Automachef (NS) - this is as pretty as it ever gets

Automachef (NS) – this is as pretty as it ever gets

Running your own automated food production line might not sound very exciting but this is one of the best puzzlers of the year.

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There are a lot of very good video games based around some very strange ideas, and oddly a lot of them have to do with food. Matching similar-looking sweeties in Candy Crush Saga is nothing compared to trying to save the world from undead slices of bread in Overcooked 2, and yet Automachef is arguably even stranger. Not so much in terms of its concept but how it absolutely refuses to dress it up in any way that might seem appealing to an ordinary gamer.

Automachef is possibly the least sexed-up game weve ever played, and yet by making itself look as dull and fiddly as possible it comes all the way back round to being interesting again. Its about setting up an automated food production factory, which obviously isnt quite up there with flying spaceships and fightging eldritch gods… but not everything has to be.



The game isnt without a sense humour – demonstrated by the thinly veiled global domination plans of your robot helper – but theres no hiding the fact that setting up conveyor belts and reprogramming deep fat fryers is about as exciting as the gameplay gets. But you know what? Its perverse lack of thrills is actually strangely compelling.

Were really not overstating the lack of razzmatazz in Automachefs presentation. As soon as you start the game youre thrown straight into a very dour-looking tutorial about how to make the perfect burger without involving any human interaction at all. You start by plonking down various bits of machinery and conveyor belts where they need to go, but thats usually the easy part. The difficult bit is fine-tuning the equipment so that it does the right thing with the right kind of food and spits it out at the right moment to be collected and put together as a complete meal.

The most complex part of the machinery is something called an order reader, which were pretty sure isnt a thing in real life. These are able to monitor whats going on with other devices, if theyre connected up, and regulates or changes their function depending on whats needed and what food is currently passing through them.

As such, each piece of machinery, from robot arms to toaster ovens, can be reprogrammed in multiple ways to determine what it does, how often it does it, and how it responds to input from other parts of the assembly. This is all defined by clicking through a serious of drop-down menus that make it look like your Switch is running a copy of Microsoft Excel.



But as amusingly antiseptic as the interface is, its easy to navigate and understand. At which point you realise that the game as a whole doesnt really have anything to do with food but is instead one giant logic puzzle, and the factory youre creating is really one giant, animated flow chart.

Automachef (NS) - things can get a bit complicated...

Automachef (NS) – things can get a bit complicated…

The primary enjoyment in Automachef is creating the layouts necessary to produce the food but there is a nominal gameplay structure on top to judge how well youre doing. Just like most dining themed games you get a set period of time to deliver the required meals, included variants, and are scored according to not only whether you served everything up on time but how efficiently you did it.

For every stage you also have a range of different limitations in terms of money, time, floor space, and power consumption – with the latter being particularly difficult to work around and requiring lots more fine-tuning of equipment settings. Thats the point where the game starts to veer away from simple idiosyncrasy to straight up perversion, as worrying about how much wattage your production line is eating up really isnt that interesting.

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Even with the threat of blackouts though Automachef is never entirely overwhelming and for such a cheap game theres a good range of content, with not just a campaign mode but also a more freeform Contracts option, which is essentially a sandbox mode where youre trying to earn more money to unlock moreRead More – Source