I was craving something a little different right around the time Battle Chef Brigade was offered as a free game via Twitch Prime. I streamed my entire playthrough and found that this game’s bizarre combination of RPG, brawler, and puzzle gameplay was a delight.
Battle Chef Brigade takes place in a fantasy world overrun with monsters. The people of this world decide that the only solution to this monster infestation is to amass a legion of Battle Chefs to slay these monsters and then cook them into fine cuisine in Iron Chef-like tournaments. Mina, the game’s protagonist, is an aspiring Battle Chef who must complete a series of challenges and competitions in order to be inducted into the Brigade. The main focus of the gameplay is the culinary tournaments in which players must juggle their time between gather ingredients by slaying monsters and cooking these ingredients into dishes to submit to the judges. Combat with monsters is in the style of a 2D side-scrolling brawler, while cooking takes the form of a match-3 puzzle game in which each color of blocks represents a different flavor.
- My description may have not done it justice, but Battle Chef Brigade has one of the most original premises and gameplay loops I’ve seen in a game in many years. This game’s fantasy-meets-Food-Network world and brawler/RPG/puzzle mechanics all work really well together.
- The gameplay is complemented by a story with quirky characters and strong writing. I found myself far more invested in the characters and story of this game than I expected.
- I really like the voice acting in this game. Each character has a unique voice that conveys their personality even though the animation during dialog is often minimal. The standout performance for me was tournament chairman. His actor absolutely nails the corny and self-serious tone of an Iron Chef host. It brought a smile to my face during every bout.
- The character designs are quite striking. Even minor NPCs have a distinct look. In crowd shots during story sequences, I’d often pick out a few individuals and find myself saying “I wanna know more about that person!”
- Being a hybrid game, Battle Chef Brigade keeps each of its mechanics relatively simple. The combat only offers a handful of techniques, but they’re fun to pull off. Similarly, the puzzles build in their level of challenge throughout the game but the core is not complex.
- I didn’t go into this game knowing what music would best go along with baking a dragon heart, but somehow Battle Chef Brigade figured it out.
- Once you’ve gotten far enough to get the hang of all the mechanics, meet all the characters and figure out where the story is ultimately going to go, the gameplay begins to feel a little repetitive toward the end. Thankfully, this isn’t a game that outstays its welcome.
- In one chapter you play as one of the side characters instead of the protagonist, Mina. This chapter offers some somewhat interesting one-time mechanics but otherwise feels like filler. I would’ve rather kept the main story moving.
- The judges of the Battle Chef tournament judges use an inconsistent scoring system that takes getting used to. For example, dishes containing poison are penalized less than foods that contain the wrong balance of flavors.
Completion Time: 13 hours, 30 minutes