Steam Review: Do You Have What it Takes to Make a 5-Star Michelin Restaurant? This Game Will Make You Return For Seconds
Cuisineer is a magnificent delicacy ready to be served to any cozy gamer. Developed by BattleBrew Productions and published by Marvelous, XSeed, this adorable game really hits the spot of entertaining you for hours. A mix of a rogue-like with management simulator elements, this game blends itself together to create a 5-star meal worth enjoying.
The story begins with Pom, a cute cat girl, who arrives at her parent’s restaurant, The Potato Palace in her home town of Pael. Upon arriving, she learns that her parents left to vacation abroad, leaving Pom with a broken-down restaurant and a debt that needed to be repaid.
Of course, this game follows the usual, “you inherit a farm” type of trope, where Pom takes over the restaurant and upgrades it in order to get customers and pay off her family’s debt. I don’t know about you guys, but if my parents left me with a major debt, I’d just run away.
The purpose of the game is simple. You must pay off a debt that your parents left you, all while basically having free leeway to do whatever your heart desires. As long as you can keep up with expenses and upgrade your restaurant, that shouldn’t be a problem, right? Find recipes by upgrading your restaurant, fulfilling villager’s side quests (and boy are there a ton of side quests), run the restaurant, and go out and fight enemies to collect food ingredients for your beautiful dishes. I have to wonder, then, why are dishes in video games often more pleasing to look at than those seen in reality? The game focuses on the management simulation and rogue-like elements more so than villager interaction and relationship building, which personally did not appeal to me. However, the games positives outweigh the negatives. Thinking back on it, I probably wouldn’t have had time to build relationships anyway, after all, how many full-time working neighbors do you know who have time to clear out dungeons and build relationships?
Night and Day Cycle:
The game does have a night and day cycle like any farming/management simulator game. The only difference is that here you are allowed to be up until around 23:00, and once you hit that mark you will be told that it is time for bed and you’ll have 1 hour, or approximately 5 minutes or so to wrap up everything before you are then automatically sent to bed. I think that the time is reasonable, and you don’t really feel like time moves quickly while in a dungeon so at least there’s that.
The Dungeon Crawling:
My favorite part of this game is the dungeons. Having never been a fan of the rogue-like genre, I thought this game would be a lot more challenging. However, they really designed this game for every cozy gamer, where they don’t really focus on how challenging the dungeons are, but how adorably cute the enemies are. Pom utilizes basic cooking tools such as a spatula or a meat tenderizer, with each tool having a different property that can enhance both your magical and health abilities. She also has unique special attacks that she can utilize depending on the weapon she chooses, that can knock down many enemies at once. The dungeons are randomly generated and they do have the occasional health fountain that recovers your health. You can buy more tools at the tool shop, but be sure to pay attention, as although the same tools are being sold, their stats may differ so pick the ones you feel more comfortable with. I am a fire-type girl and love to burn it with fire, so I made focused on picking tools and equipment that were focused on fire abilities. This is a rogue-like, so do take breaks between managing the restaurant and going out to fight in the dungeon, otherwise you can potentially feel burned out from playing the game and will find it less enjoyable.
Upgrade the Restaurant:
I know that I said my favorite part is exploring dungeons but I find that upgrading my restaurant was equally satisfying. The only drawback I found was that expanding your restaurant only gives an inch of space each time which isn’t enough to work with, making upgrading your restaurant a more involved task in which you need to plan ahead. As the game intends for you to spend hours upon hours of gameplay, you have more than enough to complete your tasks. You can purchase upgrades at the furniture shop and decorate not only your restaurant but your room as well. I appreciated the rotation of the shops’ inventory, since it made the game feel like you were looking forward to each day for a new item to be showcased. Overall, decorating the restaurant holds great deal of customization and allows you to be unique as you would like, eventually building a 5-star Michelin restaurant. I know that Gordon Ramsay would be proud.
The Controls, Visuals, Audio, Oh my!
The controls are simple and intuitive, easily allowing you to adjust to the various attacks of the game by following the prompts on screen. The restaurant specifically does exhibit problems when the screen gets overcrowded. Attempting to use the various functions of the area while customers are standing in the same location causes the button prompts to not pop up entirely (for example when picking up tips from the table). This leads to a great deal of frustration and is perhaps my one and only caveat in my appreciation of the game’s controls. With 60 FPS graphics, everything performs flawlessly on the PC, granted you meet the requirements for it. The visuals look amazing and with the dungeons constantly on rotation, you will never get bored of the scenery and colorful aspect of the game. The music of the game is very relaxing, with lots of nature sound effects and lots of wind instruments. You do get Pom making attacking sounds as you go through the dungeon, but that just gives you the immersive experience of the game.
Of course, like any other game, it is never 100% perfect and Cuisineer has its own small issues I feel could use a future patch. The first issue I encountered were the loading screens. It definitely took a bit longer and there were too many in between.
Another issue was that when managing the restaurant, I felt that the customers would walk extremely slow at times, and it felt like I was standing there all-day serving tables. I guess they were trying to go for real life problems, ha! It would have been nice for a turbo mode to speed up customers once you get used to serving the food.
An issue that I thought was very minor since the gameplay doesn’t focus on this was relationship building. The characters that were created in Cuisineer are so adorable that it was a waste not to have romance options. Just look at Naicha the adorable cowgirl or Alder, the Wolf man. Heck, I’d even romance the Panda, but just give us that option! Seriously though, it would have been awesome if there was just a bit more interaction with the villagers.
Steam Deck Compatibility:
Although this game has not been Deck Verified, it plays flawlessly on the steam deck and plays at 60 FPS (frame per second) most of the time. I didn’t experience any issues except when I would enter a dungeon where the frame rate did drop occasionally, but it wasn’t such a big deal. It plays better on the steam deck than many other major game titles, so it didn’t really bother me. I think overall, I am really glad this game does provide the accessibility of playing at the comfort of a handheld, as I do need a break from my PC sometimes.
Overall, this game has provided me hours of entertainment. I really enjoyed exploring the dungeons and collecting all the food ingredients that I may use at my restaurant. I felt like you never really ran out of resources and money, so you don’t end up stumbling along the way, making this the ideal cozy game to relax to.
This game will persuade any gamer who isn’t a big fan of rogue-like games to pick up this game. It’s really a shame that there isn’t any news of it coming to the Nintendo Switch yet, but with luck, like most of the Marvelous games, we will see some news soon. Hopefully, we even get that cute, limited-edition box set we usually get for their other games.
Thank you to BattleBrew Productions, Marvelous and XSeed for the Review code.