Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire ($2.99) by Play Pretend LLC is a challenging platformer that serves as a fantastic tribute to the classics. If you enjoy tough-as-nails games and love a test of your platforming skills, then Le Parker is one that you must check out. If you liked games like VVVVVV and RunGunJumpGun, then you will love what Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire brings to the genre.
As a ‘90s kid, I pretty much grew up with the classic platformers that everyone knows nowadays. This includes the Super Mario Bros. games and even Sonic the Hedgehog, which was a personal favorite. Even though I wasn’t the fastest at completing stages, I still thoroughly enjoyed platformer games because of the challenges that they usually bring when it comes to complex levels and epic boss fights. It took me several tries to complete a stage, but I always had fun doing it when it eventually happens. I’ve always had a soft spot for platformers since a kid, so naturally I’m inclined to try out any new platformer game on iOS when it comes up, even though the controls can be rather tricky to get right with touch screens (the Mikey Shorts games are the only ones that have nailed it). When I saw Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire on the App Store, I was intrigued, mostly because of my affinity for all sweet things (literally) and the awesome art style. Needless to say, I was not disappointed with this one.
Visually, Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire is stunning and beautiful. The game features a retro aesthetic that makes you feel right at home if you grew up with the classic consoles back in the day. While it’s a pixelated art style, Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire still packs in an incredible amount of detail, from the serene backdrops to textured environments in the foreground to the delectable macarons that you’ll want to collect, and all of the character sprites, including Le Parker himself and the various critters that you’ll come across, are rendered nicely and bubbling with charm. The game consists of a fantastically rich color palette that ranges from soft pastels to bolder and vibrant hues, and there are some nice lighting effects, including day and night times, that make the game appear to be like a dreamscape. Animations are buttery smooth and fluid with no lag on my iPhone 7, and the completely original soundtrack is rather atmospheric and soothing, fully pulling you into Le Parker’s world. Sound effects are also delightful to listen to as you collect sweet treats and stomp enemies.
However, the only thing that bothers me is the fact that the game overrides any other audio you have in the background. Hopefully the developer can change that in the future. Otherwise, Play Pretend has knocked it out of the park in terms of visuals and audio.
Like many platformer games, Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire is split up into various worlds that have a unique setting, and each chapter features eight levels, with the final stage being an epic boss battle. The game holds up to three save files at once, so multiple people can play the game on a single device if needed.
The story of the game goes like this: Le Parker is a sous chef who can craft the lightest meringue of them all, which is so light that it literally floats. However, the recipe is with the Princess, but the King and his men have raided the chambers of the Princess and stolen the recipe, using the power of the meringue for evil and banishes Parker from the kingdom. The objective in the game is to help guide Parker on a quest to rescue the Princess, gather up all of his necessary culinary utensils, and then defeat the King once and for all. Each stage has a storage unit at the end to signify the goal, but getting there is the hard part — there will be numerous enemies that will try to stop you, and there are also plenty of environmental obstacles that you’ll want to avoid if you want to complete the objective.
On top of the main goal, there are secondary objectives for every level as well: Time Attack (finish as fast as possible), Macaron Collection (get them all), and Secret Kitchen Utensils that are scattered about and it’s up to you to find them. These add a nice layer of replay value to the game if you are a completionist. Each game starts you off with three lives, and you lose a life if you get hit or fall. You can earn extra lives for every 100 macarons you collect, so make sure to grab those sweet French cookies when you see them!
Controls in Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire are simple and intuitive, though the positioning could be a bit better. In the bottom left will be directional buttons for moving left and right, and then there is an “A” button in the bottom right for making Parker jump. You can do a light tap for a hop, hold down the button for a longer jump, and tap it twice for a double jump. While the controls do work alright for the most part, I did find that sometimes my thumb would be slightly off on the directional buttons so I wouldn’t move as I intended to. There is an option to turn off the visibility of the buttons though, which may work better if you’re a bit finicky about the positioning like I am. Fortunately, though, the game has full support for MFi controllers, so if you have one of those around, you can use it with Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire for the optimal platformer experience.
I’ve played a ton of platformers on iOS during my time here at AppAdvice, but Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire is one of the better ones I’ve found. The game is absolutely gorgeous with dreamy landscapes and endearing character models, plus the music and sounds are fun to listen to. The controls work well enough, and the game is fairly challenging, even for seasoned platformer veterans. Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire is definitely one of the better games I’ve picked up on iOS this year.
I highly recommend giving Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire a try if you are in the mood for a sweet and challenging platformer treat. Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire is available on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV for just $2.99. There are no in-app purchases.