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Game Preview: Automachef, a deliciously fresh take on kitchen simulation


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Team17's iteration on the kitchen simulator genre is an incredibly fresh take that will likely have you streamlining production lines for hours. I got a chance to preview the PC version of the game.

In Automachef’s campaign mode, each level resembles a logic puzzle. Using a combination of ingredient dispensers, preparation and assembly machines, each item must be deliberately placed in the correct order for a recipe to be created. Using an order machine to regulate the process serves up an accessible way to grasp the complex puzzles.

Image Courtesy of Team17

Mastering the basics can be overwhelming in the beginning, but the tutorials do an excellent job of introducing new mechanics in an easily digestible way. Once you understand how the game works, the real challenge comes in producing meals as quickly and efficiently as possible. There’re rewards for completing a level by using as few ingredients and as little energy as possible, and trimming the fat of the production line quickly becomes an obsession. Hitting the play button and watching your production run smoothly is incredibly satisfying.

That’s not to say that the challenges are easy. It regularly took me up to half an hour to figure out how to best lay out my kitchen, and the difficulty only increases as the levels progress and you’re given more complex orders, more difficult workspaces and kitchen disasters to contend with.

Image Courtesy of Team17

Visually, Automachef is suitably simplistic for this type of puzzle game. With a pastel colour palette accompanied by a stylish tilt-shift depth of field effect, each kitchen is depicted as a miniature diorama set, all of which are gorgeous to look at. Each asset design is easily distinguishable, which is appreciated when the screen gets busy in the more complex puzzles.

The accompanying music tracks that are included are excellent, with lighthearted motifs helping to keep the tone calm as you struggle to think through some logic. Unfortunately there are a limited number of tracks available in the game, and with each puzzle taking up to 30 minutes to complete, you’re likely to hear the same track multiple times within one puzzle. They’re of excellent quality but can get repetitive quickly.

Image Courtesy of Team17

While the user interface is mostly great, conveying essential information efficiently at a glance, some of the menus prove cumbersome to navigate with a mouse and keyboard, The same can be said of the controls, with some buttons performing multiple, context-sensitive actions. They’re minor complaints, but I found myself wrestling with menus more than I’d like.

Despite its flawed controls, Automachef brings a fresh and engaging perspective to the scene of cooking simulators with intelligent logic based puzzles taking centre stage. It would be the perfect companion for any Switch owner or anyone with an interest of getting to grips with the basic concept of coding.

Automachef will be released later this year byTeam17. Find out more here.

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