LifeisXbox’s Epic Chef review | In between waking up and still sleeping, your nose twitches. A familiar smell is filling the house… It’s the scent of… What was it? You take another sniff, pulling you more out of the zombie-like sleep state. What was that scent? Another deep sniff later and your eyes fly open, followed by an approving rumble deep down in your stomach. It’s the scent of pasty in the morning. But which one? Pancakes? Waffles? Pancakes AND waffles? There’s only one way to find out. You slowly stand up, yawning and stretching your torso. Scratch your back and saunter off towards the bathroom. There you take a shower, shave your beard, and yawn even more. Afterward, you don your clothes and put your hat on. Slowly closing the bathroom cupboard mirror door, you look at yourself and smile. ‘Why, look at you… you sly devil you!’ and a quick realization kicked in… Deviled eggs… Something I should make as well! You turn, but not before winking at yourself one last time, and stride off towards the kitchen… In the reflection of the mirror? You see the tight knot of the apron you put on, together with the soft bobbing of your chef’s hat. Yup, today was going to be your day! Because you, you are a chef! And not any sort of chef… but THE chef!
Yes, this is Epic Chef, brought to us by Infinigon Games. In this adventure/life-sim game, you are placed in the role of Zest, our budding, and aspiring chef-to-be hero. After you inherit a mansion, you quickly find out that nothing is as meets the eyes at first. It seems that for you to become the culinary wonder that is obviously deep down in your blood, you’ll have to prove yourself in a multitude of ways. You’ll have to become adept to cultivate your own ingredients, build your own machinery and eventually lead your own restaurant to success in the lively lands of Ambrosia. Will you have what it takes to be the next master chef? You do? Then put on your cooking hats and prepare yourself for … Epic Chef!
Most Memorable Moment
One of the very first encounters with the ‘strange noise’ when you first sleep in your newly begotten mansion … let me set the mood though. ‘T was in the midst of night, you lay there, enjoying your first night in your finely crafted bed. When all of the sudden, a bloodchurning scream can be heard throughout the entire building. You spring up, sweat soaking your sheets and pyjama. Slowly, but surely you venture towards the window, where you knew the sound was coming from… you pull aside the drapes to only see an out of this world giant [REDACTED]. You try your best to grab the [REDACTED], but alas… it flees, to only terrorize you more, as the days pass… god I laughed so hard!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- Humor! | Hands down the best part about Epic Chef. Not only is the humor actually funny, but they also incorporate a lot of memes, cynical and sarcastic quips as well as just the dryest of dad humor jokes that you could find out there. I was laughing more than actually playing the game. And that is what really pushed it over the edge for me. Whoever wrote the dialog for this one? Give him/her or them a raise! They deserve it to say the least!
- Sound design | Everything that has to do with great sound design? Epic Chef has. It’s got fun to listen to music, the ambiance is there. If you see a crackling hearth, you should hear the warmth as well as see or feel it. Most games really don’t capture that amount of detail, but the audio designers for Epic Chef did, and it’s wonderful! It really puts you in the moment, instead of, what did I just hear again? Something that resembles wood chopping? No. Not here, where you feel as if you’re there, chopping that wood as if you’re the one brandishing that long… hard… Axe!
- Wonderful Visual-style | At first I wasn’t all too optimistic when I saw how the art style was and worked for Epic Chef… But eventually, I fell for its charm. It reminded me of a mixture of, us Dutch people will know this show ‘De Fabeltjeskrant’ and gameplay that resembled My Time at Portia. The movement of your characters has that feel-good ‘stocky’ animation and the art style just breathes warmth and happiness. Combine that with well-placed humor and voila! You’ve got your ace in the hole!
- No pressure | Perhaps one of the biggest selling points for me in this one has to be the relaxed feeling that comes with Epic Chef. Sure, you know that you’ve got missions to attend to. But, that doesn’t mean that there’s a time constraint. Eventually, you’ll have so much to do, that you can easily wander off, doing your own thing. Trying to figure out which ingredient combines best with others, and just… Goof around with the weirdest recipes you can cook up. Got a few spare rats and a carrot? Throw those in a bowl and voila! A dish is waiting to be made! Add in a dash of spices or sauces, and you’ll make an even more impressive dish!
- Fast ingredients | Now come the best part. What’s the worst part of a lot of these farm simulator kinds of games? That’s right. The wait. More often than not, you’ll come across a threshold that just doesn’t feel right in a lot of these. And that’s the wait. Yessir, how often did you play games like My Time at Portia and thought to yourself ‘uuugh, these carrots are so slooow’ or ‘why doesn’t that tree grow back faster!’. Not in Epic Chef my friends. Since you are on special ground, everything that you plant into it, grows fast. And I really mean fast! In need of veggies? Nothing to worry about! Dig up some soil, plant your seed and wait a couple of minutes et voila, your first batch is ready. Wait a bit more after harvesting and tada! Your next batch! This goes with everything, though some still are a tad bit slower than others, it surely isn’t as slow as other games on out there!
- Cooking… battles | For a game that is all about cooking? The cooking part in itself feels as if it falls a tiny bit short, compared to everything else that is mentioned above. It’s a basic quick-time sort of mini-game. You add a few ingredients, some sauce or spice to give your dish that extra oomph, and stir. Stir long enough to rack in points and then let everything simmer for extra aroma points. But don’t let them simmer for too long, or they’ll start to burn, and if they do burn? You’ll lose your points far quicker than you gained them. So it’s kind of a risk-reward kind of thing, and I get it, they had to do something to give us a challenge. But this could have been way more interesting than just stirring a pot and throwing things in… Add on top of that, the fact that if you are running a cooking battle? Your opponent has a static score. That also means that if you would lose your first battle? And you redo the challenge? You know in which department his one shines out in AND how high your score has to be in order to beat his dish. That’s not challenging in any way guys… come on!
- Micromanagement | Micromanagement. The term is given to something that you have to manage to the tiniest of details, to get everything running smoothly and without a hitch. And I have no problem with any of this if it weren’t crammed down my throat from the get-go. I get that this has to be a thing, especially when later down the line you own your own restaurant and whatnot. But from the start? Really? When you haven’t even managed to get the basics down to a T yet? That’s a bit too much. You’ll be running your own farm and bestiary even before opening your own restaurant, and that within the first few hours already. It kind of felt as if I was running a marathon, even before the marathon actually started. The entire thing felt a bit… off, to say the least. As if they wanted to rush you through the entire beginning disposition.
- Feels Chaotic at times | I’m not lying if I’m going to tell you that I’m not really that much of a life-sim kind of guy. Sure I like ‘m, and I enjoy playing them. But I’ve not fully mastered the genre. And that is what makes this one feel really chaotic, especially when it comes down to organizing your inventory. I’ve played games like Slime Rancher or My Time at Portia, and those didn’t feel all over the place when it came down to inventory organization. You could have some serious stacks in your pockets before they were full. Here? Not so much. Sure you can have some stackage, but they quickly decide to transfer over to the next block of stacks. And not having an unlimited stackage bag or pants means you’ll quickly run into the message “not enough space”. Meaning you’ll have to craft more boxes to put your stuff into than I would have loved it to be.
What we Disliked
- Nothing | Begone, you fools! Nothing to see here … Shoo! SHOO!!
How long to beat the story | 15+ hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 30+ hours