Depending on what you’re looking for in your cooking sim this will either sizzle or get sent back
Cooking games have always seemed to be pretty firmly in 2 different camps, with the more casual arcade-style food prep games on one side and the more simmy ones on the other. As the name implies, Chef Life isn’t going to be mistaken for a game you’d be able to play on your phone, instead really leaning into that simulation feel to an extent I’ve not seen to date. Other titles have forced you to physically move around your kitchen, grab equipment and ingredients, and work through pretty directly preparing your meals. Chef Life takes it further, in many ways looking to earn the game equivalent of a Michelin star by putting an emphasis on both the recipes, being sure you walk through the prep and cooking staying focused on timing and details, but then also giving you the opportunity to customize the presentation of your plate, usually including a surprising variety in potential looks you can go for. Now, this doesn’t always work flawlessly. The pacing can be slow and cumbersome at times while you get the hang of where everything is and how the controls typically work for completing tasks. In particular the playing was occasionally tougher than is intended, and I’d get a bit stuck as I was trying to move to the next step but there were no indicators helping me know what the problem was. Regardless, Chef Life really goes the extra mile to try to bring the full experience of the kitchen to the table if you don’t mind its less quickfire and action-oriented approach.
Justin Nation, Score: