WHERE COOKING AND EXPLORING MAKES A NICE APPETIZER
Monster slaying is often a staple ingredient in crafting a well-seasoned JRPG. To spice things up, the developers at Rideon Japan mixed in some cooking mechanics and farming elements. If this concoction sounds like an appealing dish, then Adventure Bar Story is just the meal for you!Within the first few seconds you’re immediately thrown into the game. Siela, the protagonist, and Kamerina, her sister, are quickly approached by a competitor to buy out their bar. Refusing to sell the family bar, you’re charged with building up the bar and having it flourish. Over time, the story expands with new characters (both allies and enemies), but at a painstakingly slow pace. I found myself often distracted by the storyline since it didn’t capture my attention nor engage me in any meaningful way. With this, I found the storyline semi-forgetful — other than the fact that you’re primarily motivated to make the most popular bar in the land.
Within the game, the graphics and visuals were satisfactory. Adventure Bar Story offered the typical JRPG monsters, along with non-revolutionary areas ala “forest”, “cave”, “beach”, etc. None of it offered an unpleasant experience – just felt like a dish that I had before and was content with. Musicality was something that I almost entirely forgot about. It was so bland that I simply shut it off while I was playing. One of the major reasons for this was that when you are exploring the various regions and encounter a random battle, there is a sharp glass-shattering effect. It’s not enjoyable. At all. To me, a game’s music and sound effects aren’t a make-or-break move, but it was somewhat disappointing that I enjoyed the game more when I shut the sound off than on.
Now saying that, I do think that Adventure Bar Story did the “typical” JRPG graphics just fine. There was explicit variety to ensure that players would not get a stale area that seemed identical to a previous location. The battle scenes flowed nicely without jarring motions which could sometimes distract the player from what is occurring. However, the dialogue was a bit stale and forgetful (similar to the storyline) and had some issues with translations. I mean, it’s called Adventure Bar Story, and the actual “bar” seems more like a “restaurant”.
Though the storyline nor graphics were masterful recipes, what saves Adventure Bar Story is the unique combination and balance between an action-adventure and simulation game. The pairing of these two seemingly opposing flavors of games combined into something truly addicting and appealing.
The key idea within the game is food (a bit odd since it’s a bar, but that’s neither here nor there). In order to increase the level of your bar you must create food. In order to level up you must eat food. In order to keep customers coming you must make a variety of food (sorry, you can’t just make Salted Cucumber over and over again). With this, you must venture to the various areas and accumulate an assortment of ingredients to concoct some new and exciting platters. Once you’ve concocted some new dishes, then you’re able to level up your characters or sell them at the bar, and venture out into the world again to begin again.
For gamers who enjoy grinding a game to level up and find all the nooks and crannies, then this is a perfect pairing. However, if you’re someone who could care less about collecting and creating all the dishes and learning all of the players’ abilities then this might not pair well with you. With hundreds of recipes, this game can quickly escape from you in the time-wasting department.
The Verdict: 6.2 out of 10
At first glance, this could be taken as a lackluster JRPG. However, underneath its mediocrity is an interesting blend of simulating and action-adventure gaming. Though it might not be for every gamer, it can quickly entrance you into a grinding frenzy, making you ever more hungry than when you had your first bite.
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