Coming from someone who enjoys cooking in real life, I am always skeptical how cooking videogames will translate. I often wonder how a developer will create the intimacies and intricacies of cooking and render it into a stimulating gameplay experience. Within the first level of Automachef, you soon learn this is not preparing dinner for two on a casual Wednesday night.
Automachef imagines the culinary experience through automated kitchens, equipped with a boundless myriad of conveyor belts and robotic arms. Within these kitchen spaces, users must satisfy the appetites of hungry patrons entering the establishment by preparing the factory to churn out the appropriate portions and ingredients correctly to feed the masses. Often pressed for time, the majority of gameplay is utilized towards toying and preserving the integrity of the factory machinery to run at maximum potential. It goes beyond just the finished product appearing on the table of a customer. The proficiency of the process is just as vital.
At first, I was cynical due to how shallow the gameplay seemed. The design of the levels is largely identical. Each level possesses limitations on electricity usage, time allotted, available workspace, and money meant to prevent you from accomplishing the task. These obstacles provide a steady test. However, the screen layout was well put together, as objectives, parts, and blueprints are easily navigated through.
Upon a deeper dive, I was pleasantly surprised at the length of the game and just how challenging it was. The food angle aside, the foundation of Automachef is truly in the challenge of taking logistical snags and imaging solutions that are a handful of manageable tasks, versus one huge issue. There were some levels that were simple to complete, but other levels I found myself battling and sweating through an hour of gameplay to achieve the goals. The most pressing challenge was balancing the electricity usage, as I often failed due to going over the fixed energy threshold. When having to consistently blueprint machine placements and ensuring all the assembly lines work in harmony, and then guaranteeing all the tech doesn’t crap out from electrical output, it was quite the test.
In order to play Automachef, especially the later levels, it requires complete concentration. There cannot be distractions when engaging. Every time I was interrupted, I screwed something up, which makes or breaks completing a level. It is the opposite of having a drink after a hard day at work and relaxing. If you want your brain to continue whirring, this game is a puzzle solving food voyage you should endeavor on.
Automachef (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Overall involvement of the game is enjoyable and entertaining. It will test even the best of gamers, as balance is key. It gets docked points for its faults that cannot be ignored, also for its lack of bypass ability when getting stuck on levels. Worth sampling, especially if the food industry interests you.