PAX Aus 2023 Highlight – Cuisineer

Posted on October 13, 2023

Starting a restaurant is a gargantuan task, not to mention dungeon exploration. But when you combine the two of them together, it’s a crazy experience that you won’t forget. Cuisineer brings Southeast Asian cuisine to life as you manage your restaurant, using dungeon crawling to fund your expenses. Work with different flavours to bring several dishes to life and help out the townsfolk with each dungeon crawl. Your dungeon adventures will also be influenced by various tastes, using them as elements against enemies in combat.

Step into the shoes of Pom, a cat-girl who runs her own restaurant in the town of Paell. She’s inherited it from her parents but it is closed and saddled with large debts. To pay off the debts, Pom must reopen the restaurant and go into nearby dungeons to get ingredients. The treasures she obtains will become sources of funding while also obtaining ingredients from the land. But while she’s reviving the restaurant, she’s the only employee and must keep her customers happy.

Working in the restaurant is a challenge as you must prepare and serve the dishes by yourself. Just like other restaurant simulators, you’re the only employee but you’re responsible for cooking the dishes as well. The variety of dishes reflects the nature of the dungeons Pom explores, as well as some traditional Southeast Asian fare. It’s great to see those food items make it into a video game and share the diversity of the culture with players.

Dungeon exploration is typical of the rogue-like genre, but you have weapons that resemble kitchen equipment. Your elements are also replaced with your senses of taste, such as Sweet and Umami. There’s also a variety of dungeons for you to explore, which gives you new treasures and ingredients. While it’s great to dive into a dungeon and explore, there are also local townsfolk who need help. Helping townsfolk with requests gives you great rewards that benefit you down the line.

Both restaurant management and rogue-like dungeon exploration are combined together with some cultural flavour thrown in. The result is a game that pushes you to balance both aspects and find success. It’s not going to be easy, but the journey will certainly be worth it. Cuisineer will be released on November 10, 2023 on PC and is available to wishlist now on Steam.