Developed By: Hermes Interactive
Published By: Team17 Digital Ltd.
Release Date: 07.23.2019
Have you ever wanted to design the kitchen of the future, much like what you would find in the Jetson’s? Well then Automachef is going to be a game you will want to firmly place on your radar. This title is a management sim mixed with the puzzle genre and it is quite a good time overall. Simple ideas here allow for some of the most complex layouts you could imagine. With several modes and a great premise you will have one of the more interesting puzzle experiences on the Nintendo Switch.
You are greeted by Robert Person, the quirky narrator of this tale, and he shows you the ropes on how to properly run this kitchen like a pro. You have several types of machines that you will use, such as assemblers to combine all the finished products, grills and fryers to cook the food, and order readers that allow for you to create circuits between your machines that only activate when an order comes through the window. This allows for the conservation of energy, or to properly time out when and where items are assembled and pushed through this Rube Goldberg machine of a Frankenstein creation.
With that you have the three major categories with which you are graded. You have the number of ingredients you used through the completion of the level, the number of orders you pushed out, and the energy that was consumed by your build. You also have a set dollar amount that you are allowed to spend prior to turning on your wacky contraption. You have to minimize waste and prioritize certain things over others while making things as efficient as possible. You are graded on this system out of three stars, and it allows for some replay potential and some serious mastery of these mechanics as the win conditions can be extremely tight from level to level.
As you are moving through level to level you will find a fairly robust campaign mode. I was definitely shocked when I started playing through that they had the number of story levels to get through as they did. Most games like this have a simple campaign mode that basically teaches you the ropes and then unleashes you onto an endless mode or the like. And this title has that endless sandbox mode as well, but man you are probably going to be more than satisfied with the amount of content you will find in the campaign itself. The levels are difficult to manage as it is, so multiple redesigns will occur here and there as you try to find the best layout, but you also can try to plow through this content and will be pleasantly surprised with how long that takes you to actually do.
The game has so much potential for stealing long hours from your gaming time that if you are into simulation-management titles like I am and also enjoy a good puzzle then prepare to look up at the clock and realize you are two hours late to that super important appointment you had. I lost myself in these levels, and the efficiency being calculated really attacked my OCD when it came to wanting to make the best setup possible. You feel like your setup couldn’t get much better, but then notice you only hit 56% efficiency and go right back to the drawing board. This is one of the most satisfying puzzle experiences I have encountered on the Switch.
The game looks great with a bubbly kind of pseudo-50’s kitchen aesthetic, and combined with the quirky humor and fun gameplay you have a title that has the looks I would want in a title like this. I am one of the many people out there who love a classic look in homes and cars, and the 50’s are a legend of the past at this point, and having that be some of the inspiration for a kitchen sim when they arguably have the coolest looking kitchens of an era makes for a perfect pairing; fine wine and cheese.
The only downsides to this title is it really doesn’t mix up its general gameplay loop, so this has to be something you enjoy from top to bottom from the get go. This isn’t an issue at all for those who are enjoying themselves, but if you find the start too slow or not what you are looking for then don’t expect the formula to change much. You have various recipes you have to tackle, and the introduction of bacteria management and fire suppression makes for some break in the tedium, but basically you are just spending you time building out the kitchen and then hitting a play button to watch how you did.
With that, I wish there was a little bit of an easier way to management making tweaks to the setup rather than sometimes having to completely wipe the level. You do have the ability to save certain groupings of machines, which helps, but unless you are prepared to move and entire build one block over to increase efficiency then you really won’t have a great way to make those changes. On the PC I assume this ability is a little bit more built out and efficient, but on the console with a controller it is kind of tough to make those changes quickly.
All of that being said, I have to say this game is the bees knees. I really love all sim-management games and have dumped a stupid amount of hours into games you have probably never even heard of that come from this genre. But for a console experience this game really has a lot to offer those who enjoy these games. I wanted to keep playing all the time, and when I wasn’t playing I was thinking about wanting to play. I truly hope we get more experiences like this on the Switch, because although it is the conversion from PC to console, the Switch really lends itself well to it all with its own features. People who love losing themselves in complex puzzles, and those who like building will want to take a peak at this lovingly crafted title.