Reviews

Not quite Otome: Food Fantasy

Sisters*, I have been remiss in my duties to inform you of the finer points of the world’s Ikemen. And that is because – after a lengthy summer break, of course – I became quite mesmerised by a game that has nothing to do with Your Crush of the Week, but is, instead, a kind of a Japanese-themed RPG with recipes. Yes, you heard that right. You are the owner of a restaurant, but you live in a world where personified essences of food roam the land. These are the Food Souls, and they are here to protect and assist humanity against dangerous Fallen Angels.

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Black Tea and Milk: Relationship goals.

The Premise

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Milk.

You – yes, you! – are the Master Attendant, and you open your little restaurant. You pick one of three styles of cuisine and are given your first recipes. You are also given your first Food Soul: Milk. Milk is a lovely woman with white hair, tiny horns, and a soft voice. There is an extensive tutorial that teaches you what you need to do.

The world is a dangerous place; outside the settlements of humans, Fallen Angels abound. They attack all that come near, and only in the company of Food Souls can a human venture out into the wild. And venture out we must, because the ingredients for our cooking are out there. It is our team of trusty Food Souls that goes foraging for mushrooms and fishing for salmon every day, so that we may develop new recipes and feed our guests. On the way, they encounter Fallen Angels of all nightmare-shapes and -sizes.

Food Souls

The Food Souls are, of course, the essence of that game, and you will want to collect them all. They are the embodiment of food, sometimes of a single ingredient like Milk, sometimes a whole elaborate meal like Peking Duck, who comes with sauces, leek, and an armful of ducklings. Which is borderline macabre, of course, but also pretty cute.

Battles and Linked Skills

Primarily, you will send your Souls into battles, be it in the adventure story-line, the showdowns against other teams, or the catacombs to retrieve Fallen Angel larvae. For this purpose, the Souls come in different categories: you have your support (healers), defence (tanks), strength, and magic (both DPS). As a veteran of many years of World of Warcraft, it is obvious to me that, for a viable five-Souls-team, you need one support, one defence, and three DPS of choice. I get the impression that there are more magic Souls than strength ones, but that might be my bias. It is best to create two teams on relatively equal footing, with a good combination of strength and magic Food Souls.

Food Souls Steak and Red Wine
Tsundere Food Soul: according to the description, Steak hates Red Wine. But of course, he needs Red Wine to activate his Linked Skill…

Every Food Soul has a basic skill and an energy skill, which will be unleashed once the Food Soul’s energy bar is full in battle. Some Souls, however, have Linked Skills. Those are basically their energy skill, but stronger and controllable. That’s right, instead of the skill randomly going off, you get a button that you can activate when it’s most convenient. There is an entire science about which Souls require which others to activate that skill. My favourite team currently has the trio of Miso Soup, Sanma, and Tempura, who all link to each other, and B-52, whose skill is activated by Brownie. Yes, this also sounds like an excellent meal.

Team 2 of my Food Souls: Miso Soup, B-52, Sanma, Tempura, and Brownie.
My somewhat favourite team.

The Restaurant

You will also need Food Souls for the restaurant. Your battling Food Souls have a stamina rating of 100, while your specially indicated restaurant Souls have roughly 300. They will be the ones cooking the dishes and serving the patrons, which is also exhausting work. Once their stamina is depleted, they go to the Ice Arena (aka “The Fridge”) to recover.

Other Things to Do

There are also specific kinds of battles, like the Catacombs. There, you choose a total of 10 Souls to accompany you, and then you have to put together a team in response to a specific contract. This might, for example, prevent you from using support Souls, so you’ll have to rearrange your team around these stipulations.

Exploration will yield building materials to upgrade your restaurant or your delivery bikes. Your exploration team does not have to be high-level. Speaking of delivery, you will be asked to home-deliver food to the locals, with the help of yet another team of whatever level Food Souls.

Resources

The game is rather complex, but fortunately, it comes with the above-mentioned tutorial. If you follow the quests laid out for you, as well as the daily challenges, you should do fine. There are also a few mechanisms specifically designed for newcomers, and the UR Food Soul Foie Gras can be yours at the end of lengthy but highly informative questing. For more in-depth information, there are all these nice people who’ve already set up a rather comprehensive Wiki that helped me a ton.

In Summary

I’m obsessed. There is so much to do! It’s the kind of obsessed where I really resent work because it gets in the way of my gameplay. Don’t they know I have a fictional restaurant to run? That said, the game has its repetitive elements, and there is a good amount of grinding (see my team get annihilated on the hard stages), but overall, I enjoy it immensely. I love developing new recipes, collecting new Food Souls, levelling up my existing Food Souls, and expanding my restaurant. Most of all, though, I adore putting teams together of well-matched Food Souls, seeing how they work out in battle… I know I can’t level all of them, but you know, I can try…

Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

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