If you want a sushi game that really teaches you about sushi, you’re about to get your wish. Youda Sushi Chef is a deliciously frantic time management game that has you rolling up maki and serving nigiri to an endless barrage of hungry customers. Aside from the rapid pace, it’s full of quirky originality, and definitely not your typical restaurant dash.

As a budding sushi chef, you’ve invested all of your savings into your new sushi business, and you have just one week to make it work. How’s that for pressure? As both the new owner and chef, you certainly have your hands full.

Customers come in and place their orders, which are shown in picture images above their heads. Your job is to create those orders as quickly as possible. There’s a recipe book full of ingredients which must be properly combined to create each sushi order. For example, you can make salmon sushi with two servings of rice, one serving of nori, and one serving of salmon. Once you’ve gathered the ingredients, click on the bamboo roll to make the sushi and set it on the conveyor belt.  Points for being authentic! If you create an item that isn’t on the menu, it turns into a brown blob (complete with eyes and a face). This isn’t edible, of course…

At first, it’s really tough to advance. However, you quickly start to memorize the sushi-making combinations, which allows you to move swiftly along through the game.

At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see how much cash you’ve earned in Yen. You can use this cash to

order more ingredients. To do this, you need to click the phone, choose which item you want to order, and select standard (free) or express (Y50) delivery method.

You can also make take-away orders. You don’t have to accept these, but they can make you quick extra money. The dishes you make are then applied to the take out order with priority, so your seated customers may lose a bit of patience.

Customer patience is displayed in dots over each customer’s head. You can also tell by the customer’s facial expression. If they get too unhappy, they’ll leave, as is usually the case. You can cheer them up by playing with knives, and bribing them with sake.

A twist, albeit a complicated one, involves accepting reservations. Accepting reservations will earn you extra money and reputation points, provided that you can complete the transaction. Once accepted, drag the reservation signs to seats. You’ll earn more if you can manage to sit the parties next to each other. You have to get your timing just right, so that guests arrive when the right number of seats are reserved. It’s tougher than it sounds because you must juggle the customers carefully.

There is plenty of room for strategy. Because things go by on a conveyor, you can occasionally get a customer stuck at the end of the row who fails to get his order, if others ahead order the same thing. This sort of dilemma forces you to make a plan to serve everyone.

There are six restaurants to beat, each seven levels long. While that seems short, it’s truly not. Each level is long, and might have you serving upward of 50 customers at a time. You’ll also find yourself replaying levels in order to advance, since it’s a real challenge. You can expect hours and hours of game play.

When it come to production values, they are generally good. In particular, the character animations are impressive. The 3D customers actually chew their food, and have different heads and bodies, with lots of variety.

One of the only flaws in Youda Sushi Chef is that it’s very repetitive. The levels and music don’t change very much as you advance. This isn’t a problem in the beginning, but it can feel a bit stale after a few hours. As you move up, you also lose most of your upgrades, and some of your ingredients and sushi recipes. This is probably in order to make room for more recipes, since it’s pretty tough to recall all of the recipes in your head without a reference. The upgrades stay the same, though, only you must buy them again, which is a bummer. It would have been cool if there was a bit more variety in the levels, beyond just changing a couple recipes. Still, it’s not a major flaw considering that the game is still fun and unique.

With so many subtle twists being made to the time management genre, Youda Sushi Chef really stands out as something new and different. The gameplay is simple yet addictive, full of frantic clicking and plenty of challenge, which makes it a game worth recommending to time management fans.

For similar games, try Delicious – Emily’s Taste of Fame, Cake Mania 3, Cooking Dash, and Asami’s Sushi Shop.