Dessert Shop review
Dessert Shop is a Facebook game from Shinezone, who for some reason has omitted its name from almost everything to do with the game. It’s available now on the social network, and is presently highlighted on the front page of the App Center.
Dessert Shop is a simple management game in which players take on the role of a pâtissier (or, if they so wish, a pâtissière) that has just opened a new establishment. Through collecting ingredients and combining them together into various recipes, they are able to satisfy their customers with a selection of tasty treats and make money in the process.
Basic gameplay in Dessert Shop is along the same lines as other typical Facebook “Sim” games. Unfolding from an isometric perspective, the game tasks players with placing items which “grow” ingredients every few minutes, harvesting these ingredients and then using them on special cooking stations to create either complete dishes or more complex ingredients that go into other dishes. For example, wheat can be harvested in garden plots, then sent to a grinder to make flour, which can then be used to make other recipes. The items which “grow” ingredients aren’t necessarily plants — special shelves provide the player with basic ingredients like sugar and milk every few minutes, presumably representing deliveries in thematic terms.
As with most games of this type, the player can either run the shop as they please, but faster progress can be made by following a sequence of quests. These are given no “narrative” context or personality whatsoever and frequently repeat the same objectives over and over, so become more of a chore than something that is exciting and interesting to pursue after a while.
As the player makes individual recipes more frequently, they increase the “star rating” of the recipe. When this reaches a certain boundary, they can make the recipe more quickly without having to put all the ingredients in individually and watching an initially endearing but subsequently rather tiresome animation each time. Beyond a three-star rating, too, it becomes possible to add in extra ingredients (such as jam on cookies) to give them a “pink star” rating. Pink star items are worth more money when sold to customers, but have a chance of failing during the cooking process — though success may be guaranteed by expending a rather substantial amount of hard currency.
The game monetizes primarily through this hard currency, which can be used for a variety of purposes. In terms of game flow, it can be used to bypass timers and to purchase resources required to complete certain shop items, which must otherwise be begged for. It can also be spent on energy restoration and some special items — though a number of these don’t explain their purpose in the shop menu, and the game does not ask for confirmation before taking the player’s hard currency if they click on one of these items in an attempt to find out more details. The game’s interface also claims that the player may purchase more soft currency, but clicking on this option simply takes them to the usual shop screen with no option to purchase coins.
On the whole, Dessert Shop is a fairly unremarkable game. As Facebook-based “sim” titles go, it’s not bad, but it’s also not particularly interesting either — everything here has been done better elsewhere. Judging by the game’s official Facebook page, the developers are both transparent about issues with the game and quick to fix them — though on the flip side, the game does seem to have had a lot of significant issues since its launch, with some users complaining of lost progress or missions that don’t work correctly. During testing, the game appeared to work without any problems, but the number of “bug fix” posts on the game’s Timeline is perhaps worthy of some concern.
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Not a bad “sim” game, but nothing we haven’t seen before.