Do you ever get sick and tired of the grind of having to balance a hundred things at once in your day to day life? Most of us have, for sure. With that in mind, it’s ironic that that sort of thing makes for a pretty compelling video game.
It’s that frantic level of micro-management which is served up in Julie’s Sweets. This is a restaurant-running game, and you’re probably going to have played something like it in the past. Customers come piling into the restaurant, come up with an order and then it’s up to you to go running around the place putting all of their requested items together and then remembering to make them pay. Julie’s Sweets has loads of levels which all share this premise, and despite not really feeling like anything new, it’s a pretty moreish experience.
The game needs very little tutorial and storyline, but it gets both anyway. Julie has her eyes set on becoming a world-famous chef, and so little cutscenes between the game’s levels show her planning out her career moves and mastering new dishes. There’s very little emphasis on recipe crafting in the actual gameplay here, though: initially, you start by having to select ready-made goodies like cookies and cakes off the restaurant’s shelves and handing them to the hungry customers who ordered them.
Things become a little more complex with the foods which take some preparation – doughnuts must be cooked and then glazed in a colour to match an order, with (admittedly forgiving) time-sensitive elements at play to make sure you don’t burn everything. A similar mechanic exists for pouring drinks. Things never become too difficult, though there are levels which have you memorising orders before they disappear.
Oddly, the player isn’t in full control of Julie’s movements with the control stick. Commanding her around the restaurant is done through cycling through every interactable item like a sort of list, and that’s an irritation; the order of the items that you cycle through doesn’t seem to be crafted as logically as it should be (ie, working through each spot in turn by way of its position in the room). No – you have to cycle through the predetermined list, meaning you could have to cycle through every single item possible to find the right one if you don’t know the invisible order off by heart. ZL and ZR do allow you to skip a few items and work back from there, but it would have been much more intuitive to move Julie around with the control stick.
That said, Julie’s Sweets seems to retain just the right difficulty level to avoid being too annoying. Despite the risk of RSI from all the scrolling through items, the satisfaction of getting orders right is a good one. It would have been great for that satisfaction to continue on with the controls.
Julie’s Sweets is good fun, if a little pricey. A non-intuitive control scheme stops it from acquiring a higher score, though.