‘Fortnite’-type fun in bite-size package

By Gieson Cacho // The Mercury News (TNS)

Platform: iOS, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV on Apple Arcade
Genre: Arcade
Publisher: Mighty Bear Games
Developer: Mighty Bear Games
Raing: 9+

Butter Royale came out of a pun.

“We were pitching games when it came up,” said Benjamin Chevalier, co-founder of Mighty Bear Games. “We were about to fly to San Francisco” and the ideas came gushing forth.

“Leek of Legends,” “San Francheesco,” “The Walking Bread” — Butter Royale seemed to come together as the puns tumbled out. As the name implies, the Apple Arcade title is a battle royale game with a family-friend dynamic. Instead of guns, players blast food at each other with weapons called Breadzookas and hotdog miniguns.

It’s a high-tech food-fight that unfolds from a top-down perspective. Players can use the touch-screen or the controller to battle against foes. It feels like a twin-stick shooter but Butter Royale has elements you would see in games such as Dota 2.

Players pick a spot to start, and immediately, they have to find a firearm. The melee weapon won’t do if players want to survive against the other 31 competitors or seven other teams if they’re playing in squads of four. The game supports 32 players in all. They’ll need to grab the right weapon, pick up armor, find health packs and scavenge for ammo. They’ll constantly have to be on the move because the area of play shrinks.

Mighty Bear says the hot-butter hazard will knock out anyone caught outside the safe zone, and as the area of play shrinks, the match grows intense. Butter Royale captures the essence of the genre and wraps it in an accessible package.

“We make social games, nontoxic ones,” Mighty Bear’s Phylicia Koh said. “We want to make them accessible. We don’t want to dumb down the genre though.”

One of “Butter Royale’s” better twists is that the game speeds up the process with matches lasting about five minutes or so. The top-down perspective makes the game more approachable and akin to a MOBA at times. Players can hide in tents or bushes and ambush unsuspecting players. In addition, each weapon has its own quirks. The shotgun-like Butter Blaster is great at close range while the Snipermesean rifle can do heavy damage from afar but it has a charge time and takes great skill to use.

If a teammate in a squad faints, they’ll be knocked out but they can roll around and come back to life eventually or an ally can revive them. That only works if an adversary doesn’t finish them off first.

Butter Royale features plenty of unlockable cosmetics. These are items such as new characters, fancy trails and flags that let players express themselves. They’re essentially seasonal prizes for those who play regularly or they can be purchased with the in-game currency called tickets that are earned over several matches.

The game features 52 characters so far with more in the works. Chevalier says the game will have a seasonal model with long-term goals of expanding the game modes and even adding a short miniseries designed to raise awareness of the game. Think of it is as short machinimas starring the characters.

Butter Royale has been available as an Apple Arcade game since January and is included with the Apple Arcade service.