Monday, March 11

Review: World Tree Marché [Nintendo Switch eShop]

What’s great in a diverse game marketplace is that there’s room for games for pretty well everyone. What may sometimes be hard to remember with that sentiment is that there are likely to be quite a number of titles that you personally won’t like but that others may find some enjoyment in. I try to generally keep an open mind to everything, working to identify who a game is made for and at least consider the merits of any experience on those terms. That brings us to the bright, cheery, and very pleasant World Tree Marché, which is no doubt cute charming but also generally runs the risk of being more of a semi-interactive experience than a game per se.

You play the game as a young former Royal Food Advisor who has an unorthodox style and is trying to revive a struggling market under the shade of the World Tree. Starting out you’ll work with a cheery baker by the name of Anise, the first in a line of 6 different spice-themed chefs you’ll work with on your journey. Gameplay is surprisingly basic, almost to the point I’d say it’s limited. For each chef and their respective shop you’ll work to create new and exciting recipes for them to feature. Once you’ve added new foods to their menus you’ll need to regularly go to the market, though that’s actually more of an odd routine where you’ll encounter Punyions who’ll bring them to you, with some bonus goods if you bring them food you like.

In order to make progress you’ll need to keep your food selling, which will build currency which you can use to buy balloons to give your shops some stat boosts as well as points which you’ll need to concoct new recipes. As you do all of this periodically you’ll then get an opportunity to chat with each of the chefs and get to know more about them. As you do this you’ll slowly improve your relationship with them and that will slowly give you access to new ingredients and classes of recipes they’ll be able to handle from you.

For the most part all of this is nice, mild, and generally relaxing fun but it’s hard not to miss how “on rails” the entire experience feels. In the end there’s little to no real player agency of note, you’re just going to move through the story at a measured pace while upgrading as you go. There’s no doubt you won’t necessarily do things in the same precise order as someone else but your destination very much feels locked on a path. Since it’s all charming, full of quirky dialogue and unusual culinary creations, this complaint may not be a big deal to folks but it’s a fact that’s hard not to notice and at times it then almost feels more like an interactive novel in a way than a proper game.

All things considered, if you’re looking for something a bit odd with a relatively simply gameplay loop, strange dishes, and light fun without a great deal of challenge you may find World Tree Marché to be for you. While I suppose most narratively-driven games are essentially following a pre-determined path in this case that fact may just be more apparent than normal. If you enjoy baking, some quirky Japanese humor, and the comfort of repetition you may find it suits your tastes.

Score: 6.5

  • Filled with unusual characters, recipes, and situations
  • In general it isn’t a taxing experience at all and plays out with a pleasant ease

  • The loop gets to be repetitive after a while and could grate on your nerves if the story beats and general charm don’t appeal to you
  • Player agency and any sense of choices that carry a consequence are pretty well thrown out the window