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Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire – wonderfully formulaic, surprisingly unique

Colorful, cutesy, tricksy, surreal, yet totally formulaic platformer lands on iOS

Price: $2.99 / £2.29
646 MB
iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple TV


What an odd game. On one hand, this game is as formulaic as it comes. The goal: save the princess. A similar premise to Mario. Along the way, collect Macaroons, just like Mario’s coins, or even rings à la Sonic. Who’s stopping you? Little beasties, not dissimilar to Koopa Troopas or the buzzing, flying beasts from Sonic. Then, drilling deeper down into the narrative: why do we need to save the Princess? Because the king stole the recipe to Le Parker’s soufflé recipe. And this is important because he makes the lightest soufflé in all the land. Ah, there we go. That’s different.

There's plenty of beasts trying to stop you from getting to the end of a level

There’s plenty of beasts trying to stop you from getting to the end of a level

This is Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire. It somehow manages to be both formulaic, yet unique at the same time. It takes traditional platform mechanics and presents a series of levels to complete. Find secret objects, get extra lives, and reach check points. Lose all your lives? Start again! But it’s all wrapped up in a very odd parcel. The game uses a blistering color scheme of pinks, blues and bright whites. And for some reason, the edges of the screen fade into blur as if someone had rubbed Vaseline on the edge of the lens. There’s other bizarre inflections to the game, such as the creepy whispering of the word ‘secret’ every time Le Parker finds a secret object. The whole thing adds up to a pleasant daytime slumber wrapped inside a fever dream.

There's plenty of different worlds to explore – but it'll take a while to unlock them all

There’s plenty of different worlds to explore – but it’ll take a while to unlock them all

It really does feel like Le Parker is trying to exist at both ends of the platforming spectrum. Despite the French exclamations and premise, it also appears to take influence from the cutesy bounce of an Asian cartoon. And with that in mind, it’s also incredibly difficult. It’s not impossible, but in an App Store world where the levels are relatively easy to complete, it’s a novel concept. Le Parker, though, doesn’t seem interested in having you unlock the next level without working for it. The main challenge is just getting to the end of the level. It’s only then that you can worry about finding objects, getting a decent time or collecting all the macaroons. The replay-ability is pretty huge.

Collect the macaroons!

Collect the macaroons!

In a way, it’s remarkable that Le Parker exists. It’s the developer’s only title on the App Store, and it’s a big one. There are 32 levels across 4 worlds, containing over 20 original songs. The controls are super-responsive, and don’t over-complicate things. You have your directional buttons, and then an ‘A’ button for jumping. Hold or double tap and you’ll jump higher.

Oh, and if we haven’t highlighted the weirdness of this game enough, the final stages include a donut chase, an angry ice cream truck, and a showdown with the evil king himself. Because stealing recipes is definitely the definition of evil.

Get far enough and you'll find yourself up against some very strange opponents

Get far enough and you’ll find yourself up against some very strange opponents

The game’s also compatible with the Apple TV and includes controller support. So, while it works perfectly on iOS with its touch controls, the game opens up and can pretty much standalone with all the original franchise classics of yore. It’s just much weirder. So, while it’s not perfect, it’s one of the more unique titles on the App Store. Perfect for those looking for something both familiar, yet totally unique.