“My granddad was the best cook” is a sentence that neither my cousins nor I would never have been heard saying, but that is exactly how World Chef begins. His legendary skills in the kitchen awakened in your character a passion for the craft, and now you intend to honor is legacy by rebuilding his restaurant and becoming very best.
A two course meal
World Chef does a good job blending its gameplay styles. The primary goal of building a restaurant empire that includes onsite bakers, grill chefs, entertainment, swimming pools, and even helipads, is handled like any free-to-play town building game - think Clash of Clans or SimCity BuildIt.
This is complimented by the moment-to-moment action of serving customers, which plays like a simplified version of other cooking games like Order Up!!
It’s a combination that works well at getting you onboard with the action. Serving customers requires micromanagement to collect the various parts of each dish - with things becoming increasingly more complex as the game progresses. The faster you can serve them their order, the more customers you can get visiting your restaurant.
The first bite is with the eye
Before you know it you are sucked in, which is when you realize that your latest customer wants something you have run out of, or which you do not yet have access. Suddenly you have to turn your eye to the bigger management game. Go to the market for supplies, hire new employees and services, or just get new tables and better décor. All of which garners you more rewards for your ongoing efforts.
A bright and cheerful isometric cartoon-style keeps you smiling even when the pressure is on.
But its accessibility isn't just down to its look. Clear radial menus, building options, and simple swipe-controls keep the action easy to understand and control – even when your establishment is teeming with hungry customers.
Soft in the middle
It’s pretty standard free-to-play fodder, and for an hour or two it's good fun. Unfortunately, once this introduction period ends and your free starting credit runs out, suddenly World Chef's payment hooks become a bit restrictive. Earning credit is painfully slow unless you are prepared to pay and - while this is expected for the genre - it noticeably holds back the best elements of the game.
With its limited social hooks – you can visit your Facebook friend’s restaurants – how compelling you find all of this is entirely dependent on how much you enjoy World Chef’s reward loop: serve, wait, build, wait, serve better, wait longer, build bigger.