The last time you found yourself screaming Eat it! Eat it! at your monitor was probably as you were pumping lead into a pack of Nazis in Battlefield 1942. But the next time your vitriolic exhortations could well be meant for the food critic from the local paper who's turning his nose up at your latest culinary creation in Restaurant Empire.
The latest tycoon management game from Trevor Capitalism" Chan, Restaurant Empire starts you off as an up-and-coming restaurateur with the task of first making your small joint a success, and then turning it into a fully-fledged chain of eateries. Where Capitalism was all spreadsheets and flow charts, this culinary empire builder takes its lead from games such as The Sims and presents its wares in 3D. But don't be fooled. For one, RE is dry as a bone, lacking the kooky humour and emphasis on light entertainment of The Sims. And what's more, underneath the tempting veneer is the daunting level of detail you'd expect from Mr Chan.
Choose your decor, hire chefs, design menus, arrange your suppliers and the quality of ingredients, decide on pay scales for the waiting staff - for fans of the genre, getting x to grips with it all will be a mouthwatering prospect. But for others, it'll be about as appetising as piss cake.
Our main gripe is despite the nice-looking visuals, the game's mechanics can only be really accessed through a bunch of stat screens and information menus.
Meaning you soon lose interest in the 3D view, as the real number-crunching action is taking place behind the scenes. And not even the odd celebrity visit, master chef competition, or random event in the campaign mode will divert you from your profit and loss accounts for long.
It's good at what it does, only it's not really to our tastes.
Download Restaurant Empire
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
OmniFood, the world's leading restaurant supply conglomerate, has decided to go into the fine dining business as well. Using their business expertise, extensive food supply and knowledge of cuisine, they have quickly become the major player in gourmet restaurants, and put many of their competitors out of business, including your uncle, the famous restaurateur, Michel LeBoeuf. Freshly graduated from the culinary academy, you are looking to make your name in the restaurant business. Can you take your uncle's old restaurant and make it one of the first of your vast Restaurant Empire? An excellent sim with a few minor flaws and need for polish, Enlight Software's simulation of haute cuisine actually has a lot going for it, despite this author's early reservations (no pun intended).
A few words about gameplay: Restaurant Empire's interface is, for the most part, easy to use if one has had sim experience before. A simple layout with easy to access menus will quickly get you in the swing of playing, and is rather intuitive. All aspects of restaurant building and managing are included, such as picking out a menu, hiring/firing staff, decorating your interior, and many other facets of the business. In-game graphics are adequate and portray the simulation well, as do simple audio effects. All in all, the game is a very well realized, yet simply comprehended, simulation.
There are a few flaws, to be certain. 3-D rendered animation cut scenes were somewhat sloppy and amateurish. There were aspects of movement in game that were, frankly, perplexing. During view changes, I often found myself at some odd camera angle, unable to right myself to a correct perspective. While the game offered a plethora of actual recipes, the nationalities represented were woefully inadequate (the game offers only Italian, French and American), though I can see the possibility for an expansion pack here.
All in all, Restaurant Empire is a nice little sim, with only a few flaws keeping it from reaching that higher echelon of sim titles. Still, if you're bored with the recent humdrum Tycoon-style titles, and have an appreciation for fine dining, I'd give Restaurant Empire a whirl.