Build Using Yummy Gingerbread in Restaurant Story: Christmas
The popular restaurant management title is back and this time, it features a fun, holiday twist! In Restaurant Story: Christmas, you get to design your very own restaurant using thematic decor. Impress your friends with a season-savvy sense of style by decorating your restaurant with limited edition items. Cement walls? Well who needs those when you can build using Gingerbread. Earn unique rewards by fulfilling some caroling goals. Collect recipes and fill up your Christmas cookbook as your business grows. Whether you're snowed in or it's just a little chilly outside, your goal is to make your restaurant the hottest place to be this holiday season.
Start the Festivities in Style
As it was with the rest of the games in the Story series from Storm8 Studios (Fashion Story, Bakery Story), you start out with a blank canvas to work with. The first order of the day will be to add the basics you need to kick off your restaurant career. If you've played a game in the genre before, then the controls will be easy to figure out. Tapping on, say, a stove will open the cookbook. Choose a delectable treat to serve your customers and add ingredients. Once you're done preparing it, wait for the dish to cook and then bring it to an empty spot on the table by tapping it twice. As there are barely any menus to wade through, nearly anyone can get into the routine even just by trial and error. This makes Restaurant Story: Christmas accessible even for new or younger players.
Excited to serve exotic cuisine? Keep in mind that in the early parts of the game, your choices will be limited. Basically, you'll be stuck serving Omelettes and Pumpkin Porridge for a while until you gain enough experience points to level up. That's not such a bad thing, considering it's the standard for management titles such as this but it would have been nice to have something new added to the mix. Having the ability to have a signature dish, for instance, would add a personalization element.
It's a Snow Day
What's a Christmas-themed game without snow? Even if you live in a desert, you've surely heard of the term "a white Christmas" and in Restaurant Story: Christmas, it's a white one indeed. Amidst a snowy back drop, your restaurant is a warm haven for hungry customers. In general, the graphics are charming. While not quite AAA level, the cartoony rendering looks right at home in the season's cheery feel. The animations are all right; there's nothing noteworthy about them. The food illustrations, however, are where Restaurant Story: Christmas shines the brightest. While still cartoony, the details Storm8 Studios have put into them are impressive. You can see drizzles of ketchup, tiny mushrooms and even swirls of cream mixed into the soup. No wonder the characters are chubby.
That being said, we would have liked more diversity early on. Even simple palette swaps of existing graphic assets would have been an improvement over the clones that go in and out of the virtual restaurant. The issue does get a little less noticeable as you progress through the game and you've gotten a bigger space. But, if you're not the patient type, you might not be there to enjoy the thematic hats and outfits that come later on.
A Holiday Feast to Remember
So how does Restaurant Story: Christmas stack up against the rest of the Story games? Because it's just a seasonal skin for the core game so to speak, it does very little to improve the mechanics. You still need to start with barely a stove to your name and, slowly, you will need to earn enough money to buy more furniture to accommodate additional customers. The bottom line is, it's the same formula as before and if that sounds like a good thing to you then the game's fancy Christmas wrapping will be a treat for sure. For starters, there are caroling quests to fulfill for rewards; limited edition items give your restaurant a real holiday feel; and, of course, having the ability to build with Gingerbread is just plain awesome.
If you like playing with pals, then you're in luck. Restaurant Story: Christmas has a couple of social features to keep you busy. You can socialize with other restaurants to earn additional tips and you can also share secret recipes with friends -- Christmas is for sharing, after all, so don't hog those mouth-watering sweets.
To sum it up: play Restaurant Story: Christmas if you've enjoyed any of the Story games and are up for a little holiday twist. With all the season-inspired decor, it's also a great game to unwind to if you're in need of some Christmas cheer.