Game Info:

Adventure Bar Story
Developed by: Rideon Inc.
Published by: Circle Entertainment
Release Date: February 19, 2015
Available on: 3DS, Android, iOS
Genre: RPG
Number of Players: Single-Player
ESRB rating: E 10+
Price: .99-$2.99 on mobile, $5.99 3DS
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Circle Entertainment for sending us this game to review!

Adventure Bar Story has been around for iOS and Android since 2012.  Its mobile form sells for $3.00 or less and is only 99 cents on Amazon.  While the mobile version offers in-app purchases, they are completely optional.  The 3DS version is double the price, but has no in-app purchases.  Even with the $6.00 price tag, it's a great value  as it took me thirty hours to beat the game and there are still side quests I have yet to complete.

The story is relatively simple with Siela and Kamerina running their family's tavern since their parents died.  Unfortunately, Kamerina isn't much of a cook and the bar is losing money as a result of that.  An unscrupulous restaurant owner named Gustav wants to take over the business no matter the cost.   It's up to Siela to become a better cook to win over the townspeople.  By doing so, their tavern will be the number one restaurant in the town of Casselburg.  

Because of the cooking and JRPG aspects of this game I liken Adventure Bar Story to be a mix of Final Fantasy and Cooking Mama.  The 2D graphics and mediocre music are nothing special, but the characters are loveable and the cooking elements make this game unique.  When you travel outside of town to collect mats (ingredients), there will be random monster battles that will net you even more cooking materials.  To level up in this game, you have to eat.   Battling monsters will help you unlock new skills and abilities.

Adventure Bar Story

Strong Points: Unique cooking system and quirky yet lovable characters
Weak Points: Dated graphics and mediocre music
Moral Warnings: Fantasy violence and magic; Alcohol use; sexual references

Cooking requires learning or figuring out a recipe and having the required ingredients on hand to make it.  Recipes can be learned from talking to people, reading books, finding them in dungeons, or learning from trial and error.  There are some websites out there that have all of the recipes available as well.  Besides having all of the materials, you also need to know the proper cooking method (knife, bowl, blender, frying pan, oven, etc).

To keep the game balanced, there are a couple of limitations in place.  To prevent you from leveling up fifty times in one day, the characters will get full after eating several items.  Some dishes are more filling than others. If you have saved enough room to drink cabbage juice, it has a reverse effect to make room for more food.

Another limitation is that you can only leave town once a day.  After you explore a dungeon or visit a nearby town, you must go back to your tavern and open it up to end the day.   You can end a day in the game at any time you wish, traveling to dungeons is not required, but highly recommended!  Before opening up the bar, you should make sure that your menu has enticing items and plenty of them.  You have to rotate your menu entries every couple of days to keep your customers happy.  Fortunately there are lots of recipes available to make.  

Adventure Bar Story
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 81%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 8/10
Occult/Supernatural - 5.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Buying ingredients can get costly so it's beneficial to explore new areas to collect rare ingredients to set your dishes apart from the competition.  There are three cooking contests a month and you have to win all of them to beat the game.  Besides winning cooking contests, your tavern has to make a good profit as well.  Some dishes and drinks are more expensive than others.  The rarer the ingredients used, the more profitable it can be to sell.

While selling alcohol in this game is possible it is completely optional.  There is a side quest that involves tequila and one of the party members is a fighter that gets more powerful as he drinks more alcohol in battle.  Throughout the game other characters will join your party including a thief and two mages.  At first the party consists of Siela and the handsome young shop owner, Fred.  As soon as Siela learns how to make an apple pie, a hungry mage will offer her services.  

The banter between the party members and customers can be quite amusing at times.  One silly scene had a customer come in to profess his love to the chef.  He assumed the older sister, Kamerina was the cook, but she corrected him.  He then stated that the younger sister, Siela, was too flat for his tastes and left.  Needless to say Siela was quite offended and her sister comforted her by saying that she would fill out more in due time.  That's pretty much the extent of the sexual content in this game.  

Like many RPGs there is magic use.  When Siela or the mages cast spells, a hexagram will show up below them.  While magic use is optional, it's highly recommended for increasing your defenses and attack power during boss fights.  Many enemies have elemental affinities that can be used to your advantage.  However, if your weapon or spell is the same element it will heal them instead of inflicting damage.   I found the boss fights to be adequately challenging and each new area is reasonably harder than the previous ones.  When I beat the game my characters were around level sixty or so.   

All in all, I enjoyed my time playing Adventure Bar Story.  Even though the game isn't complex, the characters are charming and the cooking aspect is unique.  If you don't mind fantasy magic, violence, and the occasional sexual joke, this game  has a lot to offer.  If you don't mind in-app purchases it's much cheaper on mobile platforms.   However,  $6.00 on Nintendo's eShop is still very reasonable for a thirty-hour game.  

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