Looking to go head to head with Taito’s Cooking Mama [$6.99 / Free], Gameloft’s recently released Pocket Chef [$4.99] is a remarkably similar game, with 3D graphics taking the place of Taito’s sprites. Gameplay involves selecting a food to cook, completing several mini-games in order, and being graded for how fast and accurate you were.
Recipes are simplified to basic steps, and you must perform each of them within a time limit. For instance, when making french toast in game, the first step involves cracking eggs. To crack the eggs, you drag them back then forward to hit the rim of the bowl and finally separate the shell to drop the egg in the bowl. From there you need to stir the eggs by tapping the nearby whisk, and then moving your finger in a circular motion over the mixture.
Following that, you move to the cutting board where you slice up a few loaves of bread by tapping the knife to pick it up, then dragging down across the loaf. The next step involves taking the bread you just sliced, dipping it in to the egg mixture and placing it on another plate, all accomplished by sliding your finger around the screen. Nearing completion, you then tilt the phone to move a pad of butter around the frying pan, then finally cook the french toast, flicking the phone down and up to flip it.
And after all that, you have a glorious virtual piece of french toast for you to… not eat. Pocket Chef features five different kitchens, each with different cuisine ranging from classic American foods to desserts. 25 recipes in total are included, with multiple steps that involve playing through 19 different individual cooking step mini games. There’s also an in-game cookbook that has the actual recipes if you want to try your hand at making some of the in-game food in real life.
Cooking Mama has flirted with various positions near the top end of both the paid games listing as well as the overall paid app listing, so the appeal of these cooking games is undeniable. I just wish I could see what other people saw in the genre, as cooking virtual food seems so unbelievably dull to me. Regardless, if you’ve played through Cooking Mama and are looking for more to cook, Pocket Chef seems to be a competent cooking simulator that I’m sure some will enjoy.
App Store Link: Pocket Chef, $4.99