We’re all for games that expand the marketplace. There’s only so much racing and shooting that you can do in videogames before you want to take a break and just cook a nice gazpacho. However, Pocket Chef provides such tedious and irrelevant minigames that it may turn you off to the concept of eating.
In Pocket Chef, you’re given dozens of dishes that you can construct using a series of minigames for chopping, stirring, sauteing, and more. Some of these are perfectly decent, like flipping hamburgers and removing them from the grill when they’re cooked just right. Others are incredibly annoying, like stirring by moving your finger around the screen until a small callus develops.
Kiss the cook.
Every minigame is repeated over and over, and there’s no way to skip the more tedious tasks. Whether you’re cracking eggs for a quiche or French toast, it’s still the same simple egg-cracking minigame. The game never seems to become more challenging; it’s just more of the same from the first ten minutes on.
Plus, several of the minigames have no connection to reality. When you put a dish in the oven in real life, you don’t have to fiddle with the knobs every few seconds to adjust the temperature. You just leave it in there, and watch TV or play an iPhone game that’s better than Pocket Chef.
Or take the game’s approach to adding ingredients. Called “memorization” minigames, these require you to add salt, then pepper, but never the other way around. While getting the order of ingredients right might make sense if you’re building a cheeseburger or kabob, we can not wrap our brains around being penalized for adding dry ingredients in the incorrect order based on completely arbitrary guidelines.
Meat and greet.
As bad as the minigames are, you have to complete all of them in a row before the game saves your progress. If you exit out of the app or receive a phone call, you have to start from scratch. When you’re cooking in real life and receive a phone call, it’s an inconvenience. Here, it restores all your ingredients back to their original grocery-bag state.
Some of the dishes look tantalizing, and you might be tempted to use Pocket Chef as a recipe book instead of a collection of minigames. Even with the nice graphics and recipe extras, we think it’s possible to make a much better cooking game for the iPhone. If you can’t stand the boredom, stay out of the kitchen.