Published on July 26th, 2019 | by Lyla Saudi
Automachef PC Review
Summary: Challenging and unique puzzle experience
It’s time to submit to our robot overlords, it’s time for the robots to take over the world as we know it, it’s time for Automachef to rule our flimsy human lifeforms. First the hamburger, then the world! Well, I guess their ingenious plan isn’t exactly based on The Terminator, but these dastardly robots plan to use our love of the perfectly made Cheeseburger against us… and you’re going to help them.
Produced by Hermes Interactive, Automachef places you as the assistant to an evil robot aiming to take over the restaurant industry (and then the world) by programming your way to success. Made up of a variety of challenging game modes (campaign, contracts, free-play) and increasingly difficult levels, this strategic puzzle game challenges you to create an automated, perfectly efficient, robot staffed fast food restaurant. Sounds easy enough… but let me tell you it is anything but that.
Set out in a grid format, you place different machines to dispense, prepare, cook and organize each meal to satisfy your hungry customers. You will balance challenges of floor space, ingredient wastage, power usage, and cooking speed in a variety of scenarios to create the ultimate robot run fast food restaurant. Hidden under this quirky premise and likeable art-style graphics lays a really unique and challenging puzzle game whose depth will challenge your problem solving and out-of-the-box thinking, to master increasingly challenging scenarios.
Following a very short tutorial you are left to fend for yourself quite quickly, and the depth of this game immediately becomes apparent. Each restaurant will have specific recipes they provide to their customers and your challenge is to include the right machines, in the right order, to cook the perfect meal. Every time you think you are getting the hang of it, the campaign will throw a new machine, be it a dispenser, slicer, dicer, griller, fryer, assembler (and the list goes on, and on, and on) at you to add another level of mental challenge for the player. While some may read this as, ‘not for me’ because of this challenge, I personally loved it. Yes, I found the number of machines available initially overwhelming, and yes, the ability to tweak the specifics of every single machines specifics was daunting, and yes, the need to meet budget, power, and ingredients challenges was hard, but it was also incredibly rewarding when I solved each puzzle.
Not for the faint of heart or short of patience, those who like trial and error, and continuous shifting and tweaking, are rewarded at the end of each level with a creation that play out in its own completely efficient bliss, working seamlessly in automatic precision without a single interference that puzzle solvers will relish. The depth of options provides a puzzle experience which uniquely allows multiple solutions to each puzzle, only limited by your creativity. As you get deeper and deeper you will find the nuances of each machine, each recipe, how you can co-create recipes for even more automated satisfaction.
The graphics look great and the art style fits the games feel. It looks somewhat cartoonish, but that really fits the fun, yet evil vibe of the robot and the silly, yet fun premise of the game. As the levels increase in size, the similar colors of machines and the sheer volume of machine types and moving parts can be hard to tell apart which can be a bit frustrating. But as changing out parts is a simple click and delete process this isn’t too problematic. The innocuous background music fits the graphics and theme of the game neatly, but is relatively uneventful. This simply provides white noise, which I turned off for most of the game, as I instead focused on the sound of the gears of my brain clunking and options in my head spinning as I tried to solve each puzzle.
If you have the patience for the learning curve, and are willing to work through some trial and error to understand how you can manipulate each machine, the game is brilliantly rewarding. The final levels get massive and complicated as you watch your robot army create the perfect burger. It is such a satisfying feeling of efficiency that you can’t wait for our robot overlords to take over the world.
With a quirky premise, Automachef provides a unique take on the puzzle genre for gamers. For the stubborn puzzle lovers among us this unique puzzle experience is great. With a thin tutorial you are quickly left with only your brain to solve each challenge, and I loved that. You will click, rotate, add, delete, move and work your way through the ever increasing difficulty of each programming and creation challenge, to finally created automated nirvana. Just don’t forget your smart robot arm.
Publisher: Team 17 Digital
Developer: Hermes Interactive
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
Release Date: July 2019