Johnny’s Payday Panic (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Drew Hurley 09.04.2016

Review for Johnny’s Payday Panic on Nintendo 3DS

The developers of Johnny's Payday Panic were originally known as Office Create, but since their Cooking Mama titles became so popular and so synonymous, they became Cooking Mama Limited. The company knows that it does well, and it's clear that they're sticking to that formula, even when it's not a Cooking Mama title. As is evident here, this borrows massively from the Cooking Mama series and feels like Cooking Mama-light in many regards.

A one liner-like piece of exposition is enough to explain the premise, with the titular character Johnny saying, "I'm Johnny, my dream is to be a big shot but I'm totally down trying to figure out how," and the answer comes to him when a bona fide big shot with a pompadour humanly impossible. The cool character drops big shot cards, and Johnny realises that, if he wants to be as cool as that, he needs these big shot cards too, and to do that he needs CASH! To get the cash he gets himself some part-time jobs, and each of these jobs equates to a mini-game.

Each of the jobs has the same basic premise; customers appear, food is prepared/constructed with the stylus in various ways, and, finally, it is served - and all these while a time limit ticks down. As anyone who has worked in the service industry can attest to, most customers are normal and easy to please, as is the case here, but some… are more demanding, requiring numerous orders or the fastest of service or they'll have a tantrum, bouncing around the screen and ruining other orders.

Starting with a very basic job in an ice cream parlour where customers appear and place an order, selecting either cone or tub, and one or more scoops of different flavours, it's a basic and quick mini-game that is enjoyable and simple. Once Johnny has earned enough from this first position in order to get his first big shot card, he has the opportunity to work at a Ramen place, where orders get slightly more complex, requiring selection of broth and toppings along with stirring the Miso and adding noodle. This is a trait that continues as each place of employment is unlocked, with new mechanics and more difficulty at each.

Screenshot for Johnny’s Payday Panic on Nintendo 3DS

After earning enough at the Ramen place for another card then, the next job open's up: making kebabs! The kebab shop adds slightly more mechanics to the food prep, instead of having each of the ingredients prepared ready for use, they are finite and, therefore, between placing orders, lettuce needs to be chopped, and meat needs to be cut from the skewer.

The next location - a cupcake shop - requires lining up three ingredients and swiping them into a single cupcake, and the final location - a burger joint - requires putting meat to the grill while preparing a drink, and then building the actual burger. The way the game progresses, with each subsequent workplace adding new mechanics and appropriately bigger pay checks, is done well, and the game encourages playing at each location.

Each shop has an XP bar that can be filled 10 times, giving power ups, such as a longer time in the shop, or steps of the prep completed automatically; things that raise replayability somewhat. Sadly, this doesn't last very long, as the five mini-games quickly begin to feel very repetitive and quite a grind, the big shot cards don't really add to the experience to encourage collecting them all or 100%-ing the game. Frankly, after only playing through each stage a handful of times, it feels like a grind.

Screenshot for Johnny’s Payday Panic on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


A few hours fun for a low price. At only £3.00 this is a decent way for those who have yet to play the Cooking Mama series or similar mini-game based titles to experience what those have to offer. It is, however, a very shallow and repetitive experience, which makes Johnny's Payday Panic fun, but only briefly, since it's not something that would be worth revisiting.


Office Create


Office Create





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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