The Ninjabot

PAX West 2016 Report: Battle Chef Brigade

Posted on September 10, 2016 at 3:11 pm by Victor Chaves

A positive story on Kickstarter, Battle Chef Brigade is a triple-threat of match-three puzzle, side-scrolling adventure, and visual novel that appeals to the eyes as well as the hands. In the myriad of the PAX expo hall, this indie title’s flourish of animation and visual style tethered me to Trinket Studios’ booth until my hungry hands were satiated.

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The immediate mental correlation I made was Guilty Gear or BlazBlue, as the animations and UI flourish is rich to the eyes. Instead of being entirely utilitarian and using minimum animation, Trinket Studios spent what must have been an insane amount of time creating a highly stylized and wildly movable set of cast and characters. As a result, the passion the devs put into Battle Chef Brigade appears and is immediately recognizable.

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The gameplay itself is broken down to Odin Sphere or Muramasa 2D-style action mixed with match-three puzzle with drapings of the TV show Iron Chef. The host eats an apple, announces the judge and contestants, and finally the theme of the food. The theme I got when I played was warthog, so running out of the arena with a pair of knives, I kill several animals and collect what they drop (heart, tusk, wing, etc.) and take it back to the arena.

To cook these ingredients, I put them into a pot and boil them, which starts a match-three puzzle where each of the animal ingredients I grabbed are now pieces of this puzzle. By rotating these pieces and lining up three reds in a row (meat is mostly red, plants are mostly green), those three pieces combine to become a strong red ingredient. The cool thing is, by combining more weak red ingredients into a strong red ingredient, you can then combine three strong red ingredients into a super-strong ingredient! The denser your food gets, the more points you earn when your dish gets judged.

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The basic idea of the story revolves around Mina and several other playable battle chefs in the Battle Chef Brigade, but the meat of the story is the interactions between characters. On top of engaging dialogue, the art is surprisingly dense since it includes characters in different costumes, poses, and actions. Although this doesn’t seem like much, compare this game with several other story-heavy titles that show portraits of characters speaking, but with only three faces to react with, and wearing the same clothing in every situation. Battle Chef Brigade feels less visual novel, and more like watching a great episode of The Legend of Korra.

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Battle Chef Brigade, if you can’t tell, really impressed me at PAX. In regards to the gameplay, although it isn’t that deep, it felt good to combo enemies into the air and onto a dish. Furthermore, I can imagine dealing with a running clock and more than one dish, as well as judges with their own preferences to consider, as a real test to my limits as a chef. On top of all that, the great art style and entertaining writing will serve as a great appetizer and dessert. Keep an eye out for Battle Chef Brigade coming within the next year!

Check out their Steam page here!

Follow Victor on Twitter @fake_brasilian to see him dancing with himself.

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