This early taste of Recipe for Disaster is already delicious!
When it comes to hands on business management sims, anyone who has worked in the industry can tell you that restaurants make for great subject material. Quick-footed servers make just enough banter with guests to make them feel warmly welcomed but not too much that ready-to-go orders are left sitting on the counter. The chefs in the back are either cool and calm or hot-tempered and thrive off the dinner rush, both types with crazy stories to tell. And the support staff? These silent stalwarts are always prepping and cleaning — the glue keeping this whole operation running smoothly. And when they all come together to put out a grease fire? *chef’s kiss*
Okay so hopefully that last one has never happened to anyone’s restaurant, but it’s definitely a likely possibility while playing Recipe for Disaster. Currently being developed by Dapper Penguin Studios with publishing being handled by Kasedo Games, Recipe for Disaster is now available as an Early Access title on Steam for $16.99. An in-depth restaurant management sim that’ll please fans of Two Point Hospital and the like, Recipe for Disaster is already cooking up a good time.
Starting right from the beginning, Recipe for Disaster has players customizing their character. Of course this means they can choose how they look in terms of body type, hair/skim color, uniform options, etc., but also their skills and traits. For example, you might have someone who specializes in grilling but is just starting out on the fryer, or a person might be quite charismatic but is still learning the ropes when it comes to serving. Additionally, players will need to choose a most favorite and least favorite skill, which I found interesting, coupled with a few different traits, such as being a carnivore (great at cooking meat and seafood) or a workaholic (takes shorter breaks but never feels fully rested). It was really cool to get into the personality of the character, and this whole traits/skill tree carries over cleverly to other employees as well.
Although the brief tutorials are optional, I highly recommend them before jumping into the campaign mode, as there’s a lot to go over. Players will need to furnish their entire restaurant — front of house, kitchen, and restrooms — keeping in mind function, form, and potential emergency situations. Setting up minimums for food storage is also key, as is customizing the existing recipes in the menu or coming up with new ones entirely. There’s also the matter of assigning staff to certain jobs, like the grill, the tables, or the mop and bucket, as well as ensuring their personalities don’t clash… or worse. You know what they say — if you can’t stand the heat, it’s probably because your kitchen is on fire (protip: get an extinguisher for every employee).
When it comes to getting everything set up and prepped before dinner service, I feel like the folks behind Recipe for Disaster have really nailed what it feels like to work in a restaurant. People who enjoy systems and personnel management are going to love figuring out which person should focus on the grill or fryer, who should be the backup, etc., with all of this based off personality traits to work around, like hiring on an inspiring person to counterbalance the lazy carnivore who works a mean stovetop. In a sense, this part of Recipe for Disaster is a bit like setting up dominos, where a lot of the fun is working towards a big payoff.
Once you actually open for business, however, things get a little confusing. You can set everything up to run as smoothly as possible and make plenty of bank while doing so, but there doesn’t seem to be too much that can actually hurt you in a game that supposedly has chaos on the menu. Oh sure, patrons here and there might complain that the food was expensive, but then they’ll talk about how everything else was fantastic… including the price. Like… did you like it or not? And aside from the occasional random event consisting of hair in soup and an eager beaver willing to work at the establishment, I experienced mostly calm and not a lot of storm. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure, but in this case sound preparation strategies almost makes Recipe for Disaster’s claims for complete pandemonium toothless.
If I’m being honest, though, Recipe for Disaster is better off that way. Sure, a grease fire here or there might spice things up a bit, but the game truly shines in its human resource management and recipe crafting. I loved carefully hiring on new staff, figuring out who would vibe best with my existing employees, and coming up with new recipes to spread out pricey hit menu items across different kitchen appliances was a wholly unique experience. The kitchen chaos is sure to come later, but as it stands right now, Recipe for Disaster has nothing but fun on the menu.
Be sure to check out Recipe for Disaster on Steam today!