Game Review by Debbie Winkler
Chuchili is nervous when she goes to visit the tribe’s shaman and learn her fate: to become the tribe’s new cook! Save the tribe from hunger and save them from fighting with each other by serving up great food, breaking up fights, and pairing up couples on dates. Serve crisp salads, fresh chicken eggs, delicious grilled meats, savory soups and more as everyone in the tribe shows up at Chuchili’s new restaurant!
You play the part of Chuchili as she hustles as fast as she can to serve her fellow tribesmen. The game operates on a simple point-and-click interface like most time-management games. Grab a person when they walk in the gate and drag them to a stool. Wait while they decide what to order. Once they have decided, their selection will pop up in a bubble above their head. You begin the game with one soup pot, one salad plate and one grill. As you progress through the game, you can upgrade the quantity and the speed on your equipment. Later levels will offer you the opportunity to use new equipment like a meat grinder, a honey pot, a blender and more. You will need to boil the soup, grill the meat, prepare the salad, etc. If you are cooking something, a little bar will pop up next to your pot or grill that will show you when the food is cooked and ready to serve. Click on the completed dish and click on the customer to serve it. Wait for them to eat the dish and then grab the money so they will leave. Then you pick up the dirty dishes and take them to Fred, the all-you-can-eat houseplant who operates as your trash can. Grab the next customer and keep on cooking!
The theming of the game was the best part for me. You have an iguana who makes your salads for you by whipping lettuce and other ingredients with his tail. A hamster operates a grindstone that turns your steak into a pile of ground beef. A monkey shakes up bananas to make milkshakes. Tribal warriors will pull out their clubs and fight if they are placed on stools next to each other and have to wait too long for food to be served. Other than that, this game is just like all time-management food games. You want to try to match the color on the stools that the customers sit on to the color of their shirts so you can get bonus points and boost the customer’s happiness. Customers lose hearts as they wait for a stool and/or wait for food to be served. Couples and groups that enter your restaurant all have to be seated at the same time and have to sit next to each other for you to seat them. Each level contains a passing goal and an expert goal. Any money that you earn can be spent on upgrades. Upgrades will allow you to cook faster, keep your customer more patient and help you serve more rapidly.
There are a few tips and tricks that will help you attain the expert goal from the first level. You must match customers to the colors on the stools to get the expert goal. Not only will your customers get a boost in hearts (maximum of five per customer), but you will get a money bonus for each customer that you seat on a stool that has a set color. This usually means that you have to seat people in a different order than they arrive in and there are times that your customers will be down to their last heart by the time you seat them, but the color boosts are well worth it! If a customer orders two items, you must serve them together. The customer will not accept one plate and then the next afterwards. If you pick up two items that one customer has ordered, they will automatically morph into one platter so that you know they are intended for that customer. If you have several customers who ordered the same thing, be careful what you pick up and when so that you can serve customers in the order that you want. You can prep salads, eggs, banana shakes, ground meat and a few other things ahead of time so they are ready when your customer orders them. If you grill meat or heat up soup, the item will keep cooking and will eventually burn so that you cannot serve it so these items have to be made fresh to order. After several game levels, you can purchase a stove upgrade that will keep this food warm for you – but you must remember to take it off the grill/out of the pot and place it on the stove for this to work! If you have food prepped to serve immediately as the customers sit down, you will definitely make more money and will be able to crank through more customers in the set amount of time that you have. There is no penalty for throwing food away if you make it by mistake so don’t worry about cooking ahead if you need to.
I liked the pacing of the game and felt that the new items and upgrades rolled out at a nice, even pace so that I did not get bored. The game creators mix things up by having stools disappear and limiting the number of seats you have while increasing the numbers of customer colors to make it more challenging to get the color boosts and bonuses. I recommend buying the musician, who will give everyone in the restaurant a boost (those waiting and those eating), so you can pull customers in the order that you want them. The upgrades were very helpful in this game, but it takes a while to earn the money that you need to purchase the really good upgrades. You will begin with decorations, which offer a little bit of help, but you have to wait a while to buy a second pot and grill or to buy the move faster upgrade for your character. The wait is worth it, though, as the upgrades were really helpful! I found that it was easy to purchase all of the upgrades if I played for the expert level each time. The tutorials and hints were pretty helpful and they will give you most of the information that you need to make everything. A simple thing that the designers included that I appreciated was a “try again” button on the menu. If you blow a level or just want to start over so you can get the expert level without finishing the first go round, just click on this button and you get to begin again. It erases your upgrade purchases so you can change your mind on that, too! This is a small thing, but, for those of us who play a lot of time-management games, this is critical to happiness!
I had a few complaints about the game that interrupted my enjoyment of the game and that you need to be careful of. One of them is that the game is pretty sensitive in where you click. You have to be right on what you want to get it and it is easy to click slightly above or below the item, leaving you empty-handed. This can be especially frustrating while you are trying to clear dirty plates. You have to pick up the money with one click and then pick up the dirty plates with another click. I always chain actions like these however, so I would pick up the money and then go back to pick up the plates. The tricky part is that you need to click on the leaf place mat to pick up the dirty plate – not the dirty plate itself, which is slightly above the place mat. I also had a difficult time grabbing customers in line that were not first. Keep fighting your way through and take those extra seconds to get it right, just be aware that you could be missing out on a click by mistake and have to go back and correct yourself. Sometimes there were a lot of instructions and information all in a row so pay careful attention as to what is being relayed to you as not all of the instructions are intuitive. For example, to make ground beef, you have to grab a steak, click on the hamster-driven grind wheel, wait for him to run and then the patties will spit out at the end. They never tell you this, but each steak will split into two different beef patties. Grab one and click on the grill then wait for it to cook like normal. If I did not take the time to carefully read the directions before this item was placed on the menu, you would really have a difficult time figuring it out for yourself so be careful and read everything!
Ultimately, this game is a fun one and I enjoyed myself quite a bit while playing it. The theming and relative ease of game play make this is a slightly different, yet familiar time-management game that I feel I could turn to for a few hours of enjoyment. I played this game through on the normal level, but they also offer an easy mode and an expert mode so the game could be fun for a wide range of players with different ages and gaming skills. If you do not play a lot of time-management games, take the time to play the slow mode first and see how you do. You can change the mode at any time and do not have to start the game over so you have nothing to lose! If you enjoy time-management games, check this one out – it is definitely something that you will lose a lot of time to!
This game is appropriate for viewers of all ages. The characters are covered pretty well, but the female characters wear a two-piece outfit with a crop-top tank top or bandeau top and a short skirt. The warriors of the tribe break into fights every once in a while, but it is just a big blob of dust where they are fighting – click on it and they stop fighting so there is never any blood or actual fighting shown. There is a lot of reading to follow the instructions for the game so younger players will need someone to help them or be able to read well enough to understand. Recommended for ages 8 and up.