PAX West 2017: Battle Chef Brigade Hands On
At its core, Battle Chef Brigade is a cooking sim, match three puzzle game set within a fantasy world with the likes of dragons, orcs, and elves. While a match three puzzle game sounds relatively simple, I can assure you that the game is deeper than you might think. Much like cooking in real life, the simplest of recipes still require ingredients, while complex dishes require much more. Besides the match three cooking portion of the game, Battle Chef Brigade features a side scrolling battle portion to collect ingredients as well as some RPG elements. I went hands on with Battle Chef Brigade with moderate expectations, and the game was more than I had hoped for.
Starting off with the battle system, I did not anticipate it to be much more than a simple beat-em-up style system. In fact, the battle system was more intricate than I thought, and I found myself to be picking up on the controls quite easily as well. In combat, the player is to hunt monsters of various types and sizes in order to procure ingredients. The kicker is that different monsters produce different elements within their ingredients. For example, a judge may ask for a dish with greater fire elements, and thus the player should opt to hunt monsters that drop fire element ingredients.
When the player has their ingredients, they bring them back to their cooking station(s) and throw their intended ingredients into the dish. With the ingredients now being cooked together, the player can rotate the ingredients clockwise or counter-clockwise in a 2 x 2 square, matching ingredients into sets of three. As the ingredient elements match, the player’s point totals go up, until time begins running out and the player is to bring their dish to the judges. As you can tell, there is also a timed element within the game, forcing players to have to choose between fighting tougher targets for more valuable ingredients or fighting smaller enemies to get many ingredients. Submitting a dish late will also result in a deduction of points.
If you are still feeling like the game is too simple, players have the option to specialize their cooking styles in order to earn even more points. For example, players can choose to specialize in cooking vegetarian dishes or to specialize as a chef that cooks quickly. In these examples, players would earn more points by only using non-meat ingredients or by submitting a dish in half the time frame, respectively. While the simple nature of the game is suitable for players of all ages, players looking for challenges have that option as well.
You might ask, what good is having more points? Well, in addition to winning matches within the campaign(s), there are other modes within the game as well. Specifically, the daily challenge leaderboards provide challenges where your score determines where you end up, in addition to “Puzzle Rush” and “Break the Targets” modes also being available.
“Though the game is often compared to some other existing works of fiction, I can assure you that Battle Chef Brigade feels unique and alive in its own medium.”
The gameplay of Battle Chef Brigade is clearly light-hearted and fun, and the art style reflects that as well. Bright, hand drawn animated characters and monsters work exceptionally well within the setting. As the title is published by Adult Swim Games, it would not be farfetched to hope that this title receives its own show at some point. Though the game is often compared to some other existing works of fiction, I can assure you that Battle Chef Brigade feels unique and alive in its own medium.
Overall, I had a blast with Battle Chef Brigade at PAX West 2017, despite having some issues with remembering the button map for the Nintendo Switch. With an aesthetic that oozes a television cartoon experience as well as simple, yet deep if you want it to be, gameplay elements. Releasing on PC, PS4, and the Nintendo Switch, Battle Chef Brigade is looking delicious!