Impressions: Cook, Serve, Delicious! for PC (Steam)

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What is it?

Cook, Serve, Delicious! is a hardcore restaurant simulation game by Vertigo Gaming, in which the player is given an old worn down restaurant located in fictional SherriSoda Tower. The goal is simple: earn stars for the restaurant and return it to its former glory as the heart of SherriSoda Tower. With some starter money and a few purchasable menu items to choose from, it is up to the player’s decisions and performance whether or not the restaurant will succeed.

Playing It

For a cooking/restaurant simulation game, Cook, Serve, Delicious! manages to bring fresh new mechanics, making gameplay dynamic as well as challenging. “Buzz” is an important element in this game as it affects the number of customers you have per day, and players will find themselves trying to manage and maintain their positive buzz percentage.

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Menu items on your active menu can affect you both positively and negatively, depending on what Boosters and Detractors they have. For example: if you have a Rainy Day Booster on your menu, your restaurant’s buzz will increase during periods of rain. If you happen to have food with the Menu Rot Detractor, those food will lose their popularity after two consecutive days of being on the menu. This creates a system in which players need to actively switch out their foods almost every day.

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Unlike most cooking games I’ve encountered, Cook, Serve, Delicious! doesn’t let players spend too much time stirring things around in pots and waiting for the right moment to tap the right button. A large majority of the food you prepare involves pressing a series of keys to slap on ingredients and then hitting the Enter key to serve. To make the game more than just a passive experience of pressing the same sequence of keys, each customer demands different ingredients on their food so players won’t be repeating the same button combinations every time a customer orders the same item. This mechanic makes for some really fast-paced thinking which becomes even more hectic when rush hour comes around and you’re serving more than 3 customers at once. Take too long preparing a dish and you might see customers leaving. Overcook a dish and you’ll see customers unsatisfied. Both of which in turn negatively affects your restaurant’s buzz for the next day. Making the right split-second time-management decisions is key to the player’s success.

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As players progress through the game and gain more stars for their restaurant, more food item slots open up on the menu, extra events get unlocked so players can earn some extra cash, and new equipment become available purchase to ease players’ difficulties in the game. Food upgrades can also be purchased to increase selling prices and earn more money, but at the same time, add more recipe combinations. If you’re looking for even more of a challenge, bets that require certain foods to be on the menu and/or require players to have a certain amount of combos for the day are available as well.

Overall

If you love simulation games and are looking for one that breaks away from the usual repetition that comes with them, Cook, Serve, Delicious! is the game for you. Not only does it present fresh, fun and challenging gameplay, but it also gives players a large amount of flexibility when it comes to choosing where to take their restaurant.

Of course, all these features mentioned here merely skim the surface of Cook, Serve, Delicious! as I’m still in the earlier stages. According to forum discussions I’ve read on Steam, more will be presented to players later in the game (e.g. the Iron Cook contest, Cook4Luv dating, etc.).

If there were really anything that I would like to be improved, I’d say it would be the management menu, which with its abundance of information can be quite daunting for beginners especially when its presentation is not as organized as I would hope. It’s still pretty decent though and is not that major of a flaw since most of the game’s fun comes from the actual cooking and serving.

If you’re interested in buying Cook, Serve, Delicious!, the game is available cross-platform directly on Steam for $9.99 or if you’d like to save a dollar, you can buy it from the Humble Store for $8.99.

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