Should Adventure Bar Story really exist? Have casual gamers been clamoring for more turn-based combat in their restaurant management sims? Have adventure gamers been seeking heavier focus on cooking in their RPGs? Either way, we’ll call it a success in that we shouldn’t actually be asking whether Adventure Bar Story should exist, but instead how it manages to work so well.
What is it?
Adventure Bar Story pretty much sums itself up in its title. It’s an adventure RPG that tells the story of the main character’s sister’s bar.
Kamerina’s Bar is not a good one, you see, and the local evil proprietor, Gustav, wants to take it over. Rather than put on a show to save the tavern, as you would in an ’80s movie, you take a crazy course of action and decide to make the tavern better. If it’s the most popular tavern in town, after all, you’ll no longer be at risk of a takeover.
How does it work?
Adventure Bar Story is a solid combination of turn-based combat, RPG adventuring and restaurant management. As Siela, you’ll venture out of town to hunt down animals and collect ingredients (as well as complete various quests, of course). You’ll acquire recipes along the way, learning not only what ingredients you need to collect, but what equipment you need to prepare them.
The better your menu, the more successful your restaurant will be. This is important, because you level up not be defeating monsters, but by preparing and eating food.
The RPG elements come from venturing away from town to fight monsters and collect their meet. The turn-based combat takes place on a small grid, and is easy to manage…perhaps too easy. The actual combat strategy is minimal, with victory more or less being determined by the strength of your party and their weapons. I would’ve preferred a more robust combat system, but I think the balance between RPG and casual gaming will work for most players.
Is it contagious?
How you feel about Adventure Bar Story will be determined by what you want out of your RPGs and/or restaurant sims. Playing an RPG from the point-of-view of the tavern owner (a staple of fantasy RPGs) is a unique approach, and the story and characters here are charming enough to carry you through RideonJapan’s claimed 50 to 70 hours of gameplay if you work through all the quests and try to complete all of 400+ recipes in the game. That’s an awful lot of gaming.
However, a somewhat clunky interface (especially on the cooking side) may prevent you from getting that deep. Once you are into the system and have a good feel for how the game wants you to play it, Adventure Bar Story is quite a bit of fun, but getting there can be tough as the tutorials don’t do a great job of preparing you for the game’s flow and the tasks ahead. You’ll likely lose more battles than you’ll want by inadvertently reaching beyond your current level, and you’ll open your restaurant with little more than cucumber water.
But the adventurer in me refuses to leave a quest uncompleted. I’m sure many casual gamers will refuse to leave a customer unsatisfied. If either applies to you, Adventure Bar Story will keep you engaged for a long time to come.