App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Kairosoft makes a game. Lots of people, including myself, buy it on blind faith. It doesn’t disappoint. This is a common scenario with each of their releases, and it’s no different now that the mobile sim superstars have gone into the restaurant business.
Cafeteria Nipponica is a Kairosoft game, first and foremost. That means quirky humor, goofy characters, and absolutely no emphasis on any form of “dashing.” Players choose a menu (Japanese, Western, Chinese, etc), develop new dishes, upgrade current ones, hire new and better employees, renovate and expand their eatery, build more restaurants in new areas, and hopefully rake in the profits.
While there are plenty of trademark Kairosoft details to be found in Cafeteria Nipponica, it’s still a distinct addition to the library. Being a game about foodservice it emphasizes a lot of typically low-key concepts such as creating a menu that attracts more customers, supplying enough seating and staff to meet demand, and so on. A number of aspects can be adjusted and upgraded along the way to culinary superiority, and while balancing spending on things like beneficial projects or purchasing new ingredients can be difficult at times, there’s always something to mess with. Seeing the results displayed in an end of the month graph accompanied by rather large numbers is also incredibly pleasing.
Although as satisfying as all these tasks can be, it often seems like they become available a tad too soon. One early example appears shortly after getting the first restaurant up and running when the game’s advisor recommends opening a new location, a project that costs $8,000. At that point in my playthrough, I had around $6,000. Keep in mind it takes a while to build up that much cash, especially early on. Adjusting certain things can also be something of a chore thanks to the menu layout. Switching around employees is relatively simple but swapping furniture from one location to another requires tapping on the fixture, storing it in the warehouse, switching to the new location, tapping on the intended spot, and then placing the stored item. It’s not too terribly bad, but it seems unnecessarily involved.
Not surprisingly, Cafeteria Nipponica is yet another quality sim from Kairosoft. Its emphasis on slow-burn cash earning creates a different pace than the titles fans might be more accustomed to, but it’s every bit as addictive and charming. So yeah, go ahead and throw another Kairosoft game into the pile.