Adventure Bar Story is as self-descriptive a title as you’d expect at first glance. Part-RPG and part-bar management simulation, the adventure that awaits revolves around players daringly exploring dungeons to gather ingredients required to cook up the tastiest dishes.
Whereas the bar in question is that owned by Kamerina and her younger sister Siela, who, after their parents presumably passed away, have been left to run what has long been the family business. But, with their lack of expertise, it isn’t going well.
The premise of the narrative in Adventure Bar Story is largely driven by the devious Gustav, a rich restaurateur that wishes to maintain such success by ruthlessly driving his competition out of business. With the financial and political advantage, Kamerina and Siela must work together to make their restaurant as rousingly popular as Gustav’s rival Cassel Garden.
Expectedly, spreading the word about your restaurant throughout the Kingdom of Cassel is key to driving business. But, you’ll need a reason for customers to begin walking through the door. Thankfully Siela’s a dab hand in the kitchen building out a recipe book to spark her culinary imagination, who, as the player’s character, remarks that customers visit the bar to see Kamerina rather than for the food.
It’s down to you to change that, a brief introductory tutorial talking you through how to cook. This will see you take to the stove, flicking through Siela’s recipe book to choose whether to be ‘original’ and throw together one to four ingredients in the hopes of making a successful meal or to rely on a predetermined ‘recipe.’ Experimentation is far more fun, and any recipes that you discover will be added as recipes for later use.
Once you’re happy with the meals that you’ve created, you can ask Kamerina to add them to the menu before opening the restaurant to customers in order to make money. A menu that will tantalise their taste buds is only one way to increase your popularity, with a cooking contest held at Casselburg’s castle being another way to receive great publicity and help raise your bar’s rank.
This is important not only to advance the story but opens up the opportunity to venture to more towns and dungeons where new ingredients await discovery. These can only be visited once per in-game day, and, in delving into the RPG elements in Adventure Bar Story see players earn experience by munching food rather than defeating ravenous monsters.
Such foes still line the dungeons that you trawl through, players, able to assign their party members to a formation that places them either in front to increase attack power and accuracy or at the back to increase their defence and evasion. These battle instances are rather standard RPG fare, the player being able to equip their party with all manner of weaponry and armour to make them hardier. Beating monsters does bring its own reward in allowing you to gain EP, which may then be used to unlock new skills.
It doesn’t end when you eventually become the most renowned restaurant in the kingdom, either. While hundreds of recipes await concocting, once you’ve completed the game a mysterious traveller grants you an item that lets you advance deeper in dungeons that you have already visited.
The largest flaw in Adventure Bar Story lies in a lack of hand-holding, with players left to discover and understand many of the game’s layered elements with little guidance. As always there’s a digital manual, but more effort should have been made to ease the player into the experience without having to keep switching into it.
Despite Adventure Bar Story’s mobile origins, it makes a worthwhile journey across to Nintendo 3DS. Rather plainly presented in both graphical and audial style, scratching below such an appearance soon reveals a unique RPG and simulation blend that is sure to easily find an audience in fans of the genre.
Version Tested: Nintendo 3DS
Review copy provided by CIRCLE Entertainment