I’d like to preface this preview by saying that I have not viewed any of the multitude of Let’s Play videos featuring Hot Dog Heartache in order to avoid bias. That said, damn, this game is dripping in the tangy mustard sauce of old school, hair-pulling platformers.
Hot Dog Heartache‘s premise mirrors its hilarious gameplay. Chef B. Hole meets hot dog. Chef B. Hole falls in love. Sadly, one fateful day it’s revealed that not all is what it seems. The hot dog that the chef loved so dearly is actually … a tofu dog.
Wrought with embarrassment, the cylindrical amalgam runs away and is forced to kick her way past forks and knives while simultaneously bridging dangerous gaps safely. Every time your tofu dog avatar dies in a massive spray of ketchup and mustard “blood,” you are also taunted by a high-pitched cartoony voice screaming, “You died!”
I was having flashbacks of playing Donkey Kong Country in my room into the wee hours of the morning as a child. I could also tell that the team at Fever Brain Studios is trying to capture the controller-slamming, precision-timing based jump/speed run flavor of many life-long 20-something gamers’ youths in the same vein as Super Meat Boy.
Speaking to that same little kid, I also noticed the Ren & Stimpy influence that Fever Brain Founder Gregory Lewandowski spoke of in his recent interview on BitPulse. Hot Dog Heartache is clearly a throwback to not only the video games of an older era, but cartoons, as well.
Everything from the brassy, 8-bit soundtrack to the juvenile yet still comical way in which the mustard packets you collect must be farted out in order to pull off a double jump screams early ’90s cartoons. The 2D backdrops are reminiscent of 8-bit Mario games of the same era, but with Fever Brain’s own unique, askew tone.
Hot Dog Heartache is currently in the process of being greenlit on Steam, and the game’s Kickstarter page has nine days left to reach its $25,000 goal. If you’re a fan of unrelenting platformers that dredge up ketchup packets full of nostalgia, you can download Fever Brain’s alpha and contribute to the studio’s Kickstarter.