Bistro Boulevard would be well-suited to Facebook
Bistro Boulevard strives to combing time management gameplay with some of the typical features of social games as players are tasked with reviving a once famous boulevard of 5-star restaurants that now sits abandoned and gloomy.
The game features an infinite number of levels in theory spread over six different restaurants, but most players will probably need 12 levels per restaurant to finish the game. A level is equal to a day, and you can replay every restaurant as often as you want to, although it loses some zest when you have purchased and improved every possible feature. The story is pretty much non-existent, it’s the same old “lead a shop/family business/etc to former glory” and most players will probably skip through it.
Basically Bistro Boulevard can easily be compared to Shop-it-Up in that it creates a feeling of leveling up and features a graphical setting that resembles some of the top social games. Over the course of the game you will visit and manage restaurants offering various cuisines including American, Chinese and Mexican. At the start of each day you are able to decorate the walls and floors of your current restaurant, hire or train staff, learn new recipes, add tables or better equipment, and create today’s menu. The actual preparation of each day takes generally longer than the regular level, and surprisingly turns out to be the heart of the game.
During levels of Bistro Boulevard there is not much else to do than to seat groups of visitors of varying numbers to tables and watching your staff taking care of them. Waiters will take orders, deliver meals, and clean tables, and the chefs in the kitchen prepare those meals. While this happens you can see your account grow, but salaries and rent will be deducted from your income at the end of each day. Unfortunately there are no different types of visitors, but since you can’t influence anything during the day it does not matter that much. A visitor’s patience depends on how beautiful the restaurant is decorated, and visitors may leave if they have to wait too long to be seated or served, but this rare seems to happen anyway.
The best feature of the game is undoubtedly guessing recipes. Each recipe contains three ingredients, and while it is pretty easy to guess them just by the name of each recipe for the first three restaurants, it gets more challenging later on if you don’t know foreign cuisine very well. You may use a limited amount of hints, but each time you try out a combination of ingredients money will be deducted from your account, so you should guess carefully. Moreover there are a lot of options before each day. The number of decorative items is impressive, you can improve stoves, grills, and counters to speed up the cooking, and you can train the skills of chefs (to improve the meal’s quality) and waiters (to increase tips).
Apart from that you also have tasks to fulfill, such as seating a certain number of parties, buying specific decorative items, or earning $4,000 in one day. If you fulfill each task you will earn one star for the restaurant, and this also describes your goal to win the game – earning five stars for each restaurant. To earn more stars a restaurant needs all possible employees, have one or two perfect days, discover all recipes, and reach a specific level of decor. Unfortunately this remains the same for each restaurant, and even the smaller tasks do not really vary.
Aside from recipes, each restaurant feels pretty much the same, and simply discovering recipes is not enough to keep the game feeling fresh. Players used to time management gameplay of previous Fugazo titles like Farmer’s Market or Kitchen Brigade might chafe at the fact that there isn’t much to do while your staff takes care of everything.
When all is said and done, Bistro Boulevard mainly consists of watching the restaurant during busy days and spending the money afterwards. It would be perfectly suited to Facebook, but as a download game it doesn’t meet expectations or offer the kind of challenge that players are used to. The variety of recipes and objects, a decent playing time, and numerous customization options are worth downloading the demo at the very least to see if the gameplay is to your tastes. If you like the mechanics of restaurant sims on Facebook and perhaps want to avoid the hectic gameplay pressure of time management games you can easily add a star to our rating.