Posted by : Starships and Dragons Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I was never much of a mobile gamer. Most of the games on my tablet or phone are rhythm games or visual novels. My main genre of video games, RPGs, has a very limited presence on the iOS or Google Play store. Even more than that, there was an apparent lack of management RPGs.

And then, I found Adventure Bar Story.

Adventure Bar Story is a management RPG where you play as a girl named Siela trying to stop her family bar from closing. You can attain other characters to join your party, sans your sister Kamerina who stays at the bar. Among these are Fred, Siela's greedy childhood friend who runs the local store, Alfine, a talented wizard-in-training with a penchant for sweets, and Alter, an adventurer who often visits the bar and gets drunk.

 The game combines qualities of a typical JRPG and mashes it together with a simpler version of Cooking Mama. To keep your bar alive, you need to cook dishes to put on the menu to earn money and enter contests. To cook dishes, you have to collect ingredients in dungeons, where monsters can also drop ingredients. To progress and succeed in dungeons without dying, characters have to eat dishes to gain experience and level up. When there are certain ingredients that you do not have, you have to use money to buy from stores, especially Fred's store (who only helps you so you can buy from him anyway).

The battle system is a typical turn-based attack and guard system. During battle, you may use skills that aid our characters in some way. To get these skills, you have to gain certain types of EP, which replaces the experience monsters typically give you. Most characters share skills, though some may be exclusive to one (for example, Alter is the only one who is able to get drunk and use special drunken skills). Eating certain foods will have special effects in battle, though only the dish a character has most recently eaten is the only effect that they have on them.

The cooking itself is rather simplistic. Get ingredients, have the cooking utensil, and use the recipe. Recipes have to be bought or guessed. As you get new ingredients, you will unlock hint recipes, which are recipes that have an ingredient that is unknown, and you must guess it to be able to cook the dish. You can also use jewels, which is the typical currency you can be with actual money, to unlock these recipes or let you cook a dish. You then place it on the menu, where Kamerina sells it.

Adventure Bar Story is a rather simplistic and somewhat addicting JRPG. It has a very classic style of gameplay with likable characters. As someone who enjoys collecting items in games, it's really satisfying getting more and more recipes. The dungeons are fairly difficult if you aren't leveled enough, and you're constantly motivated to go cook and get ingredients to level up. It's the type of game that would be fun for casual gamers and completionists.

There are a fair amount of flaws, though. The soundtrack isn't fun, the text is littered with typos, controls don't always function the way they should, and it's tedious to backtrack to earlier dungeons to get ingredients there. And the game forces you to make needlessly costly dishes and buy ingredients from Fred to succeed (that capitalistic, greedy jerk). There are times where I've had to stop because the game was frustratingly unwilling to do what it should.

Even so, I do recommend this game to people who enjoy RPGs. The price of the game is somewhat reasonable for its quality (currently, it is $3.25 on the Google Play Store and $2.99 on the App Store). Adventure Bar Story is fun in its own little niche. If you're not a friend of mobile games, Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale on Windows has a very similar theme. You won't be wasting your time.

Hope you guys have a great day. -Angela

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