told through colorful comic strips prior to the start of each chapter, the story here sounds more interesting than it is. Epic warfare between fruit groups? How could that not be interesting? There’s a good message in here about maintaining our health by eating better, but I just found the whole thing to be entirely uninteresting. I think my problem with it stems from the fact that the four main characters you get to play as have zero development. We rarely see them express any type of personality during the story and they’re really only around in order to accomplish tasks for others.
Thankfully, you don’t need to care about the plot of Organic Panic in order to enjoy the well-crafted puzzles it houses. The main goal of the 200+ levels included in the single-player mode is to reach an exit portal on the map. Despite the brief length of some of these levels, the variety of ways you have to finish each one is surprising. Last Limb was able to implement multiple paths of success thanks to their adaptive D.A.F.T (Destructive and Fluid Technology) system. What this basically means is that you can manipulate and destroy the environment as you wish, with the elements of the world (liquid, platforms) reacting accordingly.
Each of the four main characters has their own unique ability for interacting with the world around them. Cherry can use whatever she is standing on in order to shoot through both enemies and walls, Kiwi can shoot water and swim faster, Carrot has the ability to climb walls, as well as the ability to shoot fire, and Coconut can use telekinesis to grab enemies and objects, as well as fly.
Most of the time you’ll have to make it through a level with at least two characters, and it’s interesting to play around with each of their powers in order to complete the stage. For example, perhaps you’ll use Carrot to burn through a tree, and then Coconut can manipulate the left-over branch to create a platform.
What Organic Panic isn’t, though, is a great action game. Unfortunately, that’s what it tries to be when it isn’t testing your brain. Littered throughout every level are different meats and cheeses that are out to kill you, with most equipped with dangerous weapons. And while you have powers that can kill them, your powers are tied to energy orbs you pick up on each stage.
So, while you can run out of power, and considering the heavy amount you use it, you will, your enemies cannot. It can feel really unfair when you are bombarded with opponents with little in the way of defense for your limited-health heroes.
It doesn’t help that the aiming system in the game is inaccurate, at best. For some reason, aiming your projectiles is tied to the same analogue stick you use to move. We have two analogue sticks for a reason, so I’m not sure why Last Limb tied both of these actions to one.
While you can jump and shoot, you really can’t move and shoot, which makes you a stationary target for the enemies to hone in on. Honestly, while there are some clever uses of powers to eliminate enemies (such as drowning them or crushing them with a big wheel), I wish that this whole element of the game was dropped completely.
Besides the single-player campaign, Organic Panic also features several multiplayer modes. I’m always a fan of co-op play, so I was pleased to see the title included it. The open-ended nature of the puzzles curated by Last Limb is perfect for experimenting with another person on. There are also three different versus modes, for those that don’t wish to work together. Despite my thoughts about the combat engine, I think these modes actually came out pretty well.
One of the things that drew me to the game originally was the use of vibrant colors, and I’m happy to report that Organic Panic looks as visually interesting on my television as I thought it would. Last Limb makes exceptional use of colors in order to give the character and world of the game a look that really pops. The assorted liquid physics also flow with realism, which was honestly surprising given the strange nature of the game.
When Organic Panic is playing as a pure puzzle game, it’s an absolute delight. Last Limb understands how to create interesting levels and challenges that work well with their excellent D.A.F.T system. Which is why it’s such a bummer every time the game forces you to fight with weapons instead of using your mind to succeed. There’s still enough content here to make the food-themed puzzler worth seeking out, but if the developer had stuck to one genre instead of trying to mash two together, this could have been a much more satisfying experience.
This review was based on the PlayStation 4 version of the title, which was provided for us.
When Organic Panic is operating as a pure puzzler, it's an absolute delight. Unfortunately, though, the clever brainteasers crafted by Last Limb are frequently interrupted by clumsy and frustrating combat sequences.