Cooking Mama is a game series many DS owners are familiar with and a few remember fond memories of the charming franchise. The latest title published by Rising Star Games – Cooking Mama Sweet Shop – gives players more of a reason to remake recipes aside from enjoying the process. With this installment, players along with Mama are in charge of a pretty shop. After finishing a recipe, Mama asks you to place the food on display so customers may purchase a treat. The money earned from the shop can then be used to customize the kitchen and shop itself. It’s a straightforward game with little to be confused about yet the fun lies within the simplicity.
There are no complicated mechanics to learn or stats to memorize. The entire franchise offers light-heart entertainment to enjoy. Any mistakes the player will make are all fixed by the character Mama. And after she proclaims “It’s Ok, Mama will fix it” the recipe you messed up ends up looking completely perfect. In spite of your game experience, you will still spill batter and miss cracking the eggs into the bowl. This makes playing it all the more fun and silly. Sweet Shop could have benefited from a bit of money management. To make the game challenging, the developers could have added in the need to use funds from sales to purchase ingredients for the baked goods. This would have added an extra incentive to sell more food. At least the money has somewhat of a purpose: to customize the shop and kitchen. It’s fun to pick out outfits for Mama and to redecorate the shop and it makes the game feel more personable.
The simple chibi style of animation is adorable and looks great in the 3D mode. The 3D portion of Nintendo’s handheld is a debatable feature yet it does add some extra depth to the otherwise basic style. Most of the time you will find yourself looking solely at the the bottom screen due to most of the interaction is through the touch screen. OFFICE CREATE, now titled Cooking Mama Limited, the developers of the series, has done a fantastic job of integrating the 3DS touch screen. Using the stylus, players must stir, mix, knead, add ingredients and much more to complete a recipe. Time limits make these mini games more of a challenge but after practicing awhile players will be able to cook as well as Mama herself.
Competing through Download Play locally is a treat to experience with friends. As long as one person has a copy of Sweet Shop up to 4 3DS/ 2DS owners can enjoy the competition feature. Laughing and complaining to each other over the process of completing recipes is a little extra special feature built into the game. One of the most charming aspects of Sweet Shop is the ability to make recipes in a virtual setting that you normally wouldn’t make in your own real life kitchen. It even may inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and bake a treat you never thought about before playing. With so many heavy story-driven games and titles requiring critical thinking skills, Sweet Shop is a welcomed treat in 2017.
A Nintendo 3DS review copy of this game was provided by Rising Star Games for the purpose of this review.