Adventure Bar Story for iPhone
Adventure Bar Story from RideonJapan looks like a classic JRPG, but with a crucial difference. You’re not an adventurer who happens to take part in a cooking/crafting mini-game—you’re a chef who goes on adventures to support her restaurant business. Wandering the wilderness and killing monsters yields ingredients to toss in the oven once you get back home. Characters don’t gain levels through combat, but through eating the food you prepare. Your first nemesis is not an evil sorcerer, but a rival restauranteur.
I use the term “JRPG” and not “Japanese roleplaying game” quite purposefully here: If you know what that stands for and you associate it with classic Final Fantasy games, you may quite enjoy Adventure Bar Story. If you’re not already a fan of the genre, however, you may be put off by some of its quirks.
The game does a poor job explaining its system of purchasing goods and crafting from recipes, and the writing is often inane bordering on embarrassing. Add to this multiple awkward control schemes and buttons that leap around the screen depending on where your character is, and it’s not the most accessible game.
For those who are thrilled by the prospect of optimizing cutlery for both the kitchen and the battlefield, however, it may be the only game in town.
[Jason Tocci is a writer based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.]