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Game Review #110: Battle Chef Brigade (Nintendo Switch)

Updated: Jan 30, 2019

Reviewer: Jordan M.

Developer: Trinket Studios

Publisher: Adult Swim Games

Category: Puzzle

Release Date: 11.20.2017

Price (at time of review): $19.99 (digital) | $34.99 (physical)

Buy Battle Chef Brigade (digital) from the Nintendo eShop here.

Buy Battle Chef Brigade (physical) from Best Buy here.

Harry Potter Meets Iron Chef

Starting with a Kickstarter campaign in 2014, this game follows the adventures of 21-year-old Mina Han, who is dreaming of a bigger life beyond working at her parents’ restaurant in her small village. She dreams of being part of the Battle Chef Brigade, an elite team dedicated to slaying monsters and serving them up in unique, delightful dishes. Mina and other chefs from all across Victusia must face off in the big cooking tournament to determine who has what it takes to become a Brigadier. Whose food will reign supreme?

Let me be the first to say I have never been big into puzzle-solving/tile-matching games. The Candy Crush era of the last ten years has made that candy taste sour in the mouth to me. I can totally understand how for many people it is a casual way to pass time. As a gamer, however, it has never been something for me. One thing that is interesting about this game is that it goes between two very different styles of play. I hesitate to call it either a platformer or a tile-matching puzzle game, because it is a charming combination of both. The game goes between using magic and physical attacks to defeat enemies and harvest ingredients, then switching over to a tile-matching puzzler, in order to cook up different entrees and serve the most delicious courses to your judges.

More Than Meets the Iron Skillet

This game may come across as simple and innocent at first, but don't let it fool you. The cooking challenges start out pretty basic: gather ingredients by killing small monsters or harvesting fruits or vegetables, bring them back into the kitchen, and cook them up by matching color tile combinations to achieve the highest dish score possible. Sounds pretty simple, right? Just like the television show Iron Chef, challenges will revolve around a specific ingredient, which is up to you to find and return with. Judges may ask for the dish to be paired with certain flavors, such as an earthy flavor, etc. As you continue, some judges have specific tastes, requesting more water-based or fire-based tiles in your dish. Did I mention that, just like the real Iron Chef, all this is done within a time limit? Oh yeah...

Luckily, to help you in your challenges, Mina has three different loadouts for items, having nine slots altogether for three separate categories. Combat allows you to equip items which boost your health and mana. Some items will also allow you to have an effect on enemies by freezing or burning them with attacks. Cooking allows you to equip unique ingredients which will offer you specific colors for matching during your cooking puzzles. You can also receive Apprentice Expertise, which grants certain bonuses such as serving a dish with all the ingredients from your match's theme monster. Cookware allows you to equip specific cooking pans which allow bonuses for certain colors during puzzle matches. This can be a little overwhelming at first, trying to quickly move your dish from one pot to the next in order to achieve specific color-combo bonuses, allowing you to receive the highest score for your meal.

As the game progresses, your challenges from rival chefs become a lot more challenging. They begin preparing much more complicated dishes and using more unique ingredients. Be smart and try to prepare for each challenge before heading into it, as not having the right items equipped may wind up costing you the match. Each chef you challenge and defeat will offer you a trinket of some sort, which you can mix and match to your loadout equipment to mix and match your stats.

The enemies you face for ingredients in the wild become more challenging as you continue as well. I'm not gonna lie, the first time I faced a dragon, he messed me up a bit. Luckily, thanks to odd jobs available in town, Mina is able to earn money to buy new abilities, which are able to help in combat. The jobs range from solving puzzles, to hunting different types of enemies, to cooking up short-order meals or making tile combos in a restaurant. Each job rewards Mina with coins which can be used on items and upgrades.

Take Me Down to Side Scroll City Where the Grass is Green and Visuals are Pretty

Battle Chef Brigade is pretty much a straightforward 2D side-scrolling platformer with simple button commands. Y is your physical attack, and X allows you to use your special wind powers. Different combinations of the D pad and buttons will give you different abilities such as uppercuts or a devastating wind tornado. Mina is also able to purchase additional abilities from shops throughout the game. For your cooking station, X will load your pantry where all your items you've harvested are kept.

The visuals in this game, to me, are honestly a delight. The game itself plays out much in the style of a visual novel, but doesn't drag on, as I feel a lot of visual novel games tend to do. The animation is crisp and clean and looks fantastic. The enemies are varied, and the characters in the game are all interesting. Mina is a sweet and ambitious (if not a little bit sleepy) character. The soundtrack goes great and makes the matches seem exciting. If you are a fan of cooking show challenges, then this will be a real treat for you. This game, to me personally, feels like it could have been right at home as a PS One game.

Finishing Up Our Meal

This is honestly the type of game which is perfect for Nintendo Switch. It can easily be played on the go and has a little bit to appeal to everyone. This game is fantastic for anyone who is looking for something lighthearted with a bit of a challenge to it. My only real negative opinion of this game is I wish the chapters were a little longer, especially the first few, but the game is stretched out with different challenges and odd jobs, etc. When the only complaint is you wish the game lasted longer, I take that as a great sign. I would definitely look forward to hearing news of a sequel from this series sometime in the future.

Score: 9/10

Buy Battle Chef Brigade (digital) from the Nintendo eShop here.

Buy Battle Chef Brigade (physical) from Best Buy here.

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