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Adventure Bar Story

For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Kitchen nightmare

Product: Adventure Bar Story | Developer: Rideon Japan | Publisher: Rideon Japan | Format: iPhone | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1
Adventure Bar Story iPhone, thumbnail 1
Kitchens can be pretty hostile environments to work in at the best of times.

Proof of this can be witnessed whenever you tune into one of the many reality TV shows focused on cooking: if it's not Gordon Ramsey hurling expletives - and crockery - at his hapless underlings, then it's the dog-eat-dog world of Masterchef, or some similarly competitive cooking show.

Despite the fraught nature of these programs, they actually have it lucky. In the world of Adventure Bar Story, the protagonists not only have to deal with brain-teasing cooking conundrums but they also have to wrestle with fearsome monsters in order to obtain ingredients.

Adventure Bar Story - which is a port of the Japan-only PSP game Adventure Bar of Wonderland Portable - is best described as a collision between Cooking Mama and Final Fantasy.

If you can't stand the heat

One half of the game is devoted to creating a successful menu of dishes to satisfy the hunger of your fellow townspeople, while the other half contains oodles of turn-based combat and exploration that wouldn't seem out of place in your traditional JRPG.

With your family restaurant under threat from a local rival, you have to unlock new recipes and assemble a team of battle-hardened warriors to send out into the field in order to acquire new items and materials.

Each dish requires a certain number of ingredients, and making sure you have enough in stock to meet demand becomes quite a challenge.

Once you're happy with the menu you've constructed, you can open the restaurant for the day and see how the public reacts. The money that pours into your coffers is yours to invest in new ingredients, as well as upgrade your team's equipment so that their forays into the wilderness become that little bit easier.

Get out of the kitchen

While this sounds like the perfect recipe (pardon the pun) for a highly engaging RPG epic, Adventure Bar Story's long-term appeal is curiously limited.

The biggest issue is that the cooking side of the game feels like a lot of hard work for very little actual reward - it can take quite some time to amass all of the necessary ingredients for each dish, but once you've opened up for the day and sold them all the process simply begins anew.

Unlocking new recipes and gaining access to other areas of the gameworld keeps things interesting to a degree, and the opportunity to recruit new helpers is welcome, but ultimately the novelty of this JRPG mash-up lasts about as long as a McDonald's Happy Meal - and leaves you feeling just as empty inside, too.
Adventure Bar Story
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 12 March 2012
Full marks for originality, but this unusual mixture of RPG and tycoon simulation doesn't quite have the killer ingredients to make it fly off the menu
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