| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Cooking; loc=JPN] |
|Frenetic beef-noodle-serving cooking game from Success in which you must meet the challenges that brave Yoshinoya employees face every day, namely seemingly endless floods of easily-enraged customers asking for one of four hot and tasty dishes.|
You work through three shifts (morning, day, evening) at a store and must pass each one, then a final "boss" fight in which you have to please a very picky patron, before graduating up to the next, larger Yoshinoya store.
It goes like this. Each store has X number of customer seats at the counter. Customers charge in through the door and find a seat, then instantly demand hot beef-noodle satisfaction in one of four varieties, corresponding to a face button (the button helpfully appears on the person's placement). You run over to them, match the button, and they go away happy. If you manage to serve one person who has one or more other people sitting next to them ordering the same thing, you get a chain combo. The exact requirement to clear the stage is still a little elusive to me (it's hard to pay attention to scoring while you have a half-dozen hungry people shaking their fists and yelling at you) but chain combos help somehow, and giving a wrong order hurts. There is an overall happiness gauge on the right that is part of passing the stage somehow, or at least failing it.
Once you've done all three shifts, in any order, you're on to the aforementioned picky customer bossfight. These require you to cook up each stage of the meal beginning with heating a warm drink just right--all of these are controlled either by mashing a series of buttons shown on screen or by pressing circle when a sliding meter is at the right spot, symbolizing the correct serving size or heating time. Get enough of them right and the customer is pleased, and you're promoted to the next store. Woo!
The presentation is very well done, with peppy music, colorful and robust graphics, and nice-looking cel-shaded cartoon characters. Word balloons and icons are constantly flying around the screen as you serve customers and the game does a very good job of simulating insane working conditions. Oh, you also can choose and unlock different employees, maybe they have different skills or something, I'm not sure.
Aside from just plain speed and matching accuracy, there is room for some strategy. Certain customers order certain items, for instance schoolboys in the morning shift always order the Circle button item. So if you're patient and a bit lucky you can wait instead of serving the first immediately, then get a two or three-customer chain for a big bonus of some sort. Also, you can hold a shoulder button to run fast, but if you run into the counter it pisses the patrons off, so you have to use this carefully.
There's a "free" mode where you can try any area endlessly or something, I think, and a trivia mode where you can take a quiz and see a history of the Yoshinoya franchise. I'm not sure if that mode interests anyone, but you certainly won't get anything out of it without being able to read the language. The main mode is so fun, however, that you won't really miss the trivia.