Battle Chef Brigade (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 26.12.2017

Review for Battle Chef Brigade on Nintendo Switch

A brilliant game designer had the genius idea of taking the Iron Chef competitive cooking tournament concept and make a videogame out of it. In lesser hands, Battle Chef Brigade probably would have been a very casual puzzler that would have merely leeched off the endless popularity of the cooking show and called it a day. Trinket Studios sought to do something much more ambitious and went out with some impressive art, great voice acting, and some bold genre mixing. Is Battle Chef Brigade on Nintendo Switch divine culinary craft or is it just fit for the drive-thru window?

Battle Chef Brigade can catch gamers off guard because of how easy it is to get completely endeared by the characters and setting. The unlikely hodgepodge of genres will keep players on their toes, but who could have expected such a silly premise such as fantasy cook-offs could have so much heart to it? Mina, the protagonist of this story, is indelibly written and likeable. Credit to her voice actress, who really sells the character as since there are limitations on expressive portraits, the acting has to make up for the missing artistic flourish. The entire cast manages to carry the scenes very well and truly own their performances.

Screenshot for Battle Chef Brigade on Nintendo Switch

The game cycle of Battle Chef Brigade has a story segment that usually involves some adventuring around town, talking to NPCs, or various activities. The main course is the cooking puzzle sequences and the frantic battles in a 2D beat 'em up format, similar to Muramasa: The Demon Blade, which is where Mina, or sometimes Thrash, throws down with monsters to collect ingredients. The heroine aims to join an elite cooking academy, and to prove she has what it takes, Mina has to square off with a colourful cast of chefs in this strange fantasy setting. The actual cooking gameplay is a matching style puzzler that can be compared to Puyo Puyo or Dr. Mario, where different elements have to be matched, swapped, or rotated. These cooking segments can be some of the most heated moments of the story, especially if Mina starts cooking with ingredients and finds she is out of something of a particular element. This means it is time to put down the cutlery and to make a mad dash into the wilds to wrestle up some grub.

Screenshot for Battle Chef Brigade on Nintendo Switch

When Battle Chef Brigade isn't an intense puzzler, it becomes a very polished platforming beat 'em up. The art really comes into its own in these action sequences since this is where Mina and Thrash are at their most animated. These chefs fight like ninjas and have moves like something out of an anime, with some hilariously awesome, over the top effects. The controls feel very tight and fluid and while it may not be the most technically intricate battle system, it is serviceable to get the point across that these chefs have to fight. The culinary maestros on the continent of Victusia are almost like super heroes in a way, since having to slay large vicious monsters is business as usual and comes with added spectacle.

The time management and puzzle game aspect of Battle Chef Brigade is by far the most challenging quality, whereas the action is definitely the much easier side of things. The act of hunting the monsters for ingredients is simply a great bit of world building and flavour to give an exciting visual flourish. It can be slightly annoying to stop cooking when ingredients are low and you need to leave the competition to hunt, only to have to then frantically make it back to the kitchen. On the other hand, rarely is there a moment when it is annoying to have to stop hunting to go back to the kitchen, though.

Screenshot for Battle Chef Brigade on Nintendo Switch

The cooking competitions are the real heart of Battle Chef Brigade. As mentioned before, it is a variation on the Puyo Puyo style, which entails matching Robotnik's mean beans. What is unique is how Mina has to manage her stock and type of coloured "ingredients." Unlike most puzzlers, Mina can find herself completely empty, which is when she has to go and fight monsters. The rotation of the ingredients and making things match is an abstract representation of the actual cooking or stirring, and it is why killing the right monster matters so much, since Mina's pots and pans can only hold so much. Like any good casual release, these simple mechanics are addictive and the added time pressure when in these cook-offs really can make things spicy. The over the top flavour of the Iron Chef to the setting only enhances the atmosphere.

Battle Chef Brigade is a decent length experience that does not overstay its welcome. Clocking in at about 12 hours, the journey goes by pretty quickly thanks to how tight the narrative is woven together. There is some lacking replayability since there is only one ending and one linear path to take. Thankfully, the story presented is satisfying and is way better than it has any business being. It is hard to suggest ways to improve on this concept since it is such an odd and unique game that does manage to keep itself in order and rarely gets bogged down with its various gameplay styles. The only real criticism that could be addressed is the lack of attention given to the animation during cut-scenes. Static, unmoving poses that snap to different frames make it somewhat unexciting. The character's mouths don't even move, nor have they any lip flap of at all. This is so minor and easily addressed that it is disappointing that this was not sorted before release.

Screenshot for Battle Chef Brigade on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Battle Chef Brigade is very entertaining and no Nintendo Switch owner should be without. The production quality is a bit on the cheap side when the story is being presented, and some of the background art can be a bit on the amateurish side, but there really is nothing else like this. Mina is a very likeable character and proves to not only be an awesome cook, but a decent fighter, too. This is an unlikely recipe that turned out to be a real hit. Whether it is in the kitchen or the battlefield, nobody can beat Mina.

Developer

Trinket Studios

Publisher

Adult Swim Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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