“ Manufacturer: Big Fish Games / Genre: Action & Adventure „
I first played Chocolatier many years ago, and found it to be quite enjoyable although quite short, which put me off forking out for the sequel. However, when I saw Chocolatier 2 - Secret Ingredients was the £2.34 deal of the day on Big Fish Games a couple of weeks ago I decided I would treat myself.
Chocolatier 2 is a strategy game where you play erm, well not surprisingly a Chocolatier. You have been recruited by Alex Baumeister, daughter of the chairman of Baumeister Confections, to start a rival company. This seemed a bit weird at first as in the first game you restored Baumeister Confections to its former glory, but now it all seems to have gone wrong again. Alex's father is trying to force her to marry his devious business partner Christopher Monero, while she is in love with free spirit Sean. In making a rival company she hopes to show her father the error of his ways....
The game play is very similar to that of Chocolatier but in case you are not familiar with the game here is an outline. In your role as chocolatier you are responsible for all aspects of the chocolate making business. You need to source your ingredients, take them to the factory, make the chocolates, and then sell them to confectionary shops across the world.
Ingredients are available from markets across the globe - you initially only have 3 locations to choose from but you end up with about 20 different locations from you start in San Francisco all the way across to Sydney. Most locations stock basics such as sugar and milk, but most ingredients are only available in a few places. Basic Cacao Beans needed for most recipes are only available in countries along the equator for example. The secret ingredients such as fire ants and lavender honey are only available in special locations that are revealed throughout the game. Although all ingredients are available all year round, some of the items are only in season for certain months of the year and will cost around triple the price out of season. You can haggle at the markets, but you need to be wary that this may annoy the seller and prices may go up as well as down! In Abidjan you can buy flowers which if presented to the correct shopkeeper can improve your success rate, but this wasn't something I remembered to do. You need to make sure that you have enough ingredients to keep your factories running, but don't buy if you are not going to use them as they expire after a few weeks if they are not used!
Once you have your ingredients you need to take them to the factory to be made into chocolates. You start the game owning the factory in San Francisco, and you can purchase 5 more factories that get progressively more expensive as you move through the game. You make chocolates by firing ingredients into cases spinning around the firing cannon. For example if you wanted to make Milk Chocolate squares you would need to fire a cacao bean, sugar and milk into each case. You get a minute to do this and the number you make is the amount of chocolates your factory will make each week. Your factories will continue to churn these recipes for as long as you have stock in inventory. As you move through the game you can make other types of chocolates - truffles, infusions, sauces, pralines and exotics - you will need to upgrade the machinery at your factories to make different types of chocolates.
Once you have your chocolates you need to sell them to fund making more - the easiest way to do this is through the confectionary shops that are in most towns. As you progress through the game you will get the option to purchase some of the shops and these will always give you the best prices. You can also haggle at the shops to get a better selling price, like at the markets, as well as using flowers to get a better success rate.
As you travel around the world you will encounter people wanting to purchase chocolates from you in exchange for ingredients, cash or recipes. This can be a great way to build up your bank balance or inventory as the rate is normally much better. These missions are optional, but you must do the ones in exchange for recipes as you cannot complete the game unless you collect all the recipes. You will also get general messages, such as if an ingredient or chocolate is worth more or less in a certain country, as well as the opportunity to play games of chance for money. There are also unscrupulous characters who will try and trick you, so you need to be on your guard that not all offers should be taken at face value.
One of the big changes to the second game is the addition of a Chocolate Lab where you can create recipes. You don't actually create them free hand but you select what goes into them, and the manager steers you towards the right recipe. Some of these creations are a bit different, like chocolate coated fire ants! This addition adds a bit of longevity to the game as you can only access the lab every few weeks so you have to go away and do other things between creations.
The aim of the game is to collect all the recipes to gain support from all the Baumeister stakeholders and take over Baumeister confections. I'm not a huge gamer so it took me a couple of weeks to complete this one, although I don't play every day - however you can play this infinitely as the game doesn't stop once you become CEO, you can keep making and selling chocolates for as long as you want. There is also a free play mode where you start with £20k and just keep making chocolates to make as much money as you can. You have the option to submit your score to the global list, so you can see if your score compares to others across the world.
I really enjoyed Chocolatier 2 - Secret Ingredients. It is really different to other pc games I have played, and held my interest for ages. You can play free for an hour, but the game is now £8.61 (or £5.86 to games club members) so I would recommend that you try it first to see if it is your thing before buying. There is also a 3rd chocolatier game available, called Decadence by Design, and I will be keeping an eye out for this to be game of the day, as it will be interesting to see what changes they make to the game!
Perseverance - that is definitely the secret ingredient you need to play this game. It is very similar in gameplay and style to the first game, and the graphics haven't changed much although they look a little cleaner and more refined, and the storyline is much the same albeit with a few name-changes. The main difference however is that it is much, much more difficult. Everything in the game seems to me to be more expensive and with fewer returns for chocolates sold. The game itself however has many hours worth of play time, although most of this is due to doing the same thing over and over again. However with a little grit and determination, not to mention shrewd business sense and a good memory to remember all those prices, it could be quite rewarding to collect all the recipes needed to win the game, as well as winning various trophies for passing milestones within the game. I will admit though, I gave up about half an hour after I started!
The delicious world of chocolate is once again turned on its side. There is a mole controlling Baumeister Confections, and it is up to you to build a new empire from the ground up and take over Baumeister Confections.