Sep 09, 2019

Automachef Review

Lights Off
4 Awesome
Retails for: $14.99
We Recommend: $14.99
  • Developer: Hermes Interactive
  • Publisher: Team17 Digital Ltd
  • Genre: Indie, Simulation
  • Released: Jul 23, 2019
  • Platform: Windows, Switch
  • Reviewed: Windows

In Automachef, the goal is to create an automated kitchen, free of any human hands. Well, other than your skillful planning, of course. You have to tactfully prepare foods via robotic devices and cook food on automated cookware. It’s all about efficiency and making sure you can cook the most while using as little power and wasted ingredients as possible. Automachef is the perfect game for those of us who love dwelling into the intricacies & logistics of a well-oiled machine.

As I mentioned, the game is all about making an automated kitchen. You’re given a kitchen space and tasked with using the delegated equipment and cookware to finish off a list of food orders similarly to how one would expect an average restaurant to do. So think of it this way, a customer orders a cheeseburger. You’ll need a dispenser to dispense each ingredient. A dispenser can only dish out one though, so if you break down a cheeseburger, you need buns, meat, and cheese. In this scenario, you’ll use three dispensers for popping out buns, ground meat, and a wedge of cheese. The buns are ready, but now you have to cook your meat and slice the cheese. Use a Grill for cooking the burger and another machine to slice the cheese. Finally, you have the ingredients for a cheeseburger.

You still need to lay down a line of conveyor belts for each ingredient to reach each machine. I should also mention that you’ll need automated robot arms to deliver each ingredient from the conveyor belt onto each machine. Let’s not forget the actual assembly of the sandwich! That has to be done by an assembly machine which, you guessed it, has to have the ingredients sent to it via conveyor belts and robotic arms as well. Oh, we’re not done because the food has to get to the delivery point, so even more conveyor belts and arms are needed. The machines will keep running too. You’ll need to program some basic intelligence not to waste ingredients or produce certain ingredients too fast. As you can probably tell, things can get complicated quick.

Once you see the tools and are given and the underlying intelligence of some of the automated stuff, it’s pretty intuitive. You’ll understand what you’ll need to do after the first few tutorials easily. The challenge comes in its later complexity. When orders become more diverse and when you’re limited on how much power your kitchen can consume or how many ingredients you’re allowed to waste. You can do this in two separate modes, a campaign mode where there are over 40 different scenarios to indulge in and a contract mode. The campaign tasks you with the limitations I mentioned above, while the contract mode lets you start your own business designing automated kitchens for clients. Meet each client’s demands, and you’ll earn money to take on larger contracts and upgraded equipment for more efficiency. My recommendation for would-be players is to dive into the campaign so that you can get your feet wet. It’s a great way to learn the machinery, and it will prepare you for the contract mode.

So for those who are not into these factory/assembly type games, you’ll find it’s no different than any of those. Things will get repetitive, and it will require some extended thinking and planning. Automachef isn’t a managerial game, and this isn’t a cooking sim, so it’s not going to scratch any of those itches. Your carrot on a stick here is trying to automate your kitchen more efficiently. Because of this, it does leave a lot to be desired. There are no customer interactions and not much in the way of flavor text. You do get a quirky robot supervisor who accompanies you in the campaign with some funny bits, but that’s it.

I found Automachef to be incredibly addictive and thoughtful. It was enjoyable to try and create assembly lines and tickle my brain to try and make it better. I must admit, there were a few times where I had to browse the internet for tips on making my kitchen more efficient. I mean, it’s all just a learning process in the end. It’s another way to play a puzzle game and who of us out there don’t like to dabble in a puzzle now and then. You know, in a way it’s like a machine learning how to complete a task. Are we just machines, machines that work to create our fuel to sustain our functionality to live? Machines that have made it so that we have created new machines to make our fuel and have them produce their own? What madness is Automachef doing to my brain?

A Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes