Cursed old house
A guy with a speaking name Smak arrives by ship in the port of the city of Ambrosia. The captain throws him overboard without saying goodbye and leaving no means of subsistence, but Smak has a trump card – a certificate of ownership of a local villa. Having received a residence permit, Smak goes to a new house and on the way listens to stories that the villa is cursed – it is haunted, and all the people who lived there have fled or even died.
Something strange is really going on there: terrible screams are heard at night, and the land around the villa is unusually fertile – whatever you plant there, everything will grow in a matter of hours. For Smak, this becomes an excuse to get into cooking, but that’s only part of the story. Then – black magic, desecration of graves and conversations with a ghost that crawled out of the portrait, and Smak will eventually become the owner of a local restaurant and even go to explore the surroundings of the town.
Not only people live in Ambrosia – there are orcs and elves.
For the sake of a strange story in which everything is mixed in a row, I want to continue the passage. First of all, dialogues are good, filled with funny jokes, which are well translated into Russian (albeit with typos). Stimulates interest and primitive, but funny visual style – the way the characters change facial expressions in different situations, does not cease to cause a smile.
But the gameplay in Epic Chef is often enjoyable. The cooking process, which at first seems confusing, was especially successful. Each ingredient in the game has three parameters: vigor, airiness and refinement. This applies to both banal potatoes with carrots, and strange and exotic specimens created using magic. If you wish, you can put anything in the pan, even pieces of wood and rats collected in the port – Smak will make everything edible.
That’s how they cook here.
Most ingredients have synergy bonuses that increase the parameters listed above. Something becomes more subtle when put into an empty pan. Something will give a big boost to airiness if added to a plant or animal. When creating a dish, you can’t use more than three ingredients, so you can’t invent long combinations – you have to achieve the best result with minimal means. The game tells you if there is an opportunity to activate the synergy, but sometimes the advice has to be ignored.
It is desirable to prepare dishes with the highest rates. Sometimes the plot requires you to bring someone food with a specified amount of vigor or finesse. A mount that looks like an ostrich wants to eat over time – the higher the sum of the parameters of the dish, the more energy the eaten food restores. Yes, and the pumping of the character occurs through the use of food created by him. For various actions, you get points multipliers, fill up the experience bar and unlock new synergies locked at low levels.
In cooking matches, judges can cut a lot of points if they don’t like the ingredients.
The toughest challenges will be culinary duels, where you compete in skill with your opponent, and the judges issue a verdict. The jury has preferences – either they will give points for a certain ingredient, or they will multiply points for some parameter. Sometimes bonuses are given to both participants, and sometimes only to the first rated one. In order for your dish to be tasted first, you need to make it fragrant during the cooking process, without stirring the ingredients immediately after adding them.
With so many subtleties, the game is captivating. Over time, you gain access to new tools and buildings that allow you to extract new ingredients and find new combinations. With a fishing rod, you can fish using different baits and find new marine life. The Sauce Workshop is a source of condiments that provide stat bonuses. They do not count as ingredients, but only one sauce can be added to a dish. Some of them even force the judges to change preferences in your favor. In the mixer, you create unusual ones from simple plants, the characteristics of which are noticeably higher than those of ordinary vegetables. Etc.
The cows here are… peculiar.
Raw but tasty
All this is successfully combined with a simple farming simulator (digging beds, planting seeds, placing buildings, and so on), a quest with running around the city and beyond, and later with a simple restaurant owner simulator. It is necessary to fill the menu with the best dishes, read the complaint book, respond to customer reviews and arrange furniture and decorations in the main hall.
The current progression system is enough to keep the game fun and interesting, but you have to put up with the clumsiness of some of its elements. I have not encountered critical bugs, but there are enough shortcomings. Inventory, for example, is small – if you have a habit of harvesting as soon as it grows, it is better to get rid of it here. You can only save at home.