It’s the holiday season, and what’s our friend Emily up to? Serving people tasty treats, as always! Delicious – Emily’s Christmas Carol follows our young entrepreneur as she and her family go on a Christmas adventure, complete with all the time management action you can handle. Emily’s daughter Paige is set to star in her pre-school’s musical, and Patrick has tickets for the Miracle Express train. As you can guess, plenty of drama pops up as everyone tries to enjoy their holiday. Emily never gets a day off, does she?
The core gameplay in Delicious – Emily’s Christmas Carol doesn’t stray far from previous games in the series. Accompanied by her friends and family, Emily will operate a holiday-themed business that serve all sorts of wintertime goodies. Plates of cookies, holiday magazines, roasted chestnuts, you name it! The game is split into four areas, each with a unique theme and a handful of stages. The goods and services differ in each place, but whether you’re serving peppermints in a bag or chocolate bananas, the basic idea remains the same.
Emily’s Snow Garden kicks things off with tasty items like custom fruit cakes, holiday bread, and hot cocoa. Customers slide in from the top of the screen, take a seat, then place an order. If they pick something simple like a dark chocolate pretzel, all you have to do is grab one from the shelf and take it to them. If they go for a cake, you have to build it layer by layer. There are also things like fire baked bread and chocolate waffles that have their own special stations and unique steps to assemble. Once a customer has been served, they’ll eat their fill and head to the register. Wish them a merry Christmas as you take your tip and send them on their way!
Upgrades come in two forms: shopping in-between levels and menu item improvements. The former works just as you would expect, letting you spend tip money to buy things that make Emily faster or her customers more patient. Menu upgrades are available on a per-item basis and let you choose more profitable things with faster prep times. Aside from the main levels, every once in a while you’ll stumble across challenge stages that give you a special obstacle to overcome. Usually these are simple things like not allowing Emily to stand still for more than few seconds or forcing her to serve with a continually shrinking tray. All of the challenges are loads of fun, and even if you fail you can give it another go. Oh, and of course, there’s a mouse to find in every level. It just wouldn’t be an Emily game without that mouse.
The main draw of any Delicious Emily game is its combination of accessible gameplay and likeable characters. The storytelling stays down to earth and focuses on people and their everyday struggles. No fantastical beasts or haunted train cars, just an ordinary family struggling with ordinary things. It makes the cutscenes endearing and provides a nice interlude between stages. The only slightly disappointing part of the gameplay is that upgrades don’t carry over between themed levels, so each time you start a new location, you have to buy everything anew.
When you see the words Delicious Emily in a title, you know you’re going to have a good time. Emily’s Christmas Carol delivers on every front, continuing the tale of Emily and her family while serving up scrumptious holiday treats. Seriously, can I get a loaf of chocolate Christmas bread now?