What fun Lumberhill is. There’s a pattern with these stress-fueled party/co-op games that have been fathered by Overcooked’s potent seed; great, colourful visuals and increasing difficulty.
The visual element has always felt like a bit of smoke and mirrors to distract or calm you down from the guaranteed mayhem you’re about to experience. Still, it inevitably falls on deaf ears (or… err… blind eyeballs?). You can’t polish a turd, sure, but these games aren’t turdy; they’re just sadistic.
Lumberhill is very well disguised as level upon level of isolated wood chopping, sheep juggling and putting out fires, I was happy as Larry. Well, anyone, you know who has an upbeat attitude. I don’t even know anyone named Larry, other than Mr Laffer.
Lumberhill PC Review
Anyway: relevance. It’s a simple setup in the game. As a lumberjack, you cut down trees (and wear ladies clothing, according to some snake folk) and carry out other alpha work. The gist is you use your brute strength to shift items about in the swiftest time possible.
Much like the orders in Overcooked, a little notification will pop up with a respective gauge to show you how long you’ve got. You can still have plenty of time on the clock for the stage, but each objective is ‘for a limited time only’.
There are no bonuses for doing it faster. Still, your mindset should be about efficiency, as once you have lit up the available three-star rating, you’re awarded a bullseye and automatically finish the stage. In the early stages, you can do this independently, but finding a lumber friend is in your interests.
As a recluse, I’m not fussed about online play, but what I will say about Lumberhill is there’s almost always a game you can join. During the lobby sections, regardless of what you’re doing, a notification will pop up to say that others are looking for another player on a particular stage. Head over to the multiplayer area, and you’ll see the available hosts or set up your own game.
Best of all, you can play this as a co-op locally. I may as well cut and paste this, but the experience is as good as the person you’ve recruited. For me, it’s always my kids. The youngest has an abundance of enthusiasm but not necessarily the motor skills, whereas if the other one gets involved, that’s a testament that it’s a cool game. That’s what they’d say in the playground. To put that in perspective, another similar game that they both love is Potion Party.
Either you can shout out your commands, tactfully discuss the best strategy for your workflow or wing it and get in the way of the other player forcing them to call off the mountains (speaking from the victim side of that example), there’s the flexibility to work together.
Other than actually beating the challenge, the common goal is to unlock the wealth of characters on offer. The lumberjack role may be defined as an alpha duty, but you can choose from a range of flannel-wearing knuckleheads or women in pigtails. It’s a nice incentive to do well for the customisations, but inevitably, unlocking new stages and increasingly complex challenges.
Presentation-wise, Lumberhill is one of my favourites in the genre – perhaps that would apply to gameplay too. As this was reviewed on the PC, if you play with a keyboard, it can be a little cumbersome, unless you’re pretty dextrous. Another similar title was Bake N’ Switch, also reviewed on the PC.
In my amateur opinion, local party/co-op games like this work best on console. The online mode is great, but I’m a local boy and would prefer to play in the same room. In Lumberhill’s case, this game developer by 2BIGo, ARP Games and All in! Games, I carted the PC downstairs and played with two wireless controls on the big telly, and it was awesome. Dare I say, I’ll be playing this more after posting the review.
Lumberhill PC Review Summary
One of the better co-op/party games out there that can comfortably be played in solo, local or online play. All three modes are equally good, and in fear of being somewhat predictable, the multiplayer experience is always dependent on the players. As for the game? Fun!