Game: Lemon Cake
Release Date: Feb. 18, 2021
What Is Lemon Cake?
Lemon cake traditionally is a dessert. A very yummy dessert. However, in this particular case, it is also a game! Lemon Cake by Éloïse Laroche is an adorably charming game about running a bakery.
Essentially, this game is all about running your own bakery. You can create your character, and then take over the operations of an old bakery that has fallen into disrepair. At the start, there is only one working oven and a small list of available recipes. However, as you progress through the game you are earning money from the pastries you sell which can then be used to purchase upgrades to the bakery. You can purchase display stands for your front windows (which are extremely useful as you can stock these with goodies before you open and people can purchase them without taking up your time). There are a lot of kitchen upgrades to get to improve your abilities.
One feature I absolutely love is that you have the ability to set up your bakery to have homeless cats out front which customers can then adopt! Of course, you can pet the kitties too. (Tip- you can also bring out milk to give to them if they aren't asleep!)
You also get a garden! Well, of sorts. Off to the right of the kitchen is a room where you can grow trees to provide apples, cherries, or cocoa. You can have plants to provide carrots, grapes, strawberries, and blueberries. Somehow you can even have a cow, chickens, and bees in this room! As you take care of your animals and water your plants, these provide materials for your baking to help you expand your menu selection. Honestly, this is such a cute, peaceful room that I wish I could have one at my house…especially if the fruits and vegetables grow as fast as they do in game.
Of course, in order to use all these yummy ingredients, you first need Bonbon to teach you the recipes. Oh, did I mention that Bonbon is a ghost?
There are G-g-g-ghosts?
Yes, when you start the game you first encounter a friendly little ghost named Bonbon. She is absolutely adorable. Bonbon used to be the owner of this bakery and it was truly her pride and joy. While she generally remains out of sight so that the customers aren't scared, she helps keep your kitchen stocked with supplies and will teach you recipes as you level up. Eventually, she may even teach you the recipe for her famous Lemon Cake!
The only other ghost in the game is a grumpy looking health inspector ghost who sometimes shows up after you close. He actually provides a minigame of catching bugs around your bakery…which begs the question as to why there are so many bugs there? I don't think I'd want to eat in that bakery after seeing how many bugs they have to catch in the evenings. But I digress…
There is a cute little budding relationship to watch between these two ghosts as well.
How it Differs
There are a lot of cooking games out right now. I have actually played several, but thought that I did not like this genre. It always seemed too anxiety-inducing for me having to rush, rush, rush. Most of these games are all about speed in order to keep things moving and keep your customers happy (and not burn down your kitchen).
However, Lemon Cake has a different feel to me. Yes, there is still the rushing to fill customers orders, clean the tables, keep the displays stocked, water the plants, sweep the floor, and so forth. It doesn't feel as chaotic to me though. Part of it is the “preparation” time you have. At the start of each day, the clock stays at 8:00 for as long as you want until you go and unlock the front doors of the bakery. During this time, you can make all the pastries you would like to and fill all your displays. Water your plants, brush your cow and basically get your mise en place.
The days also move pretty quick. Yes, it can still get hectic. However, before you are even able to start to have a panic attack the day is over. The customers have left. You can breathe again. There are plenty of opportunities in this game to actually take a second to enjoy the feeling of running your own bakery. You have a fun bedroom upstairs which (once you fix it up) can be very cozy and comfortable. There are even pets you can adopt for yourself after it's all remodeled!
While many games in this same theme of running a kitchen are not my favorites due to the quickness which can produce anxiety…Lemon Cake is special. This game offers a fast pace, yet is relaxing. It is comfortable, while still being challenging. There are attainable goals to keep reaching towards and real benefits to be seen from purchasing upgrades. In short, it keeps me coming back for more.
And I want some real lemon cake now too.