It’s not very often that you run into a game that combines the cleverness and appeal of cooking so well, that you have to question whether you’re playing a game or not. Battle Chef Brigade feels more than just a game of competitive cooking, it’s an immersive experience that pushes you to come up with creative ideas on the fly. Shokugeki no Souma fans will surely be all over this game due to Battle Chef Brigade taking a lot of inspiration from the popular series, but also, there’s plenty more in store that’s sure to savor your palette. With an array of puzzles along with a wonderful narrative to keep you hungry for more, Battle Chef Brigade delivers a recipe that’s refined and hits the spot with every bite you take.
What to Expect
Cooking games are slowly becoming the rage nowadays with the likes of Overcooked! paving the way for Nintendo’s illustrious handheld console hybrid, and now with Battle Chef Brigade on the menu there’s plenty of delicious options to choose from. You don’t need to be a cooking pro to dive into the world of Battle Chef Brigade, but you definitely will need to know how to be selective in your ingredients to ensure that your judges are satisfied, and allow you to move forward. We’ll cook up a better explanation in the gameplay section but for now, expect to experience a game unlike any other. Battle Chef Brigade implements more than just a cheerful story and gloriously detailed backdrops for players to traverse in, there’s also this sort of luxurious simplicity that just pops out at you the more you play. It may not be noticeable in the early chapters of the game but the longer you play through it, you’ll know exactly what we mean. With all that being said, let’s jump right into the action and provide you with more details about the story and gameplay.
The story begins with the young and ambitious Mina Han, a girl with dreams to take part in the illustrious cooking tournament where contestants from all over the globe compete to see who can satisfy the judges. Mina’s parents are devoted chefs who own their own restaurant and Mina is their top priority in the kitchen. However, Mina grows bored of creating the same dishes over and over for their customers and so she asks a dear friend to help her get into the Brigade so that she can show off her talents. Once she sneaks out to embark on her journey, new challenges await her and new rivalries will be created. Gameplay
The Cooking System
The cooking system in Battle Chef Brigade works similarly to playing a game of Dr. Mario or even Puyo Puyo Tetris in that, in order to successfully cook dishes you’ll need to match corresponding colors to increase your combos. The higher tier of color, the more points you’ll receive from the judges and so, being very mindful of this is important especially when you get into the later duels. The game does an incredibly good job of providing a tutorial that shows you how to maximize your efforts, while challenging you enough so that you stay focused. The puzzle based approach to creating dishes is where much of the fun happens in Battle Chef Brigade, since it encourages you to often think outside the box when gathering ingredients but to also be very reactive since you’re being timed during cook offs. The game starts off slow, allowing you to duel against other notable chefs so that you can gain some experience in how to deal with pressure before going onto the more challenging matches.
It’s not just about matching colors together, but also having the right equipment is pivotal to ensure your color combinations score the highest. You’ll receive equipment from your opponents if you win but you can also head to the shop to pick up any extra items that you think are necessary to securing a victory. Just like in Shokugeki no Souma, you go into a match and face off against a formidable opponent, and the chairman along with the judges will provide you with information you’ll need to pay close attention to. A judge will often tell you what element they favor most which is then highlighted over their head, but you’ll need to read between the lines as they mention other trinkets of information that could provide bonus points. So it’s not just a game about whipping up whatever you feel like and serving it, Battle Chef Brigade puts you in the shoes of a chef and you’ll need strategy along with impeccable preparation to win.
The Hunting System
This brings me to the next point which is the hunting/fighting system in Battle Chef Brigade, which to be honest is very fluid and creates a very robust experience. You have the element of puzzle themed cook offs to entice you but when it comes time to gathering resources, the game turns into this action-adventure platforming experience where you’ll be slashing, dodging and throwing daggers everywhere. This is what makes playing Battle Chef Brigade so enthralling because it creates this nice fusion and doesn’t falter in doing so. You can go into the shop and acquire buffs for your Daggers such as allowing them to stun enemies if you stomp on their head, or dashing through the enemy causes damage. As you progress further, more will be unlocked so we encourage you to experiment with everything. You’ll also be able to swap between characters during the game but we won’t spoil everything for you, it’s best to be enjoyed by oneself.
Every monster you encounter has different elements that you’ll have to look out for, and so this is where organization and attention to detail come into play. We’ll give you an example to get you started. There’s a match you’ll encounter where gathering only water based ingredients is imperative, and any other type of ingredient would dock you in points. There are a lot of monsters that come with multiple elements attached such as water and earth, earth and fire and so on. When a judge specifically tells you they want a water based meal then it’s important to only catch what’s needed to not only save time but avoid losing points during the judging period.
This is where gathering specific sauces to enhance your dishes come into play, such as eggs and specific berries that can transform unnecessary elements into ones you need. Racing back and forth to gather all the necessary ingredients is as tense as it is fun because you don’t want to waste too much time running around, but at the same time, the lush world is so beautiful to look at. Be sure to use the equipment you receive to your advantage and learn to optimize your time so that you can gather what’s needed and come back to woo the judges.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Battle Chef Brigade is hands down one of the best looking Switch titles we’ve seen in awhile and that’s due to the excellent use of color to help accentuate certain things. It’s like a color manga in motion, created by talented individuals that understand a great degree of color psychology.
Using darker tones to help bring out the characters while using lighter shades in the background just provide this complimentary flow, and it’s all easy on the eyes. The issues that we had with the game was that we wish the world we were in was a bit more open in the sense that, instead of just being situated on this linear foreground running side to side, having it be something like an RPG with full 360 movement would be awesome. Running from town to town would’ve been cool and having the player say run through open fields to gather their resources would add a ton more appeal. On the contrary, we could see the extra work that would be created from that, since it would eliminate the 2D aspect and designing this in 3D may perhaps ruin the charm of the title overall.
This is most likely swinging for the stars but we would’ve liked the option to change the flow of dialogue where we could choose what to say, and have that somehow affect the overall story going forward ala Until Dawn or other option oriented games. This would’ve really given it the full Shokugeki treatment as we could dictate who becomes our rival and who we befriend, which could create some interesting scenarios. It would’ve been nice to have a more engaging audience during the character intros too, like adding in cheers or boos depending on who you’re facing. The lack of audible cues during those moments took the hype away and would’ve really added a ton of flare. Being able to create our own character would’ve been a nice addition too but we’d be asking for too much at this point.
In the end, all we can say is that Battle Chef Brigade is one game any Switch owner should not ignore, because much like its dishes, it incorporates a plethora of different ingredients that just create this satisfying blend of flavor, consistency and punch that will have you coming back for seconds. Oh, and don't for get the daily cook off where you can compete for a high score against others! You know, just in case you feel like taking your skills to the next level!
The artwork and design is remarkable.
Great narrative and voice acting.
The puzzle aspect really adds a great deal of depth to the cooking experience.
The hunting mechanic creates that action adventure feel.
It’s like Shokugeki no Souma but with entirely new cast!
Fresh and invigorating gameplay.
Wish the world were a bit more open for players to explore.
The dialogue could use a lot more freedom for players to dictate the flow of the story.
Honey's Final Verdict:
There’s perhaps so much we missed within our review but that’s because there’s a lot to take in with a game like Battle Chef Brigade. It looks very simple on the surface but the longer you spend time with it, the more you start to realize that it’s not just some game of pick up and go. A lot of concentration must be applied and the more you invest into it, the more it gives back to you. All we ask from Trinket Studios is, when’s the sequel? Yeah, we know it’s a little early to say but damn, we love this game and it would be cool to see new elements added in a follow up. Until that time arrives, we hope you found this review to be a delightful read and if you enjoy our articles, be sure to give Honey’s Anime a follow on Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to also follow us on Twitch where you’ll be able to catch us live, playing all of the games we review just for you!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!