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PAX: Cuisineer is a restaurant management simulation game




The game of Cuisineer is enticing. It seems to be a simple combination of two great genres at first glance: store management sim and dungeon exploration action role-playing game. These two ideas are fantastic separately, and they complement one another very well in Cuisineer.

I was able to get my hands on Cuisineer, a work in progress from BattleBrew Productions, at PAX East 2023. This wasn’t my first time trying out the game; in 2022, I visited the developers’ booth at East to try out their restaurant manager/dungeon crawler hybrid. They performed this year as XSEED, and they looked more professional than ever.

Simply a girl from the country
The basic premise is that you play the role of Pom, a diminutive hero who takes over the family restaurant after it has fallen on hard times. You’ll need to venture into hostile territory equipped with a wide array of makeshift weaponry in order to gather the fresh ingredients you’ll use to prepare meals for your paying customers.
Talking to citizens in town can net you upgrades for your storefront or useful items to bring with you into the dungeons. A new table could accommodate more customers during lunchtime, but boba tea would be more useful in a dungeon. Even though I just have a sketchy idea of how everything fits together, I really enjoy living in this peaceful and upbeat little town. A few times I got stuck trying to figure out where to go next on quests, but I’m hoping that wasn’t a reflection of the complete game and rather a bug in the demo.

I was able to spend some time getting my restaurant ready after picking up some supplies. To get things rolling, there was a cooking pot and several chairs. At the convention, I had the opportunity to speak with CEO Shawn Toh, who informed me that the final product would provide further customization possibilities for the restaurant. At least there was seating available for my customers for the time being.

After things was taken care of, I had to make my way down to the dungeon to retrieve some materials. At this point, the action role-playing game structure began to take shape. I could dash, and my strikes varied based on the weapons I was using. If I didn’t want to go in close, I could use my spatula or pan as close-range weaponry, or I could throw plates for some ranged strikes.

Initially, the levels were easy to complete. They provided a variety of spike traps and enemies that were simple to dispatch individually but could quickly become overwhelming in large numbers. Over time, they started including more risky maneuvers like charging and fire breathing. Killing deadly foes is a certain way to acquire tasty treats for the kitchen. Everything is a give and take.

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