Hunt, kill, and cook delicious monsters in Trinket Studios’ charming Action Cooking RPG, Battle Chef Brigade
The game that I found myself most excited about walking into PAX this year was one of the PAX 10 indie titles Battle Chef Brigade by developer Trinket Studios. The premise of the game alone was enough to demand my attention, as one of the only titles in the tragically underserved (ha) Action Cooking RPG genre. In fact, of all my appointments at PAX, the one with Trinket to view Battle Chef Brigade was the only one that I sought out and scheduled myself. I was not disappointed.
Battle Chef Brigade is a hand-animated 2D game that combines a hunting RPG, a puzzle match-three, and an action cooking simulator into one appetizing dish. It merges the ability to hunt and battle dangerous monsters with the fast pace and creativity of cooking competition shows. You assume the role of one chef battling against others to win the annual Battle Chef Royale. Each elimination round, chefs must produce as many high quality dishes as possible within the allowed time. There are typically required ingredients, special rules, and the individual preferences of each judge to keep in mind. All the food is made from monsters that you hunt in the wild.
The combat itself isn’t overly challenging, and it focuses more on evasion and planning your attack than anything else. The cohesive ecosystem features a variety of creature types, including small birds, dragons, boars, and more, and each monster drops a different cut of meat once it has been defeated.
Cooking in games is typically simplistic, usually appearing as a mini-game, sidequest, or as a crafting mechanic. But in Battle Chef Brigade, you decide what dishes you are going to make and what types of flavors you wish to utilize. You use magic spells in order to combine, slice, and cook all of the ingredients. The cooking itself in Battle Chef Brigade uses a match-3 style of game, and you have to choose the best ingredients in order to achieve the maximum number of matches.
Depending on how you choose to cook the ingredients, the matching can be done in a number of ways, be it rotation or sliding. The colors of the ingredients are reflective of a particular item’s flavors. As each judge has flavors they prefer – and ones they hate – there is an interesting element of strategic planning in choosing ingredients that will be acceptable to all of them. You can also eat your own meals to regain health and mana, assuming you haven’t created something entirely inedible.
Another way that Battle Chef Brigade managed to stand out at PAX was the booth’s presentation. Trinket’s booth was decorated with a cutting board, rolling pin, fruit, candles, and chocolate coins, and the team rocked aprons with the title and logo of their game across the chest. There was a very interesting dedication to selling the feeling of their game, and not just pitching the game itself. “Charming” may be the most accurate word I can use to describe the game and the presentation alike.
And now I’m feeling hungry…