Cooking Game Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Cooking Game RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Cooking Simulator Review: Good Eats Thu, 06 Jun 2019 10:42:52 -0400 RobotsFightingDinosaurs

Let's cut to the chase here: Cooking Simulator is the only real cooking game out there today.

Think about every other cooking game you're aware of. Diner Dash, Overcooked, and Cook, Serve, Delicious! are all closer to management simulators than they are reflections of what it's like to actually make a meal. Cooking Mama and its ilk may give a closer representation of what it takes to put a dish together, but they're little more than collections of minigames. Battle Chef Brigade is one of my favorite games ever, but even that distills the actual process of cooking down, turning it into a puzzle game.

The point here is that there are very, very few games about cooking that actually allow you to, well, cook. Cooking Simulator is one of them, and despite a few hiccups, it's the best one out there today.

Mise En Place

Cooking Simulator follows in the footsteps of other games with "simulator" in the title by being, at its heart, a game built to show off a sandbox-style physics engine. Like Car Mechanic Simulator and Surgeon Simulator before it, Cooking Simulator gives players a ton of opportunities for both skillful manipulation of ingredients and utensils, as well as opportunities for shenanigans. There's a dartboard for throwing knives at, as well as a note that tells you to Definitely Not Put The Fire Extinguisher In The Oven (but you totally should anyway).

Playing around in sandbox mode is a great time if you want to destroy the kitchen, but there's a lot of fun to be had in actually trying to create a perfect meal as well. 

Taste, Creativity, and Presentation

The most impressive part about Cooking Simulator is that generally, it follows common-sense rules of cooking. If you put something in a pot of boiling water, not only will you cook that ingredient, but you'll also flavor the water somewhat. Meats give up fat and oil during cooking, which can then be used to flavor other ingredients. Ingredients react differently from a visual standpoint whether they're cooked on the grill, the griddle, in a pan, in the fryer, or in the oven.

All in all, this means that from the time you boot up the game, regardless of whether you're playing the campaign or just messing around in sandbox mode, the game not only allows you to be creative but encourages it. 

It might be an odd parallel to draw, but it's actually a little bit reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's open world, in the way that it encourages you to discover how things interact. And better yet, most of the time, things react in a way that makes sense.

Top Chef

Unfortunately, the campaign takes a really long time to get rolling. To its credit, the game takes its time teaching you its mechanics, which is a huge help because you'll be trying to control tongs, spatulas, and saucepans with a mouse in ways that seem specifically designed to be more difficult than they need to be.

On one hand, this is slightly frustrating when you've spent 15 minutes making a stew and then promptly pour it all over the counter because you had trouble with depth perception. On the other hand, it's a lot of fun cooking a salmon steak you've dropped on the ground three times, serving it up, and getting full marks in judgment anyway. 

All that said, it's still a bit of a shock to put six hours into the campaign serving up relatively basic recipes, then open up the sandbox mode and realize that you're only using about 12% of the ingredients the game has to offer, and you haven't even touched the food processor.

The real draw of the campaign mode, and to be honest, the game in general is that each and every one of the recipes can be recreated in real life. The only thing an aspiring chef would have to do to adapt these recipes and try them in real life is to extend the cooking time of most ingredients (and tweak temperature control ovens and burners in the game only have on and off settings. No "roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes" here.)

As you serve dishes up, you'll get feedback on, say, if you oversalted the dish, if you burnt the vegetables, or even if you cooked the meat on the griddle instead of on the grill. You'll also get a chance to snap a screenshot of your meal, which to the game's credit, rewards you with some mouthwatering and 'grammable shots. Though the game's environments aren't all that visually arresting, the way that ingredients particularly the meats look as they cook is amazing.

Probably the best thing I can say about this game is that every time I finish cooking a meal, no matter how many times I've dropped it on the floor, or how many plate or bottle shards are in the bowl, or even that I forgot to cook the chicken, I want to get in my real kitchen and mess around a little bit trying out recipes. 

Disappointingly, at this point, you can't really bake anything in the game, and sauces and soups aren't labeled with their dominant flavors, which is a bit of a  bummer. Plus, it is just way too easy to spill stuff. At the end of the day though, as someone who really likes to cook, this game is legitimately unique in the way that it allows for, and encourages creativity in the kitchen. 

  • Really the only game that allows you to create a dish from start to finish
  • Visually, the way that ingredients cook and come together in a dish is incredibly mouthwatering
  • The way the game's rules work allows for experimentation, fun, and somehow, actual culinary learning
  • Certain cooking techniques like baking are absent from the game
  • Control can be awkward at times

You likely know whether this game is for you or not simply by the title and the elevator pitch. Do you want a sandbox style game that plops you in the kitchen with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ingredients and equipment and allows you to do whatever you want with them? Then yeah, buy this game. It's a no-brainer.

If you have no interest in cooking, then why are you even reading this review? 

[Note: A copy of Cooking Simulator was provided by PlayWay for the purpose of this review.]

Battle Chef Brigade Review: Seconds, Please Wed, 29 Nov 2017 15:02:29 -0500 Greyson Ditzler

Battle Chef Brigade is a game that I have been following for years now. Ever since it first showed up playable at PAX three years ago, it has been casually sitting on the back burner in my head as one of the games I was looking forward to the most. Since my early days of trying out items as ingredients in Paper Mario and serving grilled orange and hamburger mush to Minnie in My Disney Kitchen, I've yearned for just this kind of experimental fantasy cooking game. 

Well, that wait is finally over, as Battle Chef Brigade has finally been released on both PC and Nintendo Switch as of last week. Battle Chef Brigade is the kind of cooking game I've always really wanted but wasn't sure I'd ever get. It's a game where cooking is central and has rules, but it encourages creativity and changing things up rather than forcing the player to stick to a strictly laid-out recipe.

But is Battle Chef Brigade as good as I hoped it would be? Have the four years that Trinket Studios spent on this title shown in the final product? Do we finally have that fantasy cooking game that people like me have always wanted?

Let's take it out of the oven and see if it's done.

Now We're Cooking with Thrash 

Battle Chef Brigade has a bit of a slow start. Nothing too major, but it takes a little while for the mechanics, characters, and setting to be established before you get to your first real Brigade Tournament cook-off. But after that, the story and gameplay move along at an equally competent pace, intermittently spicing things up with new twists and turns as well as new gameplay mechanics and a steadily increasing challenge, which I found to be very enjoyable. 

What this game really nails -- and it better have -- is the cooking. Trinket Studios has successfully combined action-RPG combat and customization with match-three puzzle games and pulled it off wonderfully. The cooking was something I found to be fun and engaging the entire time I was playing.

Trinket Studios set out to make a cooking game where the player is given more freedom to experiment and get creative than in other conventional cooking games, and they really succeeded. There are dozens of different ingredients to be collected from your fallen foes, and they can all be mixed together into dozens and dozens of different, delicious-looking foods. 

You purchase and equip your own selection of cookware and trinkets to customize your play style, drop yourself into the match of the day, and have to please the judges using your combat and puzzling skills. First you receive the theme ingredient from the head judge, learn the flavor preferences of the judges (don't worry, there's only three flavors), and go out into the field to reap your harvest. Then, while under the same time limit, you must play a match-three color-coordinated puzzle game in order to strengthen your dish and defeat your opponent.   

There are a lot of different tasks you have to manage at once, but the more you stay on top of things, the tastier the reward!

The combat feels simple to understand and satisfying, the time limit is just enough to make you feel like you're in a hurry but not too rushed, and over time, you really become familiar with the layout and unique mechanics associated with each arena. There are only three arenas, and towards the end of the game you can tell they're really squeezing all they can out of them, but at least that means they're not under-utilized or poorly thought out.

The various equipable items you garner throughout the course of the story slowly build you a bigger and bigger arsenal of cooking tools to work with, and many of them you receive by defeating certain chefs, some of whom can be taken on in different orders or missed entirely on certain playthroughs. This adds a great deal of strategy as well as replayability to the game as a whole, as there's always another way to approach pretty much any situation.

The gameplay is tons of fun -- engaging without being too challenging -- and it's backed up by strong presentation. Unfortunately, the presentation and story structure of Battle Chef Brigade are where a few cracks start to show, even if they aren't deal breakers. 

Waiter, There's a Fly in My Game Design

Honestly, most of my issues with this game are pretty minor, all things considered, but I still feel like they brought down my overall experience somewhat. Very few of my complaints have to do with the actual gameplay but rather with how the game was presented and laid out.

The first thing that bothered me -- oddly enough -- had to do with the game's graphics. Don't get me wrong, this game looks wonderful most of the time, with its lovingly drawn backgrounds, beautiful color choices, and top-tier character and monster design. The people at Trinket Studios were inspired by the games of Vanillaware, namely Odin Sphere, and it's not just the gameplay that reflects that. The art design is extremely stylized, detailed, warm, and just pleasant to soak in; it gives me vibes of a Winnie the Pooh cartoon co-animated by the crews of Kill La Kill and Steven Universe. 

At times when the various design elements of the game's art style come together, the results are stunning.

But all of these quality elements still didn't distract me from the animation. I'm not saying the game is poorly or lazily animated -- it's just not all that animated period. The game is surprisingly still at times, with most frames in dialogue-heavy cutscenes looking like screenshots, barring the occasional flickering torch in the background or falling rose petals layered over the screen. 

Without trying all that hard, I was able to count the number of frames of animation that most characters had when in motion, and some characters never even move at all. The dialogue in cutscenes being carried out with still-frame, visual novel-style conversations is fine, as there are many different and very expressive frames, and most of the voice acting is very solid and impressively natural sounding. But even in that case, some characters just flat out never move. More than one frequently appearing and plot-important character literally never budged at all, only ever speaking in one locked position without exception, which after not-too-long became very distracting.

I'd like to reiterate that these animation elements by no means make the game unappealing to look at, as the graphics are still very pretty, and I'm sure the devs worked hard on them. But the lack of movement often keeps the game from fully coming to life. Even just a few more details, like blades of grass blowing in the wind, and a a few more frames here and there would have made a big difference in the game's overall look and feel.


Take this cutscene for example. Every blue character is important and has a name. Wouldn't it make sense to color them in to make them pop out more? 

My second issue is with the writing and story. Again, it's not bad, really. In fact, it's usually quite good, with some plot surprises, distinct and likable characters, and solid world building to back it all up. But again, I'd love to have more of it.

I feel as though the character stories that we were exposed to here have only given us a glimpse of the scale and story of the world in which this all takes place, and I don't feel like I got enough of a chance to really get to know a lot of the really interesting characters in the cast.

Delicious Flavors, Small Portions

I suppose my biggest overall problem with Battle Chef Brigade is that in certain regards, I just don't think there's enough of it. The game isn't short by any means -- clocking in at around 13 or so hours for me, not including the time I spent on the challenges and daily cook-offs -- but for how solid the core gameplay is and how interesting the world is, I think there's a lot more that could be done.

That same sentiment can apply to my comments on the writing and animation as well; I'd just like more please. More areas to fully utilize the very fun and thought-out mechanics, more animation to make the world feel alive and show off the quality of the art, and more story so I can spend more time with the great characters and learn more about the interesting world they've created. 

Thankfully, Trinket Studios seems to be planning to expand the game in the future by adding in new playable characters with their own campaigns. At time of writing, I am unsure if these will be paid DLC or free content updates, how long they may take to make, or how many they may have planned (though if the Kickstarter goals are to be trusted, we've been promised at least two), but I am happy to hear it and excited regardless. 

To be fair, most of my concerns can be fixed with future updates, and the core of the game is still solid and pretty well-presented despite its flaws. I would be lying if I said I wasn't having fun the whole time that I was playing Battle Chef Brigade.

I may have spent a lot of time discussing its issues, but there's still a lot to like. It's fun, very technically balanced, creative, charming, and pretty. It's probably one of the most original games I've ever played, which gives it the benefit of no competition in its field. To quote Yahtzee Croshaw: "Despite its flaws, get it anyway, because you will never experience anything else like it." 

It's a flawed game, and its general scale may be smaller than some people hoped for, but it nonetheless delivers on its intentions of creating a fun and unique cooking game that encourages creativity. It's a game that I can absolutely recommend to anybody who wants something fun or truly unique, and it's a great game for short portable sessions on the Switch. At $20, it's a feast of an experience at a value meal price. 

Battle Chef Brigade is available now on Steam and Nintendo Switch. You can watch a trailer for the game down below: 

[Note: Adult Swim Games provided a copy of Battle Chef Brigade for this review.]

Battle Chef Brigade Release Date Announced For Steam and Switch Thu, 09 Nov 2017 16:41:40 -0500 Greyson Ditzler

Battle Chef Brigade -- the 2D Action-RPG cooking/puzzle game developed by Trinket Studios and published by Adult Swim Games -- has finally been given a release date of November 20th on Steam and Nintendo Switch.

Battle Chef Brigade was the result of a Kickstarter by newcomer Trinket Studios in an effort to create a type of cooking game that focused more on the actual cooking, as well as made it more involving. On their Kickstarter page they say:

Cooking in games is always a simple affair, represented entirely by minigame or crafting mechanics. Not so in Battle Chef Brigade. Here, you decide what dishes to make. Each elimination round of the Battle Chef Royale will pit you against an opposing chef in a competition to wow the judges with your tasty dishes and culinary skills and spells

The gameplay is split between hunting monsters and collecting ingredients under a time limit in a style similar to Vanillaware titles, selecting the ingredients you want and need in order to impress the judges on the Battle Chef competition, and improving your dish through a match-three puzzle game. The game will also feature several playable characters, all with different abilities and play-styles, and personal narratives that are all interconnected in order to create a larger story. 

Battle Chef Brigade will release on Steam and Nintendo Switch on November 20th. You can watch the new release date trailer right here:

The 5 Most Delicious Cooking Games on iOS Mon, 28 Aug 2017 18:03:55 -0400 Kengaskhan


Order Up!! To Go


Order Up!! is a very robust cooking simulator that places you in the kitchen of a busy restaurant rather than in the comfort of your own home. By forcing you to juggle multiple orders for various dishes at once, Order Up!! will put your timing and multi-tasking skills to the test if you want to maximize your profits and customer ratings (just like a real kitchen).


This neat little game package is also wrapped up in a very cool Saturday-morning-cartoon style of art that gives Order Up!! a ton of personality.


Download this game from the App Store!




What are your favorite cooking games to play on your iOS device? Let us know down in the comments and share it with the rest of our readers. 


Chef Town


Chef Town is all about building your own restaurant. While you will do a lot of cooking in this game, it's a very simple mechanic that isn't really the main focus of the game -- rather, it's your restaurant's primary source of income.


By spending your hard-earned cash, you'll be able to expand your restaurant, unlock recipes, and purchase all sorts of restaurant cosmetics (ranging from floor tiles to aquariums) to make your restaurant look the way you want it to.


Download this game from the App Store!


Cookbook Master - Kitchen Chef & Food Maker Game


Cookbook Master takes a page out of Cooking Mama's book -- employing the same focus on actually preparing and cooking the food yourself, without worrying the player about the logistics of restaurant management.


However, Cookbook Master is, in many ways, a simpler game. While I personally love Cooking Mama's approach, I know a lot of people will prefer Cookbook Master's cleaner, more elegant style of gameplay. This is also reflected in the game's very professional-looking aesthetic.


Download this game from the App Store!


Restaurant DASH with Gordon Ramsay


Technically speaking, Gordon Ramsay's cooking game is just a Diner Dash clone -- and you'd think that Restaurant DASH with Gordon Ramsay is just Diner Dash, but Hell's Kitchen-ified. That might be true, but there's a little more to it as well.


However, what really sets Restaurant DASH apart from all the other Diner Dash clones is how readily and effectively it embraces the Gordon Ramsay brand. Everything about it is integrated so perfectly with Diner Dash that it almost feels like a proper sequel that's been endorsed by Gordon Ramsay himself.


Download this game from the App Store!




For fans of the Cooking Mama series, this game provides the same core gameplay loop you know and love with that same cute, cartoony art style.


For newcomers, COOKING MAMA Let's Cook! is probably the truest-to-life cooking simulator you'll find on iOS. While most cooking simulators automate (or skip) most of the "menial" parts of the cooking process, you'll be manually cracking your own eggs, greasing your skillets, and grinding meat in this game.


COOKING MAMA Let's Cook! has quite a few other features (almost overwhelmingly so), but at its core is a game that really makes your Apple device seem like a handheld kitchen.


Download this game from the App Store!


Love them or hate them, mobile devices are one of the most popular platforms for gaming right now, with tons of games for pretty much any genre you can think of. While many of the top-rated mobile games you find are puzzle or strategy games, you'll find there's a lot more to mobile gaming if you dig just a little deeper.


One particularly popular mobile genre is cooking/restaurant games, of which there is an absolute abundance on the iOS App Store. It's not hard to see why the games are so popular either -- they're kid-friendly, they're easy to get into, and everyone loves food.


If you're looking to give some cooking games a shot (or simply looking to expand your cooking game repertoire), here are 5 of the best games the genre has to offer on iOS devices.

Papa's Wingeria: No seconds for me, thanks Wed, 07 Nov 2012 09:51:55 -0500 Ashley Shankle

The Papa's games aren't for everyone. Some people just don't like the minimum wage simulation aspect of the games. You work hard, are under pressure, and barely get paid. They really are like working at a terrible job! Even so, the games are popular and have some addictive gameplay behind them. Papa's Wingeria is the newest game in the series, but in some ways it feels like a step back from Pancakeria.


Papa has opened franchises for burgers, tacos, ice cream, pancakes, and now wings. Wingeria has a lot of bells and whistles in comparison to the previous games in the series. You can create a character now, there's a ton of stuff in the shop, and you can change your character's clothes -- all new features. Even with these additions, the base gameplay is essentially the same as the others in the series. Take orders, cook and prepare food, then deliver food. I personally have no issue with how the games play out (though some people do), but there's something a bit off about Papa's Wingeria.


The actual food preparation is a combination of simple and annoying. Food prep was fun in Freezeria, stressful in Pancakeria, and in Wingeria it's just downright no fun. You cook a set amount of wings per batch, choose the amount of sauce per batch, and then take part in a mini QTE that feels tacked on to mix the sauce and the wings. After that (yes, there's more), you must place the wings and additional sides onto a plate in an even and decorative fashion, and then add dipping sauce in the center. There are too many steps within each step, and the amount of effort you have to put into just making wings or french fries or what have you is excessive for the type of game that it is.


I've been a big fan of the series for a while, but Papa's Wingeria just sort of falls flat for me. While the games have always sort of felt like a chore, I still enjoyed them for the most part. I simply don't enjoy it this time around. I'll take the lower quality graphics and better gameplay of the previous Papa's games over Wingeria's any day.

Papa's Pancakeria: Great, now I'm hungry (and addicted to this game) Wed, 07 Nov 2012 09:48:58 -0500 Ashley Shankle

The Papa's flash game series has been one of my favorites for a while. You take orders, make food, and serve food. Simple, right? Nope. You have to manage your time and make the food exactly as the customers order. Papa's Pancakeria is more of the same, with its own methods for cooking and building orders.


As the name suggests, you do make pancakes -- but you also make French toast, waffles, and drinks. Your customers demand the perfect breakfast, and have some strange orders for you to fill. Get used to making giant stacks of pancakes and French toast covered in chocolate chips, powdered sugar, honey, blueberry syrup, and raspberries. You're going to be slaving away cooking and building until you even get the drink machine, and from there things get CUH-RAZY. At least, as crazy as a game about tending a restaurant can be.


I can't really go into a lot of detail about the process of making the food you're serving, since it would take more paragraphs than would normally be necessary to describe just making these foods in real life. Besides, part of the fun is seeing the new things you unlock.


Building the orders is the most interesting and time-consuming part of Papa's Pancakeria, as you need to stack those flapjacks and their toppings just right. It's also arguably the most fun since you need to manage your time between taking orders, flipping pancakes, and ensuring you are making exactly what the customer wants. Plus it's just nice to see the finished product.


Decorating your restaurant is about as exciting as you might expect it to be, and (unlike real life) you need to spend the money you get from tips and your paycheck on decorations. As with the other Papa's games there are loads of posters, and there are tons of themed decorations to invest in to spruce things up.


As with Papa's Wingeria, there are optional mini games between each day of hard work. You can get money or decorations from these games, depending on how well you do. I found these to be an okay distraction from my restaurant's day to day grind, but didn't bother spending a lot of time on them because the main game is more than entertaining enough.


Papa's Pancakeria is inevitably the longest Papa's game so far, and getting to rank 15 to unlock the drink machine takes quite some time. Fans of the previous games can enjoy this long entry to the series, and those new to the series can jump right in and have just as much fun with it. The time management and the order building aspects are as addictive as ever, and the game knows just how to ramp things up to make things challenging later on. This type of flash game isn't for everyone, but it is worth a try if it sounds even the least bit interesting. Chances are you'll fall victim to Papa's charms as well.