So, after working for seven days straight, I decided that I would use my first off day to barricade myself in my room & catch up on my gaming. But instead of working on games that I’d already started, I found myself enamored with a strangely addicting little Indie game on Steam. I once again blame Youtube, because I checked out the game after watching one of the Let’s Players I follow play it & she made it look like a lot of fun.
Don’t be fooled by the cutesy exterior. Cook, Serve, Delicious! is an insidious little time sink. Before I knew it I’d spent five hours on the game in a single setting. Truth be told, the only reasons I stopped then was because my hands were starting to go numb & I had a midterm test to take.
Cook, Serve, Delicious! could be loosely called a restaurant sim. You begin by opening a new restaurant with 0 stars. With a starting budget you can pick your starting menu from some basic foods to start bringing in revenue & customers. As you get more money & increase your restaurant’s rating, you can purchase new equipment for the kitchen (which lets you make more complicated but more expensive foods), upgrade your foods to a higher quality, & upgrade your store to improve customer satisfaction. There is a bit of planning or strategy involved, though it’s hardly complicated. To get the best flow of customers throughout the day you have to be smart about your menu. It’s important to balance things so you have food that appeal to all times of day. You have to change your menu every few days, with the exceptions of a few staple items, like drinks. You also have to keep on eye on your restaurant’s buzz rating. Foods generate both positive & negative buzz. For example, some food will keep customers away during the morning hours or attract rats, but some foods are good on rainy days or are more likely to get you a tip. The higher your buzz, the more customers you get & the thus the more money you make.
But the meat of the game is actually running the restaurant. Each day is presented as a new round & you have to prepare the food for your customers. To get the best buzz & the most money, you need to get the orders right. The game is set up to use both mouse & keyboard, but due to the speed of the game I recommend a keyboard if you consider yourself a good typist. Some orders are simple, like making corndogs where you just have to put on the right condiment. But the higher end items take more concentration. Some even have multiple steps. For example, making a pizza requires putting the right toppings on then baking — & being sure not the let it burn. But you also have to get the orders done quickly. When a customer queues up, you have a small window of time to get to their order before they leave mad. But you can only do one order at a time, so it’s important to keep an eye on their timers. Certain upgrades to the restaurant can improve customer wait times & make for good investments. On top of all this, you have chores that pop up occasionally. These are doing the dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, setting mouse traps &, for some bizarre reason, doing robbery suspect sketches. Sometimes you’ll be robbed during the day & you have to make a sketch of the person based on a customer description. These are the most annoying, in my opinion. They’re top priority because you’ll lose money if you don’t do it right & get negative buzz, but they take so long to do. They’re rare, & I’ve only had one so far, but I didn’t like it at all.
To demonstrate what the game is like, I recorded two rounds I did this morning, one with a brand new restaurant & one with my current saved game to demonstrate how the difficult ramps up.
The overall goal of the game is to make a 5 Star restaurant, & to reach each level you have to complete certain goals. These include being open a certain number of days, having so many perfect order combos, making so many tips, & other things the game keeps track of. There’s a variety of additions to the game that keeps things interesting. You can unlock special events, such as catering or Iron Chef challenges. There are also bets you can make that require you to achieve a certain number of perfect combos on that day.
The pace of the game can get very hectic, but it’s always fun. The drive to make your perfect restaurant is very effective for bringing you back. I do wish there were more foods available & that you could customize your restaurant a bit more, but upgrading foods adds more ingredients & more challenge.
Cook, Serve, Delicious! brings to mind games such as Cooking Mama & Dinner Dash. I don’t think it’ll appeal to everyone, & I’m not far enough in the game to say if it has long-term appeal. I don’t know if there’s more to do after reaching 5 Stars or if more things will be added later. But if you’re looking for a fun, frantic game that you can pick up to play a few rounds between more serious endeavours, I recommend checking it out. Just don’t be surprised if you get sucked into it for a few hours like I did.