Adventure Bar Story blends cooking and combat next month

Last summer, Adventure Bar of Wonderland Portable came to Japan’s PlayStation Store and snagged a lot of attention because of its premise — a 16-Bit title that blended full-on restaurant management gameplay with turn-based RPG battling/exploration. While PSP players in the West haven’t received a localized version yet, the game is about to be released over here for iOS under the new title Adventure Bar Story. TouchArcade got to spend some hands-on time with recent build of the game, and it honestly sounds like it’ll blend all your favorite things about JRPGs and management sims.

The game follows the story of a young girl who’s looking to save her bar from falling into a rival’s hands. In order to do so, she has to engage in what are effectively dungeon crawls in order to gather cooking ingredients, cook said ingredients up into tasty meals, and then sell them to hungry customers.

Adventure Bar Story

Adventure Bar Story

From the sound of things, Adventure Bar Story‘s cooking gameplay will follow the standard formula for restaurant management games. You acquire recipes and kitchen gadgets (like pots, pans, and blenders) and then whip things up through the mutli-layered cooking interface. While you can buy new recipes from the game’s item shop, talking to NPCs around town and experimentation can also let you uncover new dishes to cook.

The dungeon crawls are what make the game truly interesting. As you navigate environments, you can snag food that’s scattered across the ground. Doing so, however, leaves you at the risk of getting sucked into a random battle. While all the usual elements of JRPG battles are here (turn-based combat, items, and special skills/abilities), there’s an interesting twist: Winning a battle won’t level your character up, it’ll just earn “battle points,” which are used to unlock new battle skills.

Adventure Bar Story

Adventure Bar Story

In fact, leveling up is accomplished by eating meals that you’ve cooked in the game. It’s an interesting mechanic, since progressing to new areas in the game requires you to level up, which means that the two game modes are thoroughly intertwined: Gameplay sounds like it’ll rely on you setting out for ingredients, battling monsters to pick them up, taking the spoils back to cook, eating a couple of your meals to level up party members, and serving the rest to your customers. After that, you have to set out again to pick up more ingredients and start the whole process over.

Adventure Bar Story is due out for iPhone on February 28th. Whether or not an iPad version is released will depend on how the iPhone version of the game performs.