BY: DEVONTE GRIFFITHS
With all of the amazing games released in 2017, it is quite easy to ignore smaller, unique titles like this one. Battle Chef Brigade which is a beautiful game that blends puzzle solving and cooking to make a unique experience that should be exposed to as many people as possible.
The story starts with the simple premise of a young chef named Mina who runs away from home to join a cooking tournament in order to join the Iron Brigade of esteemed chefs. Despite the simple start, the plot eventually unravels to reveal numerous twists that cause the characters to evolve over the course of the story. There are also numerous optional side stories that can be unlocked through completing certain jobs. Even though the main focus is cooking, the game makes every food battle matter.
The game boasts crisp hand-drawn visuals that wear their anime influences on their sleeve. The character designs are brilliant with unique individuals covering different races in the game. Though some characters are a bit typical, there are numerous characters with unique and interesting personalities. These characters are further brought to life by the solid voice acting and dialogue that accompanies their appearances. The numerous environments and enemy designs are filled with color and personality making every new encounter different from the last.
The gameplay is where Battle Chef Brigade truly shows how unique it is. The game consists of several food battles in which you have to hunt for ingredients and make them into dishes to impress the chefs. Tension is created from the start as you have a short time limit and you have to find what creatures are ideal for what judge you have to please. The hunting sections take place in the form of a side scrolling beat ‘em up where animals must be hunted in order to yield ingredients for the crazy dishes made in the kitchen. These sections start easy with little birds and plants to collect but gradually get more difficult to the point where dragons become a normal creature to hunt.
After the hunting sections are completed, you’ll have to match the ingredients into a professional dish. This is done through a unique match 3 puzzle game similar to Bejeweled with the exception of being able to rotate every piece on the board. Each ingredient has its own assortment of colored gems that fit into the match 3 board and picking the right ones will be essential to matching a dish successfully. As the game progresses, the system gets more complicated with certain creatures having bone blocks to match, poison and cracked gems appearing to impede your progress, and new rainbow blocks appearing to spice up the gameplay systems.
With the story lasting around 8 hours and side missions adding an hour or two to that, this game is definitely worth $15. A colorful, unique and interesting world along with an inventive mixture of puzzle solving and cooking makes playing Battle Chef Brigade one of the most interesting experiences you can have. Just don’t expect to get any better at cooking by playing it.