Eric & Bruce Magic Restaurant

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Eric & Bruce Magic Restaurant App Poster Image
Glitches and confusion mar magical cooking experience.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Though in the Education category in the app store, we don't recommend this title for learning.

Ease of Play

If you can get the app to start, the recipes don't all work as shown. There's no tutorial or help available. 

Violence & Scariness

Young kids might find some of the transformations upsetting.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some of the results leave the characters looking intoxicated. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Eric & Bruce Magic Restaurant is a silly experience where kids combine ingredients to create magical recipes that transform the characters. The app frequently won't load; during the review period, it worked for a period of time and then stopped again. The "recipes" that the kids are given for magical effects don't always work. Although this is apparently a feature of the experience ("magic is unstable"), that's not explained to kids in the app and it's confusing and frustrating. Some of the transformations characters go through make them look uncomfortable, which may bother young/sensitive kids. We only had access to three of the characters and it was unclear how to unlock the fourth. The publisher's website was unresponsive during testing and no privacy policy was available. 

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What's it about?

ERIC & BRUCE MAGIC RESTAURANT is a cooking game with magical results. Kids choose ingredients, either using their imagination or by following a "recipe," add a magic potion, and then choose a magical cooking method. Ingredients include familiar vegetables, meats, cheese, and wheat. They then serve the dish to one of the characters, which include a boy, a baby/young girl, a cat, and a woman. The magical dishes cause the characters to transform: They could turn green, become invisible, or turn into a panda. There are recipes available to help kids choose the transformation, but they don't always work as intended. The characters quickly go back to their original form. 

Is it any good?

This creative cooking experience has some major flaws, including crashes, a lack of tutorial/introduction, and actions that don't behave as expected.  Eric & Bruce Magical Restaurant is an idea that will appeal to a lot of kids. Mixing up a potion to see what it does is fun. But the execution doesn't match up to the promise. The app refused to load on install, but started after a reboot of the device. It worked for awhile, but then stopped again. This required a clean install and another reboot. Once running, there's not much guidance on what to do. Most kids will figure out the basics, but some sort of intro story or video would tie the experience together. The recipes have some cute effects such as turning the characters into animals, giving them a costume (vampire, ninja, bearded lady) or making them invisible. Sometimes a potion disagrees with a character, giving them gas. Other times, the characters appear to be drunk. The three characters (except the cat) show no ethnic diversity, but one of the potions turns their skin brown and gives them primitive clothing (i.e. a grass/leaf skirt, tooth necklace, etc.). There is a scroll with recipes so kids can recreate their favorite potions, but not all potions work on all characters. And it seems that sometimes potions just don't work at all. This is confusing as it's hard to know if kids picked an incorrect ingredient, the wrong character, or it was a random glitch. We never did figure out how to unlock the fourth character and two of the buttons on the main screen (other apps and rating) are disabled. This would be an OK experience without the loading problems, but you'll likely want to pass unless it's updated for stability. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how food changes when you cook it. How does a carrot or burger change when you cook them? How does a cake change? Can you use different methods to cook the same thing? How does this connect to Eric & Bruce Magic Restaurant?

  • Practice following a recipe. How is it like the recipes in the game? Does the order of the steps matter in your recipe? In the game?

  • How do you like this app in comparison with other apps you could play? As you balance your time on and offscreen, would this be an app you'd choose to use? Why, or why not?

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love cooking and magic

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