What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this downloadable game is a challenging, family-friendly economic simulation that's completely appropriate for players of all ages. That said, because of its relatively difficult gameplay, it might be more ideal for teens or adults. It won a Zeeby Award for being one of the best casual games in 2007.
What's it about?
The only thing better than eating chocolate is building an international chocolate empire. You can taste this sweet success if you spend some time with PlayFirst's CHOCOLATIER, a tasty little business simulation that challenges players to travel the world to acquire recipes and ingredients and produce fine chocolate for profit. The game begins in the year 1880, when you're asked to restore honor to the recipes of Evangeline Baumeister, a famous chocolatier. It seems her company suffered a setback when she left it to her younger sister to run. It's your job to not only bring the business back on track but grow the company into a worldwide force to be reckoned with.
In order to gain the respect of a Master Chocolatier, you must traverse the globe -- from San Francisco to Syndey to Istanbul to London and 10 other cities –- to meet with dozens of colourful characters who can help you pursue the finest of ingredients, such as sugar, cacao beans, coffee beans, spices, fruits, and nuts, and even bargain with merchants for the best price. So long as you have enough cash at your disposal, you must purchase these ingredients en masse for your factories (e.g. 300 sacks of sugar, 100 canisters of milk and 50 sacks of coconuts) to create the \"Elixir of the Gods\" for your customers. You must also acquire new recipes for diversification and to keep up with market trends. Want to learn the recipe for Chocolate Bars with Trinidad Lemons? Colombo Cacao Coffee Caramel Truffles? Mint Chocolate Infusions? In order to grow your business (and bank account) you must pursue these 64 recipes and related ingredients from all corners of the world, as well as take on other missions from characters who request them.
Is it any good?
Producing the chocolate switches the game from a number-heavy business simulation to a fun arcade mini-game. The factories used to make the confections consist of rotating machines, each with a number of slots to house the ingredients. You must use the mouse to aim and fire the correct ingredients into each machine, such as shooting two cacao beans and one sugar to create a Dark Chocolate Bar. While it's not too difficult –- that is, until the machines start spinning faster and faster –- some economic simulation fans may not want an arcade element in the same game. In this humble game reviewer's opinion, however, this "twitch" component breaks up the game-play nicely.
Chocolatier might not have the same wide universal appeal of other casual games such as a "3-in-a-row" puzzle game, "hide and seek" mystery adventure, or "restaurant management" simulation, but it certainly is unique, fun and challenging – and with high production values. Even if you don't have a sweet tooth you won't be able to resist this delicious digital diversion.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether all computer games should be digitally downloadable, such as Chocolatier, or if there is still a desire to buy a tangible product at retail? Do the gamers in your home prefer a box on their shelf or is it a waste of space and material?