Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop Review – 3DS

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Another year, another….Cooking Mama game? Yes, it is a new game in the Cooking Mama franchise! If you haven’t heard about Cooking Mama before it’s essentially a great mini-game filled adventure where you cook up amazing dishes simply by tapping, swiping, dragging and swirling recipes in mini-game fashion to become the ultimate chef. This release titled Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop focuses on sweets creation as the name implies and then selling them in your own, wait for it…sweet shop.

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop has an astounding 160 mini-games you will eventually encounter as you unlock more recipes for your shop. In my time playing I can say I never encountered a recipe so difficult I did not get a gold medal upon completion, so I can’t say if they were difficult in any way. Most mini-games, as I mentioned, consisted of simple taps and dragging and swiping ingredients together but there were other interactions such as changing the speed of a blender in between ingredients going in or carrying trays across a room without spilling. No matter what you are doing, it’s tied into the recipe itself.

Sweet Shop primarily revolves around creating dishes and then setting up your shop to sell them. It starts out very basic where you can have as little as one dish out for sale and customers will come in and purchase it after walking around a little exploring your barren shop. This part of the game frustrated me; I had 5 different dishes each getting more complex to make and they all sold for the same price. A crème éclair sold for the same price as a simple caramel apple on a stick. I racked up an impressive $300,000 from my few dishes in under an hour before I realized the money isn’t what unlocks new decorations and upgraded displays and such for your sweet shop. You just have to power through creating the recipes which unlock as previous recipes are completed then use the shop income to buy new scarves, aprons and even renovate your kitchen and shop.

Here comes my second frustration with Sweet Shop. You have to be in the sweet shop to sell those items, so if you aren’t around to click on the little customers walking in to check them out, your store doesn’t get any money to make it better, seriously? I can’t just hire someone to be a cashier? All that aside, you do eventually get a businesswoman come into the shop randomly who, if you have the item available that she is looking for, will then open up a store with that item somewhere in the world. That in turn opens up another mini-game for you to play and try to achieve a new high score, but sadly there are no leaderboards available for these locations and it is only about improving your score.

Cooking Mama Fans won’t be disappointed in the newest installment with Sweet Shop. The franchise keeps you busy with its many challenges and different ways to set up your sweet shop and still keeps that simple and colorful atmosphere. I personally did not get to experience this next feature but If you and three more people want to challenge each other to see who can earn the most gold medals you can also download the play mode titled “Let’s Play Together!” where you will play 15 mini-games against each other. There isn’t a winner per se, as you can end it whenever you want or keep playing and just continue to improve in your cooking skills.

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop is a title for the gamers who don’t want to take it serious and just want to play a few casual mini-games to pass the time or keep you busy. If you are averse to mindless distraction then it probably isn’t the franchise for you.