Good food has the power to bring people together in exciting new experiences. A hearty meal is an adventure – one that’ll take you places, and have you relishing the peoples and cultures of the world.
That’s precisely the message “Chef Wars” aims to impart. A free-to-play mobile role-playing game (RPG) that celebrates food from around the globe, “Chef Wars” is as much about the journey of discovery as it is about cooking.
“Unlike many food games that focus on cooking motions or cafe management, ours is focused on real-world exploration and discovery,” said the game’s Pinoy indie developer Mindcake Games. “You travel around the globe, invent up to 900 recipes, and fight in Iron Chef-styled themed kitchen battles for fame and fortune!”
All that, and it proudly exhibits the joys of Filipino cuisine, as well!
A delectable adventure
“The aim [of ‘Chef Wars’] is to be a famous Master Chef and stop the evil Baron von Pork from world domination,” explains Mindcake Games CEO and co-founder Clifford Lim. The Baron, you see, is cooking up a recipe so delicious it’ll control the minds of the world’s leaders!
Mindcake Games calls “Chef Wars” a “Food Discovery RPG” – an apt description, given it centers on gastronomic delights, and boasts many features that make it a wonderful contribution to the RPG genre.
“Chef Wars” has you exploring a massive open world composed of over 50 countries dotted with towns, cities, and other points of interest. You can buy ingredients from marketplaces, learn new recipes, juicy secrets, and an assortment of helpful tips by chatting people up in taverns; challenge other chefs to cooking “battles” in towns and cities, and more. Winning battles yields rewards such as money, ingredients, and fame.
Of course, you’ll need to discover new recipes if you want to taste the glory of victory in these battles. By returning to base, you can experiment with various ingredient combinations. Correctly guess or reproduce a recipe from hints you’ve acquired along your journey, and you’ll be able to add new dishes to your personal menu.
“Inventing” recipes this way isn’t always easy. Thankfully, “Chef Wars” offers you plenty of opportunities to enhance your characters’ abilities. By leveling up your chef’s core strengths, they can grow better at coming up with new meals, performing in battles, spotting the best ingredients during market visits, and more. Recipes can also be “upgraded” to make them more delicious and therefore more effective in cooking showdowns.
You can recruit around 30 chefs (each with their own backstory) to assist you in your adventure, with each of them having unique traits that give them specific advantages. For example, one of the starting characters boasts a specialty in French cuisine.
Be prepared for quests, as well, as “Chef Wars” has you navigating the globe going head to head with rival and boss chefs, participating in foodie events, and more. And when you’re feeling competitive, PVP and global rankings will give you the chance to show off your cooking skills to your friends and the rest of the world.
As an extra treat to players, “Chef Wars” directs you to online sites where you can learn each in-game recipe, should you be interested in replicating it in the real world.
Mindcake Games was founded in 2015 when Clifford Lim and Karlo Licudine joined forces to satisfy their craving to create video games.
Together, they have years of experience to help them in their latest venture. Lim boasts a background in AAA publishing working for Take-Two Interactive/2K Games; you’ll recognize them as the video game companies behind the popular “Sid Meier’s Civilization,” “Borderlands,” and “NBA2K” franchises. Licudine is a veteran indie game developer who was formerly a Chairperson at the Manila Chapter of the International Game Developers Association. He is now Mindcake Games’ CTO and lead developer.
The team eventually became a three-person endeavor with the addition of artist Lois Laqui.
Their first game, “Chef Wars,” was launched in late 2017. It was inspired by legendary video games and Mindcake Games’ desire to create experiences celebrating people and culture.
“The main reason we made ‘Chef Wars’ the last 3 years is we’re passionate about building light-hearted discovery games!” stated Lim. “Inspired by greats like ‘Carmen Sandiego,’ ‘Uncharted Waters: New Horizons,’ and ‘Sid Meier’s Civilization’ series, we want to pique people’s interest about different cultures… help them better appreciate our diversity but also our common humanity. God knows we need a little more understanding in today’s world! We just happened to start with food!”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Pinoy-made game without the inclusion of Filipino cuisine.
“There are 37 Pinoy dishes in the game from Halo-Halo to Pinakbet!” explained Lim. “And you can visit 15 cities and towns in the Philippines from Tuguegarao to Jolo! The townspeople share tidbits about local culture like feasts and celebrations, and you get to fight in many Filipino-themed battles along the way!”
An overwhelmingly positive reception
Since its launch, “Chef Wars” has received a ton of positive feedback.
For starters, it was an Indie Prize 2017 Finalist at Casual Connect Asia 2017, and an International Mobile Gaming Awards SEA Finalist.
Both Apple and Google have featured “Chef Wars” on their respective stores numerous times. In the Apple iTunes Rankings, it became the #1 RPG in 24 countries, was in the top 5 in 89, and was the #1 Educational Game in 104.
Among other recognitions, it appeared on Apple’s Our Favorite Indie Games, Compelling Concepts, and Gorgeous Graphics lists. In December, it was honored as one of Google Play’s Best of 2017 in the Best Indie Category. As of writing, it is enjoying the Editor’s Choice badge on the Google Play Store.
It has also been featured on international sites like Player.One and Heavy.com.
Mindcake Games isn’t done with “Chef Wars”; the team will continue to add content such as new recipes and battles. December’s Winter Update introduced PVP and even covered the world in snow.
“For future updates, we also plan to add new countries, and will continue with the seasonal changes,” said Lim. The Spring recipes and battles are already being planned.
In addition, the team is considering a lighter “Chef Wars” spinoff or companion app. This will take the form of a simpler food trivia game allowing players to invent recipes with every completed quiz.
Mindcake Games won’t be limiting themselves to “Chef Wars,” however, and making a completely unrelated game isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Whatever they come up with next, it will likely feature an educational and exploration angle once again, in alignment with Mindcake Games’ goals to have players discover and celebrate different cultures. — LA, GMA News
“Chef Wars” is available on the Google Play Store and App Store. Check out: website. Facebook.