I am addicted to time management games. Ironically, the games usually feature chores and tasks that, were I better managing my real time, I would be completing in real life: cooking, cleaning, etc.
One of my latest addictions (there are currently three taking up my time and space on my iPad) is Star Chef. Your goal is to build the best restaurant in town by expanding your menu and establishment.
As you serve your customers, you gain XP points and coins, and you unlock new decorations for your restaurant, kitchen, and garden. You also unlock new cooking stations (BBQ grill, smoothie station, salad station, etc.) used to perfect new recipes.
Unlike most cooking games, there are no time limits on serving your guests in Star Chef. Good thing, that – some of the meals take hours to prepare and it’s helpful that your guests aren’t losing patience and walking out. The downside is that it can really slow down the game and make it less enjoyable. I have nine tables in my restaurant and there have been times when each table has requested a dish that will take 2+ hours to prepare. Once I’ve done that and served all the tables, new diners arrive and they also want meals that take hours to make. There really needs to be a middle ground so that you’re not spending all of your time glued to the game, but you’re also not checking in every three hours or so for very little gain.
There’s a food truck that arrives every ten minutes and it sells random prepared meals and ingredients. This is a quick way to stock up on time consuming meals in bulk, but it’s also a fast way to deplete your coins – which you will need to pay for the obscenely expensive cooking stations and land expansions.
Still, there’s a lot to love in Star Chef. First, it’s gorgeous. The dishes and people are rendered beautifully, with lots of care and details. Having to shop for the ingredients (or grow them in your own garden behind your restaurant) adds another level of play and difficulty to the game. Also, visiting your friends’ restaurants provides an opportunity to buy prepared dishes for cheap, and you can make a little extra money by selling your own meals.
The developer made some curious choices when it comes to what the diners do while waiting for their food. Men inexplicably raise the roof and sit back looking extremely satisfied for people who’ve not yet received their food. Kids stay glued to handheld games or tablets. And the women chat on the phone and reapply their makeup. Of course. *eye-roll*
It’s also funny that people will order an entire bowl of jellybeans while others at their table eat salads, soups, and entrees.
Overall, it’s an enjoyable time suck of a game. I just hope they consider scaling back the time it takes to prepare the dishes, or at the very least, give players something else to do while they wait. Also, another suggestion:
If it’s going to take this damn long to bake one cake, can you at least let me serve it by the slice?
Star Chef = 7.5/10