Production: Big Splash Games / Playfirst
Rating: RP (Rating Pending)
I'm not a chocolate addict, but I do love my chocolates, anything except white. Chocolatier had been teasing my sweet tooth for a while, so I finally gave it a try and was really surprised at how easy it was to get into and how hard it was to let go.
If you're familiar with the Tradewinds games, you'll feel right at home in Chocolatier. The game borrows may elements from the famous pirate trading game but adds many of its own.
In Chocolatier you play as chocolate entrepreneur on a quest to recover several family recipes from all over the world. You begin in San Francisco at the service of Evangeline Baumeister, who will teach you your first recipe and gets you started in the chocolate-making business.
Just like in Tradewinds, you will travel the world looking for the cities with the best prices to buy your supplies in. Supplies are virtually stored in your inventory and all of your factories can access your stock automatically. As long as you have the ingredients, they will keep producing chocolate.To actually produce the chocolate you must first visit the factory and make it yourself. This is a really fun mini-game where you use the cannon in the center to launch the correct number of ingredients on to the spinning plates. It does start to make me dizzy when it starts spinning really fast. Each correct combination on a plate equals a bar of chocolate. There is a time limit to do this, so you have to try and make as many bars as you can so that your factory gets a high production rate.
You even get to customize your own factory sign and logo with a name, background, image, color and font style. How cool is that?
You can buy more factories in different cities, but to activate and get them producing your stock you will always have to pick a recipe, and make the chocolates yourself if it's something you haven't made yet. Otherwise, production won't start.
So what do you do with your chocolate bars, chocolate square, infusions and truffles? You sell them, of course. Every city has a store that will buy your chocolates, but some cities will pay more for certain products than others, so you have to pay attention if you really want to make a good profit.
At times, your products are also needed for quests. People may come up to you and ask you to bring them twenty cases of chocolate cashew bars, or instead they will tell you to take a particular order to someone in another part of the world.
Each city has a market where you can find basic ingredients for making chocolate, everything such as cocoa beans, sugar, cashew nuts, almonds, lemons, coffee beans, cherries and a lot more. But don't go crazy buying items you can't use yet, they will just go to waste in your inventory. Haggling is also a part of the game. If you click the "haggle" option while at a marketplace, you can try to convince the merchant to sell cheaper. This doesn't always work and sometimes they will be annoyed or offended and raise their prices some more.
Make sure you visit everyone in every city. Some ingredients may not be available in the marketplace, but the farmers will sell them. And pay attention to special messages that can get you really nice deals! I had someone mention that sugar was only $1 in Rio de Janeiro, so I took off right away and bought 4000 bags.
There are also occasional gambling moments where someone will come up to you and challenge you to a game of dice. A bet is placed, you roll the dice and let luck decide who wins. Personally I don't like to gamble my hard-earned chocolate money, especially because the bets are usually very high.
Through your travels you will find a huge range of ingredients, tons of delicious recipes and several interesting characters. You rank increases as you go on and discover new things. At times you will feel lost, not knowing where to go or who to talk to next in order to get the next recipe, but the freedom of play lets you wander all over the map, buying new ingredients, producing new recipes until you finally find the key to advance.
Chocolatier is a real delight that anyone with a thing for tycoon games - and chocolate - shouldn't miss. But beware, it will make you crave something sweet after a few minutes of gameplay. Try it out!