Straightforward Does it
I don’t say this fairly often about video games that I play — usually as a result of it isn’t one thing that must be stated — however I really feel as if you might want to go into Little Dragons Café with a sure mindset. For those who’re something like me, whenever you heard the identify “Yasuhiro Wada” being tacked onto a recreation like this, your thoughts instantly went to at least one place — Story of Seasons. And that’s superb. In reality, it might be sort of bizarre to not instantly leap to that collection if you already know who Wada is. However I’ll set the document for you straight proper now; Little Dragons Café isn’t Story of Seasons. Whereas it definitely does embody the spirit of SoS in some methods, it by no means tries to be something however itself. And credit score the place it’s due, it does a reasonably good job at distancing itself from its farming-based brethren as a lot as it may.
However that leaves us with one thing else to think about. What do you get once you take a recreation like Story of Seasons and take away its core mechanics? Properly, one thing very… easy. One thing that goes out of its approach to problem the participant as little as potential, and as an alternative allow them to give attention to the world round them. To these wanting a problem — these eager to really feel the joys of each success and failure — you aren’t going to seek out a lot right here. Honestly, that sort of bothered me at first. Nevertheless, as I continued to play, one thing started to happen to me. No matter its precise intentions, Little Dragons Café is principally a youngsters’s recreation. It doesn’t a lot care what you do, nor when or the way you determine to do it. Positive, there are goals to comply with, however none you can truly fail. Little Dragons Café simply needs you to benefit from the simulated life that it’s offering you. And, when you begin let that settle in, the sport turns into much more pleasurable general.
Kitchens and Dragons
Regardless of its endearingly happy-go-lucky angle current all through all the recreation, Little Dragons Café does begin out on a little bit of a bitter observe. The story follows twins Rin and Ren who, together with their mom, work harder in a comfortable café close to the ocean, aptly titled the “Little Dragons Café”. Collectively, the three work onerous, share laughter and love, and reside out their days fortunately… till catastrophe strikes, in fact. In the future, the twins get up to seek out that their mom, relatively than getting ready the café like regular, continues to be in mattress. And she or he isn’t waking up. Fearing for the worst the twins start franticly discussing what to do, till a magical floating grandpa named Pappy seems in entrance of them (I swear that is actually what occurs). He tells the 2 that their mom is definitely half-dragon, that her dragon and human blood isn’t mixing properly together with her dragon blood, and that the twins want to boost their very own dragon to save lots of their mom. He additionally summons a dragon egg for them as a result of, you understand, these aren’t very straightforward to seek out. Rin and Ren not solely comply with this, however additionally they determine to maintain the café open as properly — vowing that every part shall be simply nearly as good because it ever was when their mom lastly awakens.
After studying that, I’m positive that you’ve numerous questions. I did, too. However you’re going to need to shelve all of them, as a result of I can inform you proper now, regardless of not understanding what your actual query is, that you simply in all probability gained’t be getting a solution. LDC isn’t actually one for exposition. It doesn’t concentrate on backstories greater than it has to — particularly on the subject of your personal household — and as an alternative chooses to give attention to the here-and-now. In a means, that’s very admirable. To be truthful, I doubt most youngsters would need to sit down and take heed to a lecture about their probably centuries-long household historical past whereas their mom is actually dying subsequent to them. Nonetheless, I don’t assume that just a little extra exposition at first would have harm. In any case, it’s not day-after-day that you simply discover out that your mother’s half-dragon!
Unusually sufficient, most of LDC doesn’t truly give attention to the twins’ journey to save lots of their mom. As an alternative, it focuses on the various patrons which frequent their quaint, little café. Every of those distinctive patrons ended up being delightfully numerous — and embrace a crybaby warrior, a “catty” pop idol, and even a ghost — and every convey their very own distinctive taste to the tasty smorgasbord of personalities already lining up the café. Naturally, none of those “spotlight patrons” are right here to easily dine and sprint, nevertheless (apart from Billy). Such as you, they every have their very own issues. Issues which, for some cause or one other, introduced them into the Little Dragons Café. And, being the great little youngsters that you’re, you do every part you possibly can to assist them — all whereas by no means failing to neglect your personal duties.
None of Little Dragon Café’s narratives are notably alarming or thought-provoking. They gained’t depart you speechless, nor will they trigger you to assume lengthy after they’ve occurred. However what they may do, nevertheless, is make you smile. If you get right down to it, LDC is about happiness and hope. It’s about not solely taking the time to do what’s proper for your self, however about serving to others nevertheless you’ll be able to alongside the best way. Typically, “just being nice” is all that you actually need to make a narrative satisfying. And in that sense, LDC’s story does fairly nicely for itself.
Exploration Made Straightforward
LDC’s narrative might revolve solely across the café after which the sport is known as, however a lot of the precise gameplay doesn’t happen there. Moderately than forcing the participant to stay caught inside a small (though admittedly very cheerful) café, the participant is as an alternative tasked with exploring the island round them. As a premise, that is fairly thrilling. Sadly, there isn’t truly that a lot to do. Regardless of how the sport units itself up, LDC finally ends up being little greater than an cute, extremely visually interesting strolling simulator with collect-a-thon mechanics thrown in for good measure. You allow your café, gather components — and perhaps the occasional recipe fragment or two — return to your home for some well-deserved sleep, and do it once more the subsequent day. The exploration is enjoyable, don’t get me flawed, nevertheless it’s additionally repetitive. Very repetitive.
Luckily, a few of that repetition is mitigated because of the sport’s personal mascot. Whereas your dragon might not have the ability to do a lot at first, they slowly develop over time and develop new talents within the course of. This, in flip, permits the participant to discover extra of the island. Honestly, I might have appreciated to have seen extra from the participant’s dragon — particularly the place elevating them is worried. Outdoors of feeding and petting them, your dragon just about takes care of itself. Truthfully, after having performed the sport, the dragon looks like sort of a wierd match. I’m conscious that its placement into LDC wasn’t one thing that was deliberate from the beginning, and, regardless of it finally enhancing the sport, it does come throughout as being considerably shoehorned in. By including in further care-taking mechanics, the builders might haven’t solely helped to clean over the truth that including the dragon in was a late choice, but in addition might have added to the sport’s high quality The general lack of interplay together with your dragon actually seems like a missed alternative.
A Bountiful Harvest
As I’ve already stated, LDC locations vital significance on harvesting crops. However on this recreation, you don’t do it in the best way that you simply’re in all probability used to. All of that precise farming? Gone. No have to until soil, plant seeds, and lovingly care for your crops. As an alternative, you’ll discover every part you want within the wild. Don’t get too excited, although. Though scavenging round for all your assets may sound just like the beginnings of a survival or useful resource administration recreation, it isn’t. The island that you simply reside on is lush with flora that, for some unknown cause, has the potential to develop each quite a few and diversified sorts of vegetation. A single harvesting session from one of many many crops inside the recreation might yield you carrots and mushrooms someday, and cabbage and potatoes the subsequent. Heck, that’s not even the weirdest this recreation will get. This recreation even has crops that produce condiments. Have you ever ever reached right into a pitcher planet and pulled out a bottle — a literal bottle — of ketchup? You’ll on this recreation!
Veggies are good and all, however LDC presents foodstuffs of the extra protein-packed selection for gamers to gather as nicely. Dwelling on the island are two forms of “huntable” animals (outdoors of fish, anyway); Yakis and Zuccis. Yakis, LDC’s unusual birdlike creatures merely require that you simply stumble upon them to get them to drop the products. Zuccis, then again, aren’t as easy, requiring that the participant bait them into chasing them after which lead them straight right into a wall. And if that’s an excessive amount of work, you’ll be able to simply get your dragon to take them out (if its grown up sufficient). As irritating because it might be typically because of the odd hitboxes that this recreation employs, searching truly ended up being one among my favourite issues to do. Chasing one thing down (or avoiding the identical destiny) all the time felt like a breath of recent air in comparison with choosing up fruits and veggies and, whereas I want that that they had executed extra with searching, I used to be grateful for what was there.
The randomness of LDC’s assortment mechanics finally ends up being each a blessing and a curse. On one hand, RNG might be sort of enjoyable. The truth that you gained’t all the time get the identical factor may be thrilling, particularly in a low-stakes recreation like this one, and it helps make the very repetitive course of that it LDC’s day-to-day collections really feel much less tedious. However, it additionally tripped me up a number of occasions. Though most components are straightforward to return by, there are a couple of which don’t wish to crop up fairly often. Usually, that may be advantageous, however LDC has no type of ingredient journal in any way — it’s as much as the participant to memorize the place all the things is, and the place the whole lot might be. Due to this, it’s fairly attainable to turn into caught when you don’t know the place to seek out what you’re in search of. I’m okay with not all the time getting what I would like from a search level — I’ve already admitted to liking RNG — however an entire incapability to trace the place issues spawn in a recreation that’s virtually totally about amassing issues appears merciless.
Serving up Smiles (Principally)
All of these elements and recipes that you simply acquire when you’re out aren’t only for present; Little Dragons Café additionally allows you to prepare dinner up culinary delights in your dragon. Cooking isn’t delegated to merely choosing the components and hitting “Okay”, nevertheless. Amusingly, the sport as an alternative truly makes the participant prepare dinner up the dish themselves by means of, of all issues, a rhythm recreation. Usually, I might be all for this. I really like rhythm video games. However LDC has a tiny drawback in relation to truly staying on-tempo. Fortuitously, these beat-based mini video games by no means last more than 10 – 20 seconds, and your general high quality doesn’t truly matter an entire lot, nevertheless it’s nonetheless annoying. I can overlook numerous issues, however there’s no excusing a rhythm recreation whose notes are off-beat no less than 50% of the time.
Gamers are additionally capable of assist their fellow employees members out on the café throughout lunch and dinner hours, and I’m completely satisfied to say that this goes over so much higher than the precise cooking. Working on the café isn’t any harder than some other portion of the sport, with the participant principally simply strolling from place to put as they take orders and serve up meals. It’s a small a part of the sport, and never one which’s truly vital, however it nonetheless makes for a enjoyable break whenever you get uninterested in accumulating issues.
Nice, however Plain
I’ve performed Little Dragons Café during, and my opinions on it are nonetheless, fairly truthfully, very combined. On one hand, I recognize it for what it’s. As a lot as I take pleasure in complicated and troublesome video games, I’m not resistant to the appeal of stopping to odor the pixelated roses. In the event you’re on the lookout for one thing that’s each straightforward and comfortable, LDC is nice. Then again, I used to be anticipating one thing extra from Yasuhiro Wada. There are such a lot of issues that you are able to do on this recreation. You possibly can discover a whole island, prepare dinner distinctive dishes, work in a café, and even increase a dragon — however nothing feels as fleshed out correctly. In the long run, sure, I suppose that I might advocate LDC — it’s a pleasant recreation to take a seat down and unwind with, and I nonetheless stick by what I stated about it being nice for youngsters — simply don’t go in anticipating it to be yet one more Story of Seasons recreation, lest you’ll find yourself being disillusioned.
FINAL VERDICT: three.5/5
Out there on: Nintendo Change (Reviewed), PlayStation four ; Writer: Aksys Video games ; Developer: Aksys Video games, TOYBOX In. ; Gamers: 1 ; Launched: August 24, 2018 ; ESRB: E10+ for Everybody 10+ ; MSRP: $59.99
Full disclosure: This evaluation is predicated on a replica of Little Dragons Café given to Hey Poor Participant by the writer.