Facebook gets kicked up a notch with a new culinary adventure
If you’ve ever had the fever for the flavor of whipping up culinary masterpieces on the fly, Facebook now has a wonderful option to turn to called Chef Quest. Mixing sim elements with delightful mini-games, as well as a few healthy nods to pop culture’s favorite cooking personalities, this is one casual experience that isn’t lacking flavor.
You’ll begin your adventure as a prized student of a famed culinary academy. You’ll customize your character, choosing from various hairstyles, outfits, and accessories. Your mentor, Antoine, will walk you through the basics, and then it’s off to a glamorous life of food stardom.
First stop on your adventure is Italy to visit the ponytailed Luigi Vitalle (modeled after Mario Batali). The esteemed chef will teach you your first recipe and introduce you to the game’s core mechanics. Before you can get down to business, however, you’ll first be required to fetch recipe ingredients from the local market. Though the game seeks to make the process a painless affair, shopping is perhaps streamlined a bit too much. Rather than allow the player to peruse the grocer in search of what they need, everything’s already assembled for you.
Regardless of the chef you’re working with, the game’s progression is pretty much the same: talk to the chef and receive your assignment, shop for the necessary ingredients, return the ingredients to the chef, and play through a series of mini-games.
Without a doubt, the mini-games are the best part of Chef Quest, and it’s surprising just how many clever gameplay devices the developers manage to extract using only the mouse. Whether you’re slicing meat or mixing vegetables, the mini-games are completely satisfying. There are a ton of great, little additions – everything from sauteing and peeling to pouring and prepping. It might not sound all that interesting on paper, but the gameplay is an eclectic assortment of fun.
Once you’ve learned a recipe from one of the masters, it will be saved in your personal recipe books. You’ll be called upon to use those recipes on various occasions, and each time you successfully prepare a dish, it levels up. When all is tallied up, Chef Quest offers a solid formula of gameplay components.
Unfortunately, the game engine itself seems to be optimized pretty poorly. Players will experience long waits between dialogue sequences, and the visuals often chug along at a snail’s pace. Luckily, the mini-games are unaffected, but slogging through cut-scenes and such will require at least a modicum of patience.
If you enjoy games like Order Up or Cooking Mama, Chef Quest is an adventure well worth checking out. The presentation is playful and polished, and the mini-games are varied and satisfying. The laggy visuals put a bit of damper on the overall experience, but don’t let that hold you back from cooking up a bit of fun of your own.