Game Review of Battle Chef Brigade
What is Battle Chef Brigade?
While at first glance "Battle Chef Brigade" may look like a normal match 3 games, it is much deeper. The backstory of the game is 100 (or so) years ago monsters that were being hunted to be cooked evolved and became the dominant species. But then, the Battle Chef Brigade arose and defeated the monsters. Because they were so powerful EVOLUTION WENT BACKWARDS and the monsters returned to how they were before. Now the battle chef brigade defends the land from monsters (that aren't really a huge threat) and makes delicious food with the ingredients they get from protecting the land. Now, a festival is held every year to determine who will join their ranks. Yeah...So as much as I love this game, the backstory has quite a few holes. Such as "How did the monsters devolve" or "Why does a member of the battle chef brigade NEED TO BE A GOOD CHEF?". Also, did you notice how I said land twice instead of continent or country? Well, that's because we have no idea how big this "land" is. Anyway plot holes aside, you play as mina. A 21-year-old girl (No there is no option for a boy character because PLOT!) who works at her family's restaurant, but dreams of becoming a member of the Battle Chef Brigade. (Fun game! Count how many times I write Battle Chef Brigade!)
The first dish you can cook in the game.
Gameplay phases. (phase 1)
Where this game misses in the backstory, it makes up for in sheer fun and current storytelling. See unlike most cooking games, you don't need to learn recipes to make them. In fact, the recipes really don't matter at all. You could throw some ribs and berries into the same pot then add 3 different sauces, and the judges would still love it (and it would still look amazing). And while others may dislike this style of gameplay, I feel like its what makes the game amazing. But more on the cooking later. The game consists of 3 phases of the day for most of the game. The morning phase, where you can do jobs to earn money and buy new equipment, has very little variety. There are 3 ways you can earn money. The first way is to match the gems in a dish in such a way that they reach a certain level. While it does get more challenging as the game goes on, it feels a bit dull. Next is the hunting job. Pretty straightforward. Kill the monsters and sometimes try to hit targets. While on the subject of hunting, let's talk about the fighting mechanics of the game. The way it works is you have 2 ways of attacking an enemy. Option 1 is a melee attack, and option 2 is a magic attack. In the game, you have 2 magic attacks when you play as Mina. (who you play as for most of the game and is the main character. Because of how late in the game you change characters I'm not going to include the other playable characters) The first is just throwing a dagger and the second (which is way more magical) is a whirlwind attack that will damage enemies in a stationary cone for a small amount of time. The melee attacks, on the other hand, are nothing special. Just your standard stab and punch with its direction variants. Overall, the combat is a bit tedious at times when facing enemies with high health but overall is okay. Now, on to the 3'rd and (in my humble opinion) best job in the morning phase...DRUMROLL PLEASE...line cook. The line cook job is simple, match taste gems (Taste gems are the things you match up) in a certain pattern. The reason I like this so much is that when you go so fast and do 5 dishes in 3 seconds you feel so good! Also, this is the only job where you can earn more than 25 coins per day. You also have the choice to practice before you start your match of the day. Once you're done with your jobs, or you decide you are ready to go, you can challenge a battle chef to a duel. This is the beginning of phase 2.
Phase 2. Battle phase
In this phase of the day, you start the actual cooking. This is how a duel goes down.
1. The 2 duelling chefs are introduced.
2. The theme is announced. (The theme is an ingredient or set of ingredients from a certain animal or tree/bush. The theme ingredient(s) must be in the dish or you will lose points
3. the judge or judges preferred flavours are announced. (The flavours are earth, water, and fire. Represented by green, blue, and red taste gems respectively. While the judges preferred flavours are not necessary, they will game you 50 extra points if you match it. Their preferred flavours can be one, 2, or all of the aforementioned flavours.)
4. Match begins.
After the match begins you'll want to gather ingredients. During my playthrough, I made sure that I always got the theme ingredient first, then get everything else. If you forget the theme ingredient, you are forfeit most of your points. After you gather ingredients you add them into a pot and when you add them their taste gem make up appears on a 4X4 grid. After putting ingredients in you can "stir" the taste gems to match them up in a line of 3. when you line up 3 taste gems, they upgrade to a higher level. The highest level is level 3. The taste gem type that has the most level 3 taste gems will be the main flavour of the dish. For example, if there are 2 level 3 water gems and 1 level 3 earth gem, the dish's flavour would be water. But if there is a tied number of level 3 flavour gems, it becomes both types. For every gem you have you get points. You get more points by upgrading the gems to higher levels. When making your dish, you'll want to get as many level 3 taste gems as possible, while still have the requested flavour, to maximize points. There is a time limit, but if you finish all your dishes before time runs out, you can end it early and the judging will begin. During judging there is 1 way to gain points and 3 ways to lose points. The 3 ways you can lose points are,
1. not having one or more of the theme ingredient(s) (-half your points)
2. having poison in your dish (-20 points)
3. Putting you dish in late (-10 points)
The way you can earn points is by matching the judge's flavour which adds 50 points to your score. If you lose then you need to have a rematch. When you win, you get an item that corresponds to the character you faced. Different items give you different boosts. Now that you've won your duel its time for the final phase of the day.
What judging looks like.
Phase 3 - Night phase
After the duelling is done and you come back to town, it is now night time and you have a few things you can do. You can finish up any jobs that you didn't in the morning, or you can talk to some of the other competitors. You can only challenge 1 chef per day so once you're done for the day, you go to bed and then rinse and repeat the next day.
Despite the slightly repetitive mechanics, this game does an amazing job at telling an evolving story. The game makes you care about characters after they leave the spotlight and not many games can do that. My favorite part of the game is when chapter 4 starts and the game just gets that much harder. Because of a development in the plot of the story, the monsters have a chance to be more aggressive and have damaged taste gems, and possibly poison. You must be very careful about how you stir now because if you aren't the consequences could cost you the duel. Also, the final 3 opponents are named Knife Spoon and Fork and that just gave me a chuckle Overall this game is one of my favorites and is extremely lighthearted for being published by adult swim games. For all of these reasons, I give this game a 9/10.