At its core, Battle Chef Brigade is a cooking game that has a multitude of gameplay ingredients. Elements of role-playing games, real-time strategy games, and 2D platform action genres make this game refreshingly unique. With so many moving parts and mechanics, this tidy anime indie game surprised me with its ability to make everything cohesive while maintaining its charm and a pleasant aesthetic.
Set in a world overrun by monsters, specialty chefs enlist in the ‘Battle Chef Brigade’ to fight for the mythical kingdom of Victusia. The game’s main protagonist is a human woman by the name of Mina Han who grows tired of working at her family’s restaurant. So, she runs away from home to follow her dream of trying out for the Brigade. Arriving in the Capital City, Mina meets a colorful cast of opponents, friends, judges, and townsfolk. The eccentric cast and dialogue kept me engaged throughout the game and I rarely ever skipped any interactions.
Battle Chef Brigade can essentially be broken down into three parts. All of which are important, some more so than others. The cooking aspect involves fairly deep Bejeweled-inspired puzzles where you’ll have to strategically combine colored orbs to bolster a dish’s rating. The higher a dish’s rating, the more points you’ll receive from a judge. Certain judges also have a bias or preference for the type of orbs used in a dish. One may want a dish using mostly green orbs, for example.
A Farm-to-table RPG
Where does one get the ingredients (orbs) for these kooky dishes? That’s where the combat system comes into play. The game embraces farm-to-table culture as the cooking stations are in close proximity to Victusia’s wildlife. Once you leave the kitchen area, you encounter monsters of different varieties, difficulty, and orb type. A slayed monster will drop an item that can be used for cooking. Once you’ve collected enough ingredients, you can run back to the kitchen and store them in your pantry and once again set out to slay more beasts.
The combat itself is fairly elementary with enough variation to make it enjoyable. It takes a few sessions to become proficient with your special attacks and find a suitable rhythm. Rhythm is key as you’ll be on a timer during your cooking challenges. Killing monsters ASAP is the primary goal here, so experimenting with combos isn’t something that’s encouraged.
Between completing tasks for townsfolk and cooking challenges, you’ll be gaining credits that can be used to purchase various items. Items can range from different cookware to combat tools. Each item consists of unique attributes that can help bolster your loadout. To my surprise, there were quite a few items to choose from, adding to the game’s replayability.
Is Battle Chef Brigade Good?
Battle Chef Brigade is yet another wonderful addition to the Nintendo Switch library of games. Its quirky dialogue, clean art style, and clever implementation of gameplay mechanics make the game stand out. That being said, the game is a bit guilty of a monotonous grind and the puzzles become more of a nuisance rather than entertaining. If you’re looking for a casual, yet challenging portable game to play, look no further!
Battle Chef Brigade is available on the Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.