When it comes to a third instalment in any series, developers can either go one of two ways. They can continue to make the series evolve in a different direction by adding new features, departing from its predecessors in terms of storyline, and introducing new characters, locations, and missions in the hope that they might strike a chord with veterans of the series that are growing a little tired of the gameplay.
The other option is to take a game 'back to its roots' as the phrase is so often used: this is achieved by reintroducing old features, maintaining previous characters and/or reintroducing familiar faces in order to build on the established connection the players have with them, and generally allowing long-term fans of the series to enjoy comfortable familiarity. Chocolatier: Decadence by Design firmly does the latter whilst taking some elements of the former. At its core it is the same business simulation that it always has been (including chronological continuity in the storyline) only with some newer features brought in, a new avenue of products to sell, and more chocolaty goodness that we've come to expect from the series.
Release Date:: 02/03/2009
Available on: Windows Vista Games, Windows 8 Games, Windows 7 Games, Windows Games, PC Games, Downloadable PC Games
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If you aspiring chocolatiers out there haven’t experienced any games from the series before, it is essentially a business simulation not dissimilar to games like Rollercoaster Tycoon only focused around the chocolatier business. It contains elements with elements of strategy and some skill-based mini games that pertain to the manufacturing process. The aim of the game is of course to become successful in the chocolate-based confectionary business but in order to do so you must make sure that you utilise your time effectively. You’ll find yourself travelling to rapidly-developing cities from 1940s onwards (experiencing the post-war boom) in order to engage in their markets, purchase ingredients, research/develop recipes, have a hand in the manufacturing, and distribute your chocolate products. This time around you’ve also got coffee as a string to your business’s bows.
Whether you enjoy the game this time around as a veteran of the series depends on whether the new features are enough to convince you that they are worth playing for. The introduction of coffee as a new branch of the business certainly injects a little bit of freshness into the series, allowing you to create various concoctions based around the cacao and coffee flavours. As well as travelling around the world to locate great deals on cocoa beans and sugar, you’ll also need to secure yourself raw materials for the coffee part of the business including various spices such as saffron and various other flavours such as coconut, lemon, hazelnut, and honey.
Skill-based elements of the game are restricted to the arcade-style shooting scenarios that you must undertake when manufacturing the various products. Your task here is to shoot various ingredients in the right order and into the right place on the production line such as certain quantities of cocoa beans and milk in order to make milk chocolate; dark chocolate requires a higher cocoa bean to milk ratio. Coming up with different coffee creations also entails playing a different mini-game that is new to this title. It involves placing the right ingredients on the production line whilst the machines move with increasing speed in order to up the difficulty. Though these games are essentially just distractions from the main aim of the game, they do provide welcome variation to break up what would otherwise be a purely simulation-based game.
Perhaps the most significant feature to be introduced to the game is the ability to customise and name your own creations in a testing/tasting kitchen, after which these products are introduced into the marketplace in the game and form an integral part of your business. This allows for the feeling of customisation and integration to an extent that hasn’t been seen so far with the Chocolatier series.
There isn’t much bad to say about Chocolatier: Decadence by Design. Its graphics have been polished and are more refined than ever before, and its gameplay is wonderfully familiar with enough changes to keep old players interest. This may also be its weakness because the gameplay is so very similar to the original that long-term fans of the series may see this as a bad move from the developers. This is up to veteran players to decide however because from an objective point of view, the game is still an enjoyable experience with enough dimensions to please fans of the strategy, arcade, and business simulation genres.
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Chocolatier 3 Decadence by Design is developed by Playfirst Games.