Next to the farming genre, the restaurant/cafe sim is one of the most popular social and casual gaming templates around. While Cafe World and Restaurant City may share the title for most popular restaurant games on Facebook, until Restaurant City: Gourmet Edition finally launches on iOS, our iPhones are without a strong leader in the genre. Hoping to cut a slice of the pie for themselves, SGN has released Mini Cafe to the iTunes App Store. But while the game is free, it isn't exactly as social as we would have hoped.
As it stands, the gameplay is incredibly reminiscent of basically every other major cafe sim around (save for Restaurant City, interestingly enough), as you'll tap on a stove to choose the recipe you'd like to cook, with recipes being available from all sorts of ethnic varieties, and then wait for it to cook. Some dishes cost more to prepare, or take longer to cook, but you'll earn more money in the long-run by serving them, as you'd expect. You'll need to place your delectable goodies onto serving stations, and will earn money automatically as customers enter your cafe, walk up to the counter and serve themselves.
There's no real avatar system in the game, as you don't have to worry about hiring staff. That's not to say that you can't perform waitress-like duties however, as you'll be able to tap on tables to clean them after each guest eats, pick up trash and even clean your serving platforms after all of the current food has been served.
As with any proper cooking sim, you'll be able to decorate your restaurant using a variety of basic and premium items. It's unfortunate that so many items are locked until you level up, as the vast majority of items go for premium currency, leaving you with few options otherwise. Likewise, many of the game's starting dishes are horrible money-earners, and take just a few seconds or minutes to cook, requiring you to play constantly to make any progress. During this period, there's no lengthy dish that you can set and forget, only to check on it later, as you'll come back to rotten food instead. That all being said, for the gamer that loves constant micro-management, there's plenty to like here.
In terms of social features, you can take pictures of your cafe and share them through Facebook, and you can also invite your Facebook friends to play the game with you. The SiGN social network allows you to connect to friends that have played other SGN games, but as of this writing, it doesn't appear as though you can actually visit your friends' cafes. Needless to say, that's pretty disappointing, but not altogether unheard of.
As it stands, Mini Cafe has only been available for a little over a month, and has already been updated a handful of times. If SGN can improve the new-user experience, giving players a quicker opportunity to earn coins, or at least options for coming back to the game at a later time without losing progress, then it might really be recommendable. At the very least, it's a nice snack to tide us over until Restaurant City: Gourmet Edition launches later this year.
Download Mini Cafe on iPhone / iPad -->
Have you found a fantastic cooking sim on the iTunes App Store, or are you constantly looking for the next new dish? What do you think of Mini Cafe? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.