by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
Not another nutty Tycoon game
It seems to me that Business Simulation games have fallen from their once so respected position. Games such as Sid Meier’s Railroad Tycoon and Chris Sawyer’s Transport Tycoon have always had a faithful following among both core and casual gamers. But nowadays games with the word Tycoon or anything along those lines in the title seem to be immediate bargain bin material. Looking at lame offerings such as Mall Tycoon and Airport Tycoon, it is not hard to see why core gamers have turned their backs on the genre. Yet it would be unfair to classify all Business Sims as ‘ignoreware’. One game that should not be overlooked is Enlight’s Restaurant Empire 2. A wholly engaging game that proves that not all Business Sims are created equal.
Life as the owner of a restaurant isn’t easy. In fact, it is downright hard at times. Even before you can open the doors of your new establishment you will have to make decisions about the decor, staff, menu and a bucket load of other stuff. Things wouldn’t be so complicated if you had cash coming out of your… ‘behind’, but you are on a budget and have to make choices while spending your funds.
In a nutshell
Many of the decisions you make are carried out using a Sims-like interface. Placing objects, hiring staff, adding or shaping rooms… It is all done with an ease and familiarity that we have come to expect from simulation games. Another similarity with The Sims is that every item has a decoration rating. This rating is one of many that contribute to the overall rating and ambiance of your restaurant. Striving to improve your ratings is the overall goal of the game. There, now you have Restaurant Empire explained in a nutshell. But wait, there’s more. A lot more.
By far the most important rating for your restaurant is the quality of your food. Customers are willing to pay top dollar for great meals but getting food to taste good is determined by more than just the artistry of the chef. Equally important are the recipe and the ingredients that are being used. There are several ways to improve all three factors. The chef will improve each time he prepares the recipe. He will also improve by paying a ‘sharing fee’ to customers who offer tips on how to improve a particular dish. Other customers will put you in touch with suppliers that have better ingredients which you can then select as ‘preferred supplier’ for each individual dish. It is worth nothing that these ingredients may have a higher price, thus increasing the cost of a dish. If the gain in quality is high enough, it may just warrant a price increase, negating the hit your profit will make from using the better quality ingredients.
Serving food for peanuts
Obviously it wouldn’t be fair to rate the food solely based on the quality of the ingredients and the quality of the person cooking the meal. Especially when you are just starting out better suppliers are rare and your chefs will lack skill. You can easily offset this by lowering your food prices. It is entirely possible that a menu-wide discount will increase your sales and result in higher profits.
No Pros and Cons at this time