Automachef: Food prep for the conveyor belt connoisseur.


Automachef: Food prep for the conveyor belt connoisseur.

As a self-professed geek I can get pretty excited about the worlds great engineering feats, I often look with amazement at the possibilities of programming on machinery and computers alike. I love to watch Gordon Ramsey yell at aspirant chefs while cooking up some great recipes in the kitchen myself.  Now Team 17 brings a brand new game to the table to satiate my appetite for all of these in one single bite with Automachef. A game that will test your engineering and logic skills to create highly efficient automated kitchens, and perhaps advance the robot uprising, but who knows. 

Does Automachef have the recipe for success or is this entree nothing more than an under cooked risotto? Let’s find out.

 Team 17 sure has a love for food based games. With their success of the Overcooked games, which were fun co-op mayhem, they now attempt to merge the joy of cooking with the brain teaser of coding and it does so by delivering a playful, enjoyable experience.

Automachef at its heart is a cooking puzzle game. Under the guidance of your new boss, a robot named Robert Person, with an odd sense of humanity and questionable motives, you begin designing and running a new restaurant. Robert challenges you to serve up delicious foods to the masses as efficient as possible using fully automated kitchens. Recipes start simple like a hot dog or a burger, but soon you will be presented an abundance of recipes for a growing menu. In order to make all these salads, fries, chicken melts, burgers, and more, you will be tasked to build an engineering masterpiece this side of games such as Factorio and Big Pharma

Got code?
Before you know it you are throwing some amazing machinery together in a quest for food domination, but soon things get more complicated. You have a limited investment budget, watch your power consumption, and make sure ingredients do not wait around too long or they will go bad. You cannot keep your customers waiting too long either, after all they are a picky, fickle bunch. This is not even mentioning mechanical breakdowns, fires and infestations.

The game also introduces simple programming skills in a fun and easy to understand way. As you set the behavior for each piece of machinery by using the pull down menus you are learning about setting conditions, triggers,etc. Eventually you will be able to program the kitchen using Assembly coding, but if that makes you uncomfortable you can always use the more visual presentation of the functions. When you think you have assembled the perfect setup you can run your kitchen when you are ready. If you feel that something is not running smoothly, you can stop the process and start over at any time.
Things got a bit overheated.
The recipes are presented for each product you need to create in a clear visual presentation, but that does not make them simple. In one level you get introduced to bacon fries, YUM. Even though it uses only three ingredients, a potato, bacon strips and cheese, they need some work before they can become that delicious Friday night appetizer. The bacon needs to be cooked, the potato needs to be cut in wedges and then fried and the cheese needs to be sliced and then grated.    

Ingredients come from a dispenser, one per ingredient type. From there they need to be moved to a food processor or grill, fryer, etc. and then transported to an assembly machine that can put it all together. That is just one recipe for a larger menu. You also need to be able to make cheese burgers and cheesy hot dogs and deliver them in a timely manner.  Now you might have noticed that some menu items have ingredients in common such as cheese and other requirements such as cooking the food. This is where it is up to you to increase the efficiency when creating your kitchen layout.

This recipe is peanuts compared to what is yet to come.
Secondly, you do not want to keep pumping out food if there are no customers, it will spoil and that is a waste of ingredients. In order to keep issues at a minimum you will get an array of tools to increase efficiency such as an order computer that can turn machinery on and off, storage units for pre-prepped ingredients etc. Of course you are limited by kitchen real estate and your budget, so you will have to redesign and test your kitchen in many ways. You can always come back to try and up the ante with a new revolutionary design. If you are particularly chuffed with your setup, you can turn it or a part of it, into a custom blueprint to save time in future levels. Just select your design and save it for later. This feature is easily overlooked, but you will be thankful to be able to skip having to redo the same setup over and over again in the later levels.
Clean canvas turned into a work of cooking perfection.
Automachef comes with a campaign mode of 30 challenging levels and 10 bonus levels that you can replay at any time to try and beat your own best score. If you have mastered every level, the game is far from over and built to last. First of all the game offers a contracts mode, where you are tasked to run your own business, start small, run a profit and grow your company while you take on bigger and bigger contracts. Do you feel that you want to mess around with all the equipment available in the game and get a good feel for what each part does? Why not mess around in the test site mode for a spell? If you somehow end up creating the perfect setup for a future production line, then here too you will be able to save a blueprint for use during gameplay later.  This beats trying to remember how you built it all before.

On PC, if you feel like a true master then you can also build your own scenarios, play them and share them via the steam workshop. The game will also support mods via the workshop, set to continue and grow through its player community.  I cannot wait to see what creative things people will come up with.
No shortage in things to do.

The game is not short of style either. Automachef might not be a graphic powerhouse, but the colorful presentation and machine designs offer a visually appealing experience. Add a movable camera that allows you to pull back for a full overview or zoom in close to see your delectable goodies roll on by on the conveyor belt and you will be sucked right into the action. Accompanied by a relaxing soundtrack with soothing happy melodies and a dose of light humor brought by your questionable robot guide during the campaign, the game keeps a light-hearted tone to what amounts to a challenging puzzle game.
Things will get a bit...complicated.

The game is family friendly and offers some good brain teasers that will surely stimulate any individual playing it. It is a nice break from running, jumping and shooting your way through a game to save the next galaxy. The ESRB rated it E for Everyone

In conclusion Automachef is a game that has all the ingredients to deliver a tasty experience worthy of a Michelin star. If you are not sure, there is a demo available to try.



Game information:

Title: Automachef
DeveloperHermes Interactive 
PublisherTeam 17
Release date:July 23rd2019 
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed:PC (Steam)
Official Site:https://www.automachef.com/

ESRB: E for Everyone

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