Killer food. A concept that has all but disappeared from today's media was highly popular in both comics and movies back in the day. I can still remember watching Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! as a kid and not wanting to go in or near my kitchen for the rest of the night. Nom Nom Apocalypse takes the concept of killer food, and combines it with the gameplay of a top-down roguelite shooter, supporting two-player local co-op. As with other recent releases on Steam, the game does support Remote Player Together, letting you play the game online with a friend as if they were sitting right beside you.
As mentioned above, the game is a roguelite, which is quite different from a roguelike. In a roguelite, there is some form of preserved progression from one run to another, whereas a roguelike generally resets everything after dying. In Nom Nom Apocalypse, you'll gain money during each run that is spent on perks. These perks (over 40 are available), can be swapped in and out after every level, with a maximum of three being selected at any given moment. You can equip faster dodge rolls, increase your maximum amount of health, hold more ammunition, and more. Until you get a feel for the game, you may want to increase your bullet supply, as I found myself running low during boss encounters.
After an explosion destroys a local diner, mutated muffins run rampant throughout, altering their biochemistry by ingesting anything they find. This produces a mix of disfigured food-like monsters, such as rampaging cheeseburgers that lunge towards you, nightmarish spider fries that shoot french fries, deadly flan, donut creatures, and other delicious monstrosities. I like the boss designs, pitting against larger than life creatures, complete with a title card befitting movies from a bygone era. For example, you'll be battling a giant mutated Chinese take out container of noodles, complete with dumpling minions, and chopsticks.
The top-down shooting feels very snappy, and movement is fast; however, the colorful and almost whimsy take on the real world feels hollow. Each level is broken up into large rooms, and as you move between them, the game fades to black, resulting in a jarring transition between sections. You'll need to dispose of any foes before moving on to the next area, but each level (there are only five) follows the same formula; kill enemies, collect the key, gain new weapons, and defeat the boss. It isn't necessarily a bad setup, but the environments are overly large, resulting in an empty sensation. The worst part is the broken parts of the environment that you'll most likely get caught on when trying to avoid enemies. You are unable to shoot above it, and getting caught has led to many cheap deaths. Occasionally, it also looks like bullets go through enemies without them taking damage.
The sweet and greasy foes come at you fast, and it seems like almost everything can move just a tad faster than you, making it harder to stay at a safe distance. When you first boot the game, you are given only a handful of the colorful cast of characters to use. There are plenty of unlockable characters that become available upon completing specific requirements, such as going on a 50 kill streak or killing a boss without using your unique ability. You'll want to choose your character based on their powers and perks, such as the delivery man's speed boost, or the hot dog vendor that can drop a turret and receive a discount at vending machines. All of the weapons fit within the game's theme, with ketchup bottles serving as a machine gun, mustard shotguns, and even a crossbow launching forks. Ammo is sparse, but you have an infinite supply of butcher knives to toss. These can also pick up items on the ground that replenish your health, the special meter, or increase your cash total. You should note that the dodge roll doesn't give you any iframes, so attempting to roll through incoming projectiles means you'll still be taking damage.
Nom Nom Apocalypse resurrects the fear of mutating food; however, the game lacks substance. A single run can be completed in an hour or two, and I fail to see anything to keep me wanting to play through a second time. The different areas are overly large and empty, and yet, the destructible parts of the environment don't appear to do any splash damage to enemies. I do feel the game mechanics are really tight and responsive.Note: Nom Nom Apocalypse was reviewed on PC. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.