Food Fantasy is a game that on paper shouldn’t work but does and does so fantastically. In a nutshell, the mobile game from Elex (Elex Wireless) is a cooking sim, business sim, and JRPG hybrid. Players are tasked with running and maintaining a restaurant while at the same time protecting the world from evil Fallen Angels. Throughout the game players summon Food Souls, personified food spirits used to run your kitchen, serve tables and fight harrowing battles. Not convinced? So wasn’t I until I actually got my fingers dirty and played the game. Once I did, the gameplay pulled me in from every angle.
Although the story won’t tug at your heartstrings by any means, it’s the mobile game mechanics that Elex has down to a science that can keep you entertained both for hours at a time or just ten minutes during your commute. While the graphics are stunning and the developers did a wonderful job with the soundtrack and audio, the trailers of the game are confusing and unfortunately don’t do the game justice. If you were confused or put-off by what you’ve read or seen so far, don’t let it stop you from downloading the game and giving it a try. You’ll likely be glad that you did.
The story of Food Fantasy leaves much to be desired, but in the end most people generally don’t play mobile games expecting a tear-jerking and inspiring story to come out of it. With that said, the story of the game is built and developed well enough to justify the gameplay mechanics which are far from mainstream. Why open a restaurant? Why decide to go off on journeys and fight epic battles against demons and monsters with the life of your restaurant hanging on your back? The story answers all these questions.
In Food Fantasy players are free to choose their own user id and avatar photo, but other than that their role is defined for them: an aspiring entrepreneur with the dream of running a successful restaurant. When opening your restaurant you’re free to choose the type of cuisine which corresponds to an area on the world map.You will be introduced to food souls which are spirits or beings who look and act just like humans do. These food souls are your partners and allies who you summon to help you run your restaurant and fight your battles. While you’re busy trying to build your restaurant empire, you are also called upon to help protect the world form evil monsters or demons known as Fallen Angels who seek to consume food souls and terrorize the world. Fighting these creatures is necessary to a. further the story of the game and level up your character, and b. collect ingredients and supplies to make new dishes and further build your restaurant.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO
The character design is as over-the-top as it is brilliant. The task of personifying food and drinks is no easy one and completing said task without coming off as cheesy or predictable is an amazing feat. Elex’s choice of anime sprites, costume design, and voice cast seemed to fall together perfectly into an oddly satisfying combination sleek uncanniness. The soundtrack is beautiful and characterizing while at the same time varied enough never to overstay its welcome.
In 2018 what should we look for in terms of graphics? Yes, it’s important to acknowledge the limited capacity of a smartphone versus a Playstation 4 or an Xbox ONE X. However, in this day and age there is no excuse for battle animations to consist of 3 stationary enemy sprites in the middle of a screen and an uninspired animation of a scratch mark over the enemy sprite. This style of battle animation is something that seriously hindered the Etrian Odyssey series on the Nintendo DS and 3DS. Luckily, Food Fantasy pulls no punches in the battle animation department. In-battle sprites move forward and backward when attacking, jump, somersault and everything in between. On top of that every attack has a different animation and special attacks trigger superimposed animations similar to limit breaks in the Final Fantasy series.
Note: this game was reviewed on and ran beautifully on the LG Nexus 5X running Android 8.0.0
The gameplay of Food Fantasy boils down to three main elements: managing your restaurant, exploring the world while fighting Fallen angels, and lastly summoning and levelling up your food souls. While it may sound simple, each of those components have a lot of mechanics and intricacies built in to them. While it may seem like a jumbled mash up of elements that don’t mix, the opposite is actually true:
Taking care of the restaurant means you have to keep it staffed, keep the menu fresh, and deal with delinquents looking to dine and dash. The amount of food souls you’ll need to keep the restaurant running depends both on the level and size of your restaurant. The higher your level, the more food you’ll be able to make at one time, the more tables you’ll be able to place and the more money you’ll be able to make.
However just like normal food, food souls have a limited amount of freshness. Their freshness gauge represents their energy and when a food soul runs out of freshness they either need to be replaced or fed magic food to replenish their freshness levels. However, customers aren’t easy to please and thus restaurant owners must keep the menu both delicious and varied. To do that, you’ll need to develop new recipes and before you can start cooking you have to get the ingredients.
Fighting and Collecting Ingredients
Like all other JRPGs Food Fantasy incorporates elements of map exploration and battles. Moreover, the results of your battles directly effect the success of your restaurant. The spoils of victory are the very ingredients you'll need to develop new recipes and keep your restaurant going. In this way, Food Fantasy seamlessly and brilliantly blends mechanics of the JRPG genre and cooking simulator genre into one solid and unified game that shouldn’t work but does. Elex made an interesting choice when it comes to battle mechanics. In battle, food souls attack enemies and heal each other automatically. The player’s job in battle is to activate special abilities when needed and support their food souls by tapping away enemy supporting forces, tapping their food souls to heal status ailments and occasionally tapping enemies in short time-based sequences to interrupt the enemy’s special attacks.
At first, the battle mechanics may seem aimless, but after more special abilities are unlocked battles become a game of timing and strategy. However, while the battles normally end in less than 60 seconds, sometimes people don’t have that time. The developers prepared for that and added the Sweep mechanic. At any previously cleared stage, players have the option to Sweep the stage which means to automatically bypass the battle and collect the loot. It is important to note that every battle consumes a player’s heart points or energy points. These points are limited and must be accumulated by signing in each day or completing quests.
Summoning and Levelling Up Food Souls
One important element of JRPGs and mobile games in general is the collection of characters and the feeling of progress. Food Fantasy achieves this with the summoning of Food Souls and the enhancement of their abilities. Food Souls are necessary in every aspect of the game and are literally and figuratively the heart and soul of Food Fantasy as a whole. The level of your Food Souls cannot be higher than the level of your main character. In order to level up your main character you have to complete quests in the game. In order to complete higher, more difficult quests stronger Food Souls must be summoned. Oour parties must be strategically constructed just as a chef’s dish must include foods with flavors that compliment each other.
Players are required to constantly level up Food Souls in order to be powerful enough to clear higher stages. In turn, that means the player’s main character can also grow and as a result so does the fame and fortune or the player’s restaurant. Food Souls level up by gaining experience from defeating enemies in battle. Alternatively, players can acquire experience potions from loot drops after battles as well as purchasing them from the in-game store using in-game currency. Food Souls are summoned in the same way. Either the player can collect enough of the required in-game currency to summon a new Food Soul or simply purchase the required in-game currency using real money.
Micro Transactions/In-game Purchases
Being a mobile game, Food Fantasy isn’t without its in-game purchases. In-game currency is easily and constantly acquired in the game by completing quests or simply opening the app everyday. However, players can also choose to spend real money to purchase in-game currency. This currency is used to summon new food souls, speed up cooking in your restaurant, instantly develop new recipes and so on. To be perfectly frank and clear, in-game currency is important to the progress and enjoyment of the game. However, purchasing in-game currency using real money is not necessary. Will the game be slower without the purchase of in-game currency? Yes, of course, just as it is in almost every mobile game with in-game purchases. Is the game still enjoyable without spending a dime? Undoubtedly so.
Search Elex or Elex Wireless on the Google Play Store or Apple Store and you’ll see a long list of wildly successful and well-loved mobile games. I had never played a game by the developer before, but after playing Food Fantasy it’s easy to see why their past releases had such great success. Put simply, Elex has an incredibly strong grasp of the mobile game genre and has gotten the construction of a mobile game down to a science. The developer knows what players want, knows how long players are willing to engage in certain tasks and has created the perfect balance of game progress and maintenance that can keep players coming back for minutes or hours at a time.
If you’re looking for a heartbreaking or emotionally moving epic story, unfortunately you’ve come to the wrong place. However, if you’re looking for something that is easy to pickup and enjoyable for 5 minutes during your commute or an hour while lying down in bed Food Fantasy is a perfect match. The graphics, soundtrack, and voice acting are top quality, far surpassing what is commonly expected in a mobile game. While in-game purchases will make the game move faster they are not necessary to the enjoyment and experience of the game as a whole. With such high production value, it’s a wonder that the game is available for free. Gamers who have had their interests piqued by the premise of the game or are looking for something far from the ordinary should definitely give Food Fantasy a serious playthrough.
|+ Unique and wacky premise||– Generic JRPG story|
|+ Expertly utilizes multiple game genres||– Includes micro transactions|
|+ All aspects of gameplay compliment each other|
|+ Beautiful character design and superb voice acting|