Pokemon Cafe Mix is now live on Nintendo Switch and mobile devices.
Pokemon Cafe Mix went live today on the app stores and the Nintendo Switch. I haven’t tried the app version but as the Nintendo Switch version only lets you play with a touchscreen in handheld mode. I’m going to make the wild guess that the two are absolutely identical.
I will say this right out the gate, the art is cute. The art is very cute. It drew me in almost immediately. Even when I would start getting frustrated with the game itself, I’d get pulled back in because of how adorable a Kirlia is when it bows hello. I’m a sucker like that and Nintendo damn well knows it.
In this game, you run a Pokemon Cafe. That’s really about it. There’s no story here. You run a cafe and as time goes on you get the options to make new kinds of food. As you get more options it takes a very simple puzzle game and adds new layers of hell.
While the premise of sliding your finger around in circles on the screen to select a ton of the same Pokemon is comfortable at first, it’s when these new options get added that make the game infinitely frustrating.
Sugar cubes, for example, can only be destroyed by having a combo right next to it break three times. Honey is the same except if you ignore it, it’ll self replicate. Personally, I’ve never seen honey do that but you know what? Cool. I like infinite honey. But the frustrating aspect is it makes absolutely no sense how it determines if a combo is close to it or not. I’ve wrapped something in 20 of the same Pokemon only to have them all explode doing absolutely nothing to the thing in the middle. And the dollops of whipped cream will make you scream into the night’s sky as they seem to just disappear at random. Seriously, I could not figure out the trick to getting rid of them.
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Ultimately the game is alright. I played it to level 55 to get a feel for the stuff the game throws at you but at that point, I hit the paywall. I had a very difficult time progressing without using the game’s currency of “golden acorns.” These golden acrorns allow you purchase a few more moves if you’re close to beating the level.
The good news is you can earn them by doing puzzles. The bad news is you get about 50-90 for finishing a puzzle and getting anything costs about 950-2000 acorns.
You can buy golden acorns using real money as well and here’s where I have some problems. I’m not above buying things for games. I’ll do it sometimes. But this game is designed for very young kids. It’s a preschool aesthetic and a control scheme that just asks you to flail your finger around on the screen. It’s very quick to drop you into a real-money store with prices all over the board as seen here.
If you don’t have your password set on your credit card, they absolutely will have an easy time dropping 50 bucks on this thing and it’s designed to help you do that as quickly as possible. It’s a bit disappointing.
All in all, Pokemon Cafe Mix is an incredibly wonky game clearly designed for mobile devices. That makes up for a lot of its flaws by hiding things behind an adorable art scheme.