If you are a fan of turn-based RPGs and cosy titles that make you feel good, I have a sweet treat for you! BattleCakes is an adorable story-driven title that has you playing as a cupcake named Birthday Sprinkle. If you aren’t a fan of the name, no problem, you can change that, along with the colour of your wrapper and your frosting — which is your hairstyle. Choose the colour of your icing and the style between a frosting mohawk, braids, curls, or even go frostingless. Make this sweet pastry exactly how you like.
When you wake up in your room in the town of Vanilla Hill, we learn that our hero, Birthday Sprinkle, is the town caretaker, and they take the job very seriously. The first thing they do is write up a Quest Ticket for your first task that has you checking on your fellow villagers to make sure that everything is in order and they are happy. This little cupcake is so sweet and helpful; it’s so enjoyable to play as such a wholesome character.
This game screams kawaii: everything that you interact with is super cute and based on some kind of sweet treat. Even the in-game currency is brightly coloured jelly beans! The in-game visuals look like they are hand-drawn with a pastel colour palette. Even the “bad guys” that you encounter are cute-looking. The unique thing about this title is that you have the option to try to befriend your opponent instead of battling them by singing songs or telling a story. I can’t think of any other RPGs where I had the choice to do this. Either method you select will get you XP to level up your party and items to use on your journey. BattleCakes can really be a sweet and innocent title for players who want to follow that path. Though this choose-your-own-adventure-style game also allows you to do something totally different and smash the treats that get in your way.
The music, like the game, is very charming and whimsical. I especially enjoy how the music that played during a battle was upbeat but not overpowering. The soundtracks fit the story and feel of BattleCakes very well, even though it wasn’t as memorable as something like the Final Fantasy VI soundtrack. There is no voice acting here, so be prepared to do a bit of reading while you explore the sugary lands of Vanilla Hill and the surrounding area.
During your journey, different characters will join and leave your party. It adds some variety as each team member has their own stats and abilities. If you choose to attack in battle, you will get to see moves like Red Velvet’s Berry Blast or Midnite Truffle’s Glitter Beamz. There is also the option to equip each of the members with Toppers that you find around the world. Gnorney is a little gnome topper who adds +2 to your defence and watches your back. These not only improve your stats, but they look super cute on the top of your cupcake characters!
Weird things are going on around the world of Pasteleria, as the once peaceful creatures have become destructive, overwhelming all the region's Town Guards. This isn’t the first time this has happened, though. Years ago, this occurred in an event called the Great Frosting Fracas. If this were to happen again, Pasteleria would not survive as they don’t have the BattleCake team that saved them the first time. Midnite Truffle, a royal scribe for King Feliz, has come to the village searching for Taffeta — who happens to be the mayor of the town. She was a warrior in the first Fracas, saving the lands from the evil forces of destruction. Taffeta doesn’t want to abandon her position, so instead, she sends Birthday Sprinkle in her place and Red Velvet to accompany him to Butterworth Heights to reform the BattleCakes. Taffeta gives you a frosting blade called the Frostbite that can cut through the sturdiest pastry that gets in your way.
I am having a great time playing BattleCakes. The over-the-top sweet theme is so cosy and wholesome. Plus, it is also good for younger players to teach them how turn-based RPGs work with a cast of adorable characters. When befriending an enemy is just as effective as fighting them, then why choose violence? Like other cosy titles, there is also fishing and crafting to do to add to the gameplay if you want more variety in your RPG. The game is currently in Early Access, but at this point, I feel like it is ready to be released into the world, and I can’t wait to play more and see what other people think of this adorable title.