What do you get when you mix ex-AAA developers, relationship-ending minigames, and precious confections? It’s the recipe for Cake Bash. This party game pits you against three other baked goods as you (literally) fight to be the best pastry in the bakery and get picked by the client at day’s end!
Now, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but this game gave me cravings (seriously, don’t play on an empty stomach). The 3D models and animations are pristine, with only minor clipping; even the bird who pecks at you in the patio stage looks bizarrely realistic. Those little drawn-on faces and limbs for the playable characters are the cute cherry on top. Not to mention that it’s all set to delectably upbeat tunes. There’s no doubt this inaugural indie has fancy frosting – but is it a styrofoam cake?
Get Tasty is the main mode. Here, you’ll be pitted against three others in a series of fights and minigames to earn coins. You’ll spend those coins on pretty toppings to stick onto yourself and improve your score. In fights, you’ll press Y to hit others, holding it to charge up a knockout blow. Each brawl has a goal, like racking up the most sprinkles or bashing the most fortune cookies. Minigames, meanwhile, are the traditional party game fare, including marshmallow roasting, ice cream stacking, and avoiding flying cutlery. There is barely enough variety here to keep things interesting, but each game is a competitive blast.
The topping shop is a unique feature. Its cart offers a constant supply of pretty sweets, while the vending machine is a cheap gamble – some capsules are amazing, and some are… downright nasty. These can be discarded for a fee. However, if you’re losing fights and low on coins as a result, you could find yourself in a position where you can’t afford to shed some rotting cheese. Not cute!
There is both local and online multiplayer, including random “matchcaking” (which I had no luck with). The computer AI is just competitive enough to pose a challenge without being a nuisance, so while solo play isn’t the intention, it’s possible. I played online with three Switch Player friends; grudges may have been forged in the flames of this oven, but that’s the sign of a successful party game.
Online invitations were a snap – sent directly to each player. Then, the drawbacks: we couldn’t see which sweets our competitors were choosing, which caused me to have a twin in our first round. That’s much less jarring than the main issue with online play, which is that it skips all of the explanations – even game instructions. This can be a big pain for new players who haven’t unlocked every game yet, or returning players who need a refresher.
After racking up achievements listed in the Collection menu, you’ll unlock new flavours to play with, like Casicorn the squeal-inducing unicorn cupcake, and Gummi, who is covered in rainbow worms! You can mix your very favorite unlocked stages, games, and characters together in Recipe mode if there’s not enough time for a full-on bout of Get Tasty.
If it’s simple party game hijinks you’re after, Cake Bash will sate your appetite. Like real-life dessert, this is a tasty treat that’s best enjoyed in moderation, as it easily gets stale in longer sessions. Less so, I’m sure, for children, as they will obsess over these adorable treats. I look forward to whatever comes next from developer High Tea Frog – and to unwrapping this delicacy from my library next time I see my little cousins!
Cake Bash £17.99
Cake Bash nails its aesthetic, but while the quality is there, there isn’t a great quantity of content, so the experience gets stale quickly. Still, with local and online multiplayer, it remains a perfect quick pick-me-up – especially for families.