“Automachef is the thinking-person’s Overcooked; and is an equally enticing dish to digest.”
In their ongoing quest to monopolise the food prep. sub-genre of video games, the creative minds at Team17 bring you Hermes Interactive’s newest title; Automochef.
Automochef takes a step away from the relative chaos of games like Overcooked by replacing the unpredictability of sentient chefs with the efficiency of machine-based manufacture and delivery of cuisine. Try saying that three times fast! A programming game at its core, Automochef tasks you with creating exactly what it says on the tin; automatic restaurants which can prepare and provide food to customers, removing all of the risks and potential errors associated with the human element. The game rewards thought, efficiency and intricacy as you attempt to spend as little money, power and resources in the process of designing the perfect feast-worthy system. For the lover of puzzles and well-made burgers, Automochef may just be the crème de la crème.
Playing Automochef is equally parts simple to get to grips with and devilishly demanding of high-level thinking. You start the game with just a few simple machines; dispensers provide ingredients, grills grill, processors process and assemblers combine your prepared ingredients into the final product. Meanwhile, a series of conveyors and robot arms provide the mobility between these bases. The puzzle element of the game is setting up these various devices on the correct configuration to provide the meal that your customers want. A couple of tutorial levels help you get to grips with setting all of these machines up, making the learning curve of the game relatively smooth. As soon as you are asked to do it yourself, however, you realise just how many intricacies you have to consider. The sensation is remarkably similar to starting out playing Overcooked, just without the anarchy.
Once you have nailed the production of a simple, plain burger, you are then asked to branch out your production; creating multiple dishes at any one time. This is where the programming element of the game is at its best and most complex. Order detectors can be used to give instructions to each of your machines; telling them exactly what to do and when to do it. For example, if you need to make a cheeseburger rather than a regular burger, the cheese dispenser and food processor which slices your dairy delight need only activate once when the order is set. They do not need to be active for plain burgers, and can, therefore, be told only to perform their action when the cheeseburger order is received. Any computer scientists playing will revel in the simple but effective intricacies of this system, which naturally becomes more taxing on the mind the more you play the game. Truly, Automochef provides one of the easiest-to-use yet challenging examples of effective programming in a thematic video game.
As you home your skills, the ways in which you can play Automochef branch out further still. Not only do you face new challenges in the campaign mode, tasking you with using increasingly complex and purpose-built machines in order to complete each level, but you might also prefer to dabble in the game’s Contracts Mode. Rather than running your own small restaurants producing this burger or that sandwich, Contracts Mode tasks you with designing made-to-order restaurants for other pro-mechanical entrepreneurs. Contracts Mode is a welcome change of pace from the Campaign after the first couple of hours and maybe a preferable experience for those looking for a deeper, longer challenge. Additionally, Steam Workshop support promises to keep the game growing and evolving long into the future.
Automochef is a perfect example of a programming-based puzzle game. It offers complex challenges competed through a simple UI, and does not sacrifice any of the humour, style and suspension of disbelief which players will expect from a Team17 game. The variety on offer in terms of ways to play will offer an approach that almost any player will be able to enjoy, and Workshop Support will ensure the game’s recipe does not become stale. Automochef is the thinking person’s Overcooked and is an equally enticing dish to digest.
- Automachef is out on PC
- Developer: Hermes Interactive
- Publisher: Team17 Digital Limited