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Cook, Serve, Delicious!

October 20th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Games that task you with running a business are probably my favorite games of the simulation genre, mainly because I enjoy the challenge of starting from the ground up and coming out on top in the end.  What’s more, I enjoy them because most of the time, I get to design my products / business how I like.

Cook, Serve, Delicious!

Cook, Serve, Delicious! (PC)

Editor’s Note: While the game is only available for the PC (as of 10/19/12), there are plans for a Mac release sometime in November, 2012.

“Cook, Serve, Delicious!” is a game that tasks you with running a restaurant.  This restaurant has seen hard times and was closed for a while due to the economy and lack of interest, but business is now booming at Sherrisoda Tower (where the restaurant is located) and it’s your job to bring it back to life.  As a Restaurant Empire vet, I was obviously excited to get my gloves on this game.  That being said, I’d like to quickly thank David Galindo from Vertigo Gaming for setting me up with a free review copy.

So what kind of game is this?  Time management?  Business management?  Mini-games?  To be honest, it’s a mash-up of all three.  You’ll be switching back and forth between being a manager of a restaurant and taking charge in the kitchen as the head cook.  Your ultimate goal is to drive your business to become a five-star restaurant.  The game gives you a set of goals that you’ll need to complete in order to move on to the next star.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Goals

Apparently, I have a long way to go.

Before a day begins, you’ll be able to check email, customize your menu, buy new food and equipment, upgrade existing food items, see how your restaurant stands in the grand scheme of things (star rating), see what people are saying about your restaurant (buzz), and more.  While the prices of the menu items are fixed, upgrading them increases their sale price.  Each food item has positive and negative traits that effect your restaurant and your buzz, something I personally have never seen before in a restaurant sim game.  I think it’s a fantastic approach to give your menu items that kind of detail.  Buying equipment can help to make your daily chores (work tickets) a bit more manageable and email will keep you notified of new items available for purchase, upgrades, events, and your buzz, among other things.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Food

Menu rot encourages you to switch out menu items often to keep your buzz rating up.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Equipment

Equipment will eventually make your life a little bit easier.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Buzz

The daily buzz menu will let you see at a glance what factors in to your overall buzz rating.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Emails

Emails can provide you with some useful information as well as a little comic relief.

The day begins at 9 AM and ends at 10 PM, though time does accelerate so that you’re not rotting away at your desk, forcing you to beg passersby for food and water.  Customers will walk in and start demanding the food items that you’ve chosen to place onto your menu.  As customers place their order, the numbers in the top left corner of the screen will become populated with a timer bar that slowly decreases as you ignore their request.  Wait too long to address their order and they’ll leave.  The frequency of how often the customers show up is dependent on the time of day…lunch and dinner rushes are the usually when things start picking up.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Beer

9:14 AM…I guess it’s never too early for “The Brewsky.”

As far as actually preparing an order, you’ll have to do the legwork.  Once you select an order, you’ll see what the customer wants and how they want it.  Using the keyboard, you’ll have to type the letters of the condiments they want, in the order specified.  Some of your food orders will be easy, especially the ones with little to no condiments which require less keystrokes to finish.  Others like double bacon on their burger, for example, on top of everything else.  You’ll be challenged from morning until night to complete these orders to perfection, and doing so will earn you a multiplier bonus.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Pretzel

Some menu items are very easy to make…

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Pizza

…while others have multiple steps to them and can be quite complex to prepare.

To mix up the day, work tickets appear that you’ll have to address unless you want you restaurant to go bottom’s up.  They involve taking out the trash, cleaning your hands, doing the dishes, cleaning the bathrooms, dealing with rodents, and etc.  Taking care of these tasks are handled the same way as preparing food in that you’ll have to perform certain keystrokes in a particular order.  It’s obvious what your buzz will become if you ignore them…if you’ve ever gone into a fast food restaurant and saw water seeping out from under the bathroom door accompanied by a not-so-pleasant aroma, you’d know what I mean.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Work Ticket

Toothbrush not included.

The game also throws some interesting events at you that you’ll have to deal with.  For example, an inspector will come to your restaurant on occasion to see how well you deal with work tickets as they come up.  You’ll want to pay attention to those work tickets more so than usual when that happens.  There are also times where you’ll have the opportunity to appear on “Iron Chef” and compete in different challenges.  I found that these events definitely add a bit of flavor to the game (no pun intended) and serve (someone stop me) to keep things interesting.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Day Complete

In the end, you’ll strive to better.

If there was one thing that I think the game could improve on, it’s the options menu.  At the moment, there’s no way (that I could see) to change to resolution.  There is a full screen / fill screen / windowed mode toggle and options to turn the game sounds / music on and off, but no volume slider or resolution drop down box.  I think it would be beneficial to all who play this game to have more options available to them.  I also wouldn’t mind a difficulty toggle, for those who might want a more relaxed, casual experience.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Options

The options menu has the basics covered, but there is room for improvement.

Overall, “Cook, Serve, Delicious!” is a wonderfully addictive game that takes the best parts of Diner Dash, Hot Dog King, and Restaurant Empire and crams them all into one nice, meaty package.  It will definitely test your reflexes and can be a bit hardcore at times in terms of difficulty, yet it manages to keep you engaged in a way that encourages you to do better.  I highly recommend it to those who enjoy time management and simulation games.

Final Verdict: 8/10

You can learn more about “Cook, Serve, Delicious!” by visiting the following website:

http://www.vertigogaming.net/blog/?portfolio=cook-serve-delicious

You can support it’s journey onto Steam by voting for it on its Greenlight page here:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=100875859

You can purchase the soundtrack to “Cook, Serve, Delicious!” by visiting the following website:

http://jonathangeer.bandcamp.com/album/cook-serve-delicious

You can view play sessions for this game here:

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