There are some games which you have to question these days. Take The Sims for example. Why would we want to control the life of a virtual person when we all apparently have a life of our own? And then there are games which give us the opportunity to be in charge of what we like, and take control of what we want to control.
Want to run your own city? Fine, take the long running Sim City series. Fancy being in charge of your own amusement park? No problem – Rollercoaster Tycoon and Bullfrog’s various Theme Park games will sort that out. Like to run your own shopping mall... well actually no, you probably don’t want to go down that route. But what all these games offer is the opportunity to be in charge of something that very few people get the opportunity to do.
Now Enlight have cooked up a new management game which gives you the job of designing, building and managing your own restaurant. I t doesn’t sound that exciting does it? Well you may be surprised to discover that Restaurant Empire is actually an addictive treat which gives other recent simulation titles a run for their money.
One of the great things about Restaurant Empire is the variety that there is to offer. Not only can you decorate your restaurant using 100s of interior items, floor patterns and wall coverings – with this game you can always go one step further. For example when you’ve chosen where to place the light fittings in your restaurant, choose how intense the brightness is on each one and the radius of the light. Don’t think of this as tedious micro-management. This is simply a bonus option.
When it comes to designing your menus, there are dozens of food items for each of the five different restaurant themes: Italian, French, Seafood, Steakhouse and Music. Of course you can customise the interiors and even exteriors of the restaurant using suitable items to go with these themes. Take the sea food restaurants, where treasure troves that line the path ways welcome guests in to the restaurant. Once inside, guests may encounter crabs and octopuses on the walls and jellyfish shaped light fixtures.
Restaurant Empire differs from other management games because people don’t just arrive on their own. You will see couples going in to the restaurant. People will interact with each other, from doing a celebratory toast to simply having a chat.
On to the menu, and there is a well thought out selection here for each theme. You can add breakfasts, starters, light meals, main meals and desserts, as well as a selection of hot and cold drinks. Once you’ve done the selections, you can edit the ingredients and even change the font and style of your menu!
Restaurant Empire is played in two main modes.
Sandbox mode allows players to build a restaurant at their own pace, any of the five themed restaurants, anywhere on the large map, across three different cities. Campaign mode offers a variety of challenges, each to be completed one after the other. This may ask you to attract a certain amount of visitors within an allocated time limit. Another great feature in this mode is the ability to play competitions in front of large audiences, putting your best meal against other chefs in order to win prizes. In both modes, customers may offer to sell ingredients and recipes and may even want to buy a recipe off you. These have various outcomes so it is up to you whether you want to take the risk.
Graphically Restaurant Empire is particularly pleasing on the eye, especially for this genre. Where Rollercoaster Tycoon and The Sims limited you to building from 4 angles, 90 degrees apart over 3 different zooms, in this game you can zoom in and out smoothly and rotate a fully 360 degrees, with complete camera control.
Sound isn’t one of the games highlights, although it doesn’t exactly fail the taste test. Whilst the sound effects are pretty average, the music is friendly, upbeat and pleasant to listen to. If you’ve played Enlight’s other offering, Hotel Giant, then you’ll know what to expect, and if you haven’t then you won’t be disappointed if you don’t set your hopes too high.
Where most sim games lose their novelty quickly, Restaurant Empire has enough variety to keep you coming back for extra helpings and is hard to fault when putting it up against its competitors.
All casual gamers should find it tasty, and it could be the dish of the day for Sim fans.