Chocolatier: Sweet Society is a sweetly different take on the restaurant game formula.

Slowly but surely, casual game publishers are beginning to create social versions of their games for Facebook. The tycoon series Chocolatier has made one of the more memorable conversions, with PlayFirst turning it into a restaurant game of the sort Restaurant City and Cafe World made famous. You earn money by making chocolate and selling it to customers who can be quite picky, then invest your gains in more production facilities and a bigger, more beautiful shop. The visuals are marvelously designed to be pleasing to the eye, with a Victorian sense of fashion to your customers and an item shop stuffed full of baroque décor.

 Sweet Society

Making chocolate in Chocolatier: Sweet Society is a bit more complicated than cooking up food in most restaurant games is. You need to move to a factory screen and buy expensive chocolate-making machines, each of which can churn out one type of recipe at a time. More profitable recipes take longer to make, but may reward you with a bigger batch of chocolates to sell. You can play a (kind of dull) mini-game while your chocolate mixes to try and increase your yield. While your factory produces chocolate, your shoppe sells it. You can buy displays that hold so much choclate at once, set out batches, and wait for customers to come by who want it. Most customers generally will buy one of two types of chocolate, paying extra for whatever their favorite is.

 Sweet Society

This is where the gameplay gets a bit wonky. Early on in the game, you can probably afford only one chocolate mixer. (If you buy two, you probably can’t afford a lot of good decorations or to make expensive chocolate types.) With only one mixer going, you won’t be able to sell more than one type of chocolate for quite some time. When a buyer enters the story and buys their favorite type of chocolate, you gain prestige. If a buyer comes in and you’re not selling eithe rof the types they want, you lose prestige… if you’re logged into the game. This results in a strange phenomena where the game effectively punishes you for playing it over a long session, because early on in the game it’s mathematically impossible to have all the basic types of chocolate in sale. You’re better off playing for multiple very short sessions, spending no longer logged in than you have to. It’s a bit frustrating, as Chocolatier: Sweet Society is a very attractive game that would be fun to run in the background while surfing the net or working.

 Sweet Society

Overall, Chocolatier:Sweet Societyis still a very good experience on Facebook. While there are games that play in a similar way, there’s no game that has quite the same look or feel. The fantasy of owning your own chocolate business is definitely appealing if you’ve ever stumbled into a local candy shop and dreamed about going to work there every day. In general, if you like timer-based social sims and want a break from running endless cafes and diners, Chocolatier: Sweet Society may be worth your time.