Sometimes all it takes is a delicious cake to take an otherwise stressful, downer of a day and turn it around whether that’s an icing-covered doughnut or a light and fluffy cheesecake. Yum! Turns out pitting these tasty treats against one another in a series of mini-games can be good fun too, something developer High Tea Frog have proven with their party game Cake Bash.
Cake Bash is essentially a small assortment of mini-games all wrapped in a sweet and delicious looking visual style playable for up to four either locally, online or with computer opponents. You’ll compete as doughnuts, muffins, cheesecakes and more sweet treats in events that are fast and utilise simple controls. Think Mario Party minus the board game aspect and with far more cakes.
The selection of mini-games on offer prove both entertaining and silly in equal measures. While they’re far from complex or deep, their chaotic and competitive nature help keep the action feeling exciting and hilarious. Mini-games come in two flavours (see what I did there?), the first taking on a more battle-heavy approach, players running and punching their way around a number of arenas to get the highest score. This might be collecting more jelly beans – which annoyingly can be scattered everywhere with a swift punch from your opponents – or holding onto a sparkler for as long as possible. These are the most hectic of the bunch, the constant threat of a player knocking you out with a lollipop or barging in on your potential points stressful and tense. Then you have more unique mini-games that mostly have your focus on your own performance such as roasting marshmallows on an open fire without burning them. There’s a good variety to the games that make great use of their cake-based settings. A personal favourite of our group titled ‘Fork Knife’ has players dashing on top of a cake avoiding stabbing forks and slicing knives. Last cake left standing wins. It’s tense, it’s exciting and the added slow-motion effect as someone is picked off proves especially funny.
While you’re free to pick and choose any of the mini-games in Recipe mode, Get Tasty mode offers something a little more structured. In it, players compete in seven different mini-games, your performance in each determining how many coins you’ll then earn. These coins can then be spent on toppings for your cake at scheduled intervals between mini-games. The tastier your cake looks, the more points you’ll receive at the end of the competition while collecting three of the same topping will score you further bonus points. Highest score at the end of it all wins. It’s a neat way to bundle mini-games together in a bigger competition, it’s just a shame there’s just the one mode.
As much fun as we had playing a few rounds of Cake Bash with friends, that enjoyment felt short-lived largely thanks to an overall lack of content and variety, arguably the game’s biggest downfall. At only a dozen mini-games (with some offering slight variations) and just two game modes (one of which is essentially a free play option) you’ll see pretty much everything the game has to offer within an hour or two at most. Compare this with the likes of the Mario Party series that has upwards of eighty mini-games (not to mention the board game aspect too) and Cake Bash definitely feels lightweight. This limited line-up leads to games repeating often and repetition setting in. Even a few extra game modes may have helped keep things feeling fresh since again Get Tasty can lose its appeal after prolonged playing.
If there’s one area the game can’t be faulted for it’s the presentation. The whole cake idea is used wonderfully not just in terms of visuals but the ideas of the mini-games themselves. Your characters are charming and often funny just to watch dash around while the unlockable skins for each cake type are creative in their design. I never knew I wanted a cheesecake with a space theme until I saw it in this game. All in all, the game is just plain delightful to look at.
It’s goes without saying but Cake Bash is a game that falls flat if played alone. Like any party game experience, you will want to play this with others. If you’re not able to do that locally, thankfully the online mode can help fill out those slots.
Cake Bash is cute, colourful and a delightful time with friends but it’s hindered by a lack of content. While we enjoyed unlocking new cakes and trying to be as tasty as possible over the first couple of hours, the slim mini-game selection results in repetition creeping its way in far sooner than you’d want. Cake Bash is a tasty party game but just like eating a cake, you’re left wanting more.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Coatsink Software