Battle Chef Brigade review: Always a simple recipe

Credit to Adult Swim Games
Credit to Adult Swim Games /

Mina Han’s journey to becoming a  battle chef is truly beautiful to witness. Trinket Studios has laced Battle Chef Brigade with gorgeous Ghibli-esque designs and animations.

Developer: Trinket Studios
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Version reviewed), PC
Release Date: November 20, 2017

Welcome to Victusia, where food is everything. In this world, there exists an elite group of people known as the Battle Chef Brigade whose members live to gather food and make delicious meals. Our story takes place in a training camp for the next generation of Brigade Chefs. Mina Han needs to win five cooking showdowns against other applicants to claim her spot in the Brigade.

Her journey to becoming a battle chef is truly beautiful to witness. Trinket Studios has laced this game with gorgeous Ghibli-esque designs and animations. Battle Chef Brigade is fully voice acted, with Mina herself being voiced by Erica Mendez (Akko from Little Witch Academia, and Gon from Hunter x Hunter). There’s just about everything on Battle Chef Brigade’s side as far as presentation goes; however, a skillful presentation can only take you so far.

Battle Chef Brigade often feels like it wants to tell a story, but doesn’t necessarily want to be a game. It’s closer to being a movie with gameplay elements interspersed.  There are two main types of gameplay in Battle Chef Brigade: Bejeweled-esque match-3 puzzles, and sidescroller style combat. Each side of gameplay has new elements mixed in as things go along to stir things up.

Credit to Trinket Studios
Credit to Trinket Studios /

Item choice becomes a bizarre subgame of trial and error as you’re required to rematch against an opponent until you’re able to defeat them.

The sidescroller gameplay is fun but often bland. Other than a small enhancement to enemies about halfway through the game, you’ll be more or less fighting the same foes the whole way through. You encounter enemies by being thrown into a nearby environment with a preestablished ecosystem, and it’s your job to hunt creatures found native to the given environment. You’re never barred from fighting an opponent, nor are any of the creatures difficult to defeat. I was able to defeat a dragon (who I later learned was to be considered a high-level foe) with ease on my first run. As far as combat goes, Battle Chef Brigade can often come across as vapid and lack a sense of progression.

The puzzle system is another story entirely. Puzzles are how you’re supposed to “cook” your food, which is done by matching three or more pieces in a classic Bejeweled style. The puzzles were surprisingly fun and challenging at times. New food-themed elements are regularly added to keep the puzzles fresh and interesting. It was sometimes a challenge to complete a dish before time ran out.

Credit to Trinket
Credit to Trinket /

More from Reviews

Beating the time limit of battles was made easier by bringing items that speed up the creation of high-level gems, or any items in general. However, Battle Chef Brigade doesn’t make it easy to guess what would be best items to bring. Each person judging your dish requires a certain type of gem to be primarily used in order to secure maximum points. What they will request is unknown until you actually get into the match. Your choice of items can often mean the difference between victory and defeat. Item choice becomes a bizarre subgame of trial and error as you’re required to rematch against an opponent until you’re able to defeat them.

There’s more to Battle Chef Brigade outside of proving yourself in cooking brawls. You’re able to explore a small hub world, completing jobs based on components of matches. There are three jobs where it’s possible to earn your cash from–restaurant, where you have to match a set of gems in a certain period of time; hunting, where you hunt a bevy of creatures; puzzle, where you just do straight up puzzle for the highest possible points. This was a really great feature to include, I was able to earn tons of money from just completing puzzles day after day.

Credit to Trinket Studios
Credit to Trinket Studios /

What’s nice is that Battle Chef  Brigade includes many things like this that aren’t required but help personalize user experience. After beating the story a whole plethora of features like this is unlocked, such as a daily cook-off where you play against a random person you previously defeated in story mode.

More app trigger: Best Nintendo Switch games out right now

I enjoyed my time with Battle Chef Brigade. The story and art direction was truly a thing of beauty to experience. Every motion feels heartfelt and the voice cast is brimming with talent such as Erica Mendez. Battle Chef Brigade does flounder a tad when it comes to gameplay. Combat quickly becomes stale and repetitive. The Bejeweled-esque matching component is fun and interesting, although at times matches feel more defined by my items than my puzzle solving skills.

7.0. Trinket Studios clearly put time into <em>Battle Chef Brigade’s</em> art, story and voice acting, but the gameplay often feels lackluster. The sidescrolling combat is often repetitive, lacking a sense of progression as you continue. Puzzles are delightfully interesting to enjoy, with new components constantly being added. However, your victory can often feel defined by your choice of items rather than puzzle solving capabilities, finding the right combination quickly becomes tedious.. Trinket Studios. . Battle Chef Brigade

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.