Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop Nintendo 3DS Review

Take a few minutes each day to relax with Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop.

By Daavpuke, Posted 17 May 2017

The Cooking Mama series is oft looked down upon as babying games. There is, however, certainly a market out there for its casual approach to the daily routine; enough for developer Office Create to eventually rebrand as Cooking Mama ltd., as a result to the series’ success. With Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop, the Nintendo 3DS receives a port to a 2014 Japanese release. This game treads the same path of simple mini-games in a cutesy aesthetic, so if that’s the only concern, stop reading here. Cooking Mama is as Cooking Mama does.

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop

And yes, Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop revolves around the sweeter aspect of products; the likes of cakes and cookies, but also more elaborate baked goods. Everything about the franchise is as saccharine as it comes, with bright colors, soft shapes and friendly tunes, all the while being encouraged by Mama’s giant smile and tender voice. Half of the charm in Cooking Mama comes from this perfectly soothing presentation, where table cloths with dotted flowers set the stage for the task at hand. Smooth like a summer’s breeze, as they say.

For each dish, the goal is to go through a set if miniature games, where touching, twirling or swiping appropriately continues the process. Anything from chopping up ingredients to creating molds or even just sticking a treat in the fridge, to wait for it to cool off; the game teaches, while playing, how desserts are made. A lot of these exercises repeat themselves, as there is method to the madness that is cooking a chocolate fish. As such, a lot of mini-games can pass the revue multiple times. Some screens even make it impossible to fail, only forfeiting a gold medal rating if the deed just never gets completed. Even so, “Mama will fix this” upon sporadic failure, when a sudden, giant difficulty spike pops up to keep the audience guessing.

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop

To judge Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop on a purely mechanical basis would make it an extremely dry venture, but that would also cut short what the playtime is about. This game explores in the most heartfelt, easygoing way how to cook. Who even heard of a zuccotto? Let alone realize the cake is built from shaping triangles into a round bowl, gluing the whole together with the ice cream inside. Exploration of these cute concepts is half of the fun. In addition, the friendly nature of it all makes these elaborate sweets look much less daunting to cook. Hungry yet? Time to turn on the stove.

Building off the cycle of mixing and baking, Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop sets up a small store where customers can walk in to purchase the fully created goods. Each dish also unlocks another recipe, getting more elaborate with each step. During set points, a mysterious traveler will open the game up to a worldwide challenge, where games are no longer set on relaxing, but rather trade that in for a high score chase that can unlock some cosmetics also present in the game. Want to skewer muffin balls in Canada? Now that’s possible. Money from the shop can be put towards new decoration or an outfit for mama. The proverbial stick and dangling carrot are present in this game, for when the kitchen becomes a little stale.

It can, however, sometimes be hard to maneuver through the interface in Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop, which prioritizes looking adorable rather than being functional. In particular, rearranging the shop becomes a problem later on, as dishes stack up in the aisles and can only be replaced by painstakingly shuffling them around. Additionally, some of the difficulty spikes in the game come from exercises not being completely clear. And messing up both brings the quality of the dish down and makes Mama sad, if even for a split second. No one wants to disappoint Mama.

Routine or not, Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop is a delight to go to and make a few dishes, opening up the appetite. The game may even serve the most adventurous among us to go forth and make some elaborate treats for themselves. No, the game won’t ever win any awards, due to how formulaic it is, but at the same time, there’s also no need to fix what isn’t broken. Everyone could use a soft, soothing minute to relax sometimes and what better way to do that with than to make some tasty sweets with the heartening sounds of Mama.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed (@Daavpuke)

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General Information

Platform(s):
Publisher(s): Rising Star Games
Developer(s): Cooking Mama ltd.
Genres: Casual
Themes: Cooking
Release Date: 2017-05-18

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