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Chef Life: A Restaurant Simulator Review

Chef Life: A Restaurant Simulator Review

Chef Life: A Restaurant Simulator is rather self-explanatory. It’s a restaurant management chef simulator developed by Cyanide Studio and published by Nacon in partnership with the Michelin Guide. Yeah, I didn’t know this before, but as it turns out Michelin – the tyre manufacturer – are the ones who give out Michelin Stars to restaurants that offer outstanding cooking, and it's your goal in the game to earn one for your restaurant. Now, I’m far from a chef, but I have watched a lot of Masterchef Canada, and I do have a basic idea of how a kitchen runs.

After a fairly detailed character customisation screen (pronouns are always a win), you're given control of your chef. The game uses a third-person perspective, which allows you to freely move around your restaurant and kitchen. I would've liked to move a little faster, but that's just me. But I do recommend using a controller since the controls for keyboard and mouse are very awkward.

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Cooking is just a matter of getting the ingredients, heading over to a station, and then performing the associated minigame. They’re all pretty simple, requiring only a few flicks of the stick, and sometimes you go and do something else, which is really important in Chef Life: A Restaurant Simulator. Making even one serving can take a while, and to get good grades on dishes and maximise customer satisfaction, you need to be cooking multiple dishes at the same time to fill orders, and timing it right to ensure food is served fresh. You have to be using your time wisely before service starts – plan out your menu before you stock your shelves, prepare the necessary ingredients, delegate tasks, or work on new recipes. If you don’t do all of that, especially for the more complex or time-consuming recipes, it will take a very long time for everything to cook and, by then, they might have already left. It’s not easy, but it is satisfying to get an order and have it be served after only a minute. It’s why, after the tutorial, you start the day bright and early, when service isn’t until evening. You’ll need all that time, and sometimes even that’s not enough.

You can customise how your food is plated and served. While the food doesn’t reach the levels of detail found in Final Fantasy XV or that one bread scene from Yakuza: Like a Dragon, you can make some really tasty-looking dishes that look straight right out of a real restaurant. There are limitations, and you have to reach certain criteria before it can be saved, but that didn’t bother me all that much.

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However, running a fancy restaurant is impossible for just one person, so you have NPC chefs to help out. You start out with one who can only do basic tasks, but soon enough, you'll have a whole team who will clean, cook, and serve around the restaurant. It's seriously helpful in the later stages of the game when you have a lot of menu items and customers and there’s just too much to do by yourself. However, they must remain happy, which is where the Responsibility mechanic comes in, which affects how efficiently the NPCs work. Trash perfectly good food, buy cheap groceries, or treat your staff like crap, and they’ll work slower. Buying high quality ingredients, keeping the kitchen clean, and giving chefs a variety of tasks will make them work faster. It’s all about being a professional and ensuring you serve quality.

There are some accessibility options you can play with, such as turning off customer patience timers or recipe reminders of all your menu items. I liked these features as it can lead to a more relaxed, if less realistic experience. I was terrible at timing, and I didn't like the stress of screwing up service, so I turned infinite patience on and focused on making the best orders I could.

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Onto performance and technical issues. The graphics, while fine, can look grainy if you look too closely, and I did run into a few glitches. Occasionally, cut food will jitter around, and one of my servers A-posed for a day. It’s not bad — it ran at a consistent 60 FPS, I didn’t encounter any stuttering, or had anything that affected gameplay — but I expected better.

I don’t really have many gripes with the game other than repeated dialogue, a few poorly explained systems, and odd choices with game design, like being unable to clean my own restaurant and needing my staff to do it for me. Chef Life: A Restaurant Simulator is actually a really good simulator that shows the daily life of a chef while also keeping it fun. It’s not as amusing as something like Cooking Simulator, but it has more staying power that motivates you to do better and learn. Just make sure to turn off customer patience and it's a fun ride. And hey, some of those dishes available do sound pretty good right now.

7.50/10 7½

Chef Life - A Restaurant Simulator (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

Chef Life: A Restaurant Simulator is a very good simulator of what it’s like to be a professional chef, while also making it fun to play.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Dylan Pamintuan

Dylan Pamintuan

Staff Writer

Taking all of the AAA games

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