I love indies that provide something unique and Epic Chef is quite a clever game that'll have you cooking and farming for days.
I didn't quite know what to expect before playing Epic Chef but it seemed like a charming little adventure so I decided to check it out. Now that I have, I must say that it's quite a cool game. You play as Zest who lives on the outskirts of Ambrosia. The gameplay involves completing quests which are both story-driven and optional and thankfully, the NPCs are delightful which makes accomplishing tasks for them a treat. For example, you'll meet a carpenter named Jesus and my favourite NPCs are an old couple that you can sit in rocking chairs with which I thought was hilarious for some reason. In fact, nearly everything about Epic Chef is full of charm and good humour. Heck, even turning your cows into meat is hilarious as the slaughterhouse is disguised to look all fun with rainbows and stuff on it. 🌈 v1d30chumz 3-235-176-80
The side-quests themselves involve simple tasks like retrieving items for folks and sometimes, you'll have to cook meals with specific traits which isn't too difficult. The fact that everything is so simple makes Epic Chef a rather laidback game but I still had fun completing its many objectives regardless. Perhaps if it wasn't so funny and charming, I would have become more bored with such feats.
Outside of quests, you'll tend to your land and cook meals. The former involves growing vegetables and trees as well as erecting structures that have specific uses such as a windmill that can turn vegetables into seeds and a saw that can transform wood into building materials. My favourite contraption is the sauce maker which allows you to develop sauces that can give you a substantial advantage in the cooking battles by thwarting your opponent or giving yourself a boost. Anyway, the pace at which these elements expand and become more plentiful is steady so I found myself constantly building and creating new things. It's rewarding stuff for sure. 😊
Now that I mention the cooking battles, these are the most exciting part of Epic Chef's gameplay. You basically try to please a judge who may have specific tastes that you can actually alter with sauces. So, it's up to you to cook meals that will maximize your score and foil your opponent's. Doing so involves an impressive amount of strategy that I didn't quite understand at first but after it clicked, I appreciated how much thought could be put into each battle. That being said, I found that a lot of the battles required me to memorize how it naturally plays out before I could win it thus forcing me to retry at least once in order to claim victory. I wish everything was made more intuitive so you could use certain information to your advantage instead of having to re-play battles while piecing things together.
There are some other frustrating aspects of Epic Chef that took away from the overall experience. For starters, many events have windows of time tied to them as stores close, NPCs show up and go away, and you can only go to sleep after a certain hour. I found this super-irritating, especially while walking up to an NPC, having the hour change, then watching them dissipate into thin air. I guess I'll try to get to them tomorrow... There are other areas that could use streamlining, too, such as how there's no useful map, the tutorials don't tell you everything, and being able to progress can sometimes be confusing. It's still fun but I hope these issues are ironed out.
Although it's genuinely rewarding and unique, Epic Chef can sometimes be an annoying game to play for various reasons. With that said, the core gameplay loop is handled so well that I'm looking forward to a sequel which will hopefully address its issues.
- + Rewarding farming and cooking gameplay that fleshes out at a steady pace
- + Great sense of humour throughout
- + Enjoyable side-quests and NPCs
- - Cooking competitions often require multiple attempts after memorization
- - Time-based events are irritating
- - Could use more streamlined mechanics