Created by Sonic Powered Co, Waku Waku Sweets are part cooking simulator game, part visual novel. Originally released for the Nintendo 3DS in March 2018, the game made the jump to Nintendo Switch in November 2018. The game is more than just a quick port, though, it’s clear that an equal amount of effort was put into both versions. Waku Waku Sweets follows the story of Lime, an aspiring pastry chef.
Lime has just landed a new job at a pastry shop in town, and she learns a basic cake recipe on her first day. She’s also introduced to the owner and staff, who are all a colourful bunch. She also meets a fairy who asks her what her wish is. Naturally, Lime quickly explains that her dream has always been to become a great pastry chef. The fairy tries to grant her wish, but then explains that first she must gather enough happiness from the townspeople. She can do this by giving them the sweets they desire, with each of them giving her a bit.
Waku Waku Sweets feature over 100 recipes. There’s a great variety of sweets, including both western and eastern dishes, ranging from cookies to cakes to sweet bean monakas. All of them have their own unique set of mini games, which need to be completed in order to create them. If you’re familiar with the Cooking Mama series, this will feel very familiar. With your Nintendo Switch in handheld mode, you can only use the analog sticks on the joy-con controllers to play. If the Switch is docked, you also have the option of using motion controls. These are a bit more involved, requiring you to tilt the joy-con controller to imitate a pouring motion or move it up and down to imitate a spreading motion. A timer is always running in the top left corner of the screen, and the faster you are at cooking, the better your final score at the end.
Every time you complete a cooking session with a maximum rating of three stars, you’ll partially fill up a rainbow meter in the top-left corner of the screen. When this meter becomes full, you’ll have the opportunity to enter a cooking contest. The contests require you to cook a bunch of recipes, one right after the other. You don’t get to choose which one you’ll prepare next, which makes it a bit random. Winning a contest rewards you with the ability to unlock new recipes in the shop that you can buy, and then the cycle repeats as you continue cooking and filling the gauge again.
There’s plenty of the story to see, as Lime makes her way around town and interacts with both her coworkers and the townspeople. You can see exclamation marks appear over certain locations, showing that there’s a scene available there. During these scenes, you’ll usually be given a chance to offer the person one of Lime’s creations, and you need to try to choose the one that matches their requirements. Therefore, it’s good to keep a decent variety of food in your inventory at all times, since you never know what you’ll need. You can only carry up to 6 items at once in your inventory, so it’s good to cook up a variety. Unfortunately, there’s no way to skip story scenes. It would be a good feature to have in case you make a mistake by offering a present to someone (you only get one chance) and decide to reload the game.
Waku Waku Sweets is a light-hearted game with a colourful look. It has a sharp looking, high quality visual presentation with colours that really pop. You can also change Lime’s outfit and hair by visiting the salon in town, which gives Waku Waku Sweets a bit more visual appeal. You can buy more recipes from the town’s shop whenever you like, as long as you have enough coins. The coins are in very limited supply, so you’ll want to choose your receipts carefully early on so that you have a good variety of types available to fulfil requests. The only downside is that the cast of characters is a little limited, so you can start to see some repeated dialogue after a while.
Waku Waku Sweet’s audio mainly comprises sound effects while cooking, plus a bunch of energetic pieces of background music that play while Lime is working. The town is a relaxed place, and the subdued music helps to set the atmosphere well. There’s no voice acting, which takes away from the game a little, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker. The characters still manage to have plenty of personality, even without it.
Overall, Waku Waku sweets is a fun cooking simulator/visual novel with high quality presentation, lots of recipes and mini-games to play with, and plenty of content too. The addition of a story helps set Waku Waku Sweets apart from a game like Cooking Mama, where the gameplay consists solely of mini-games with no narrative. There are many improvements over the 3DS version, including more animations, different costumes for Lime, and much sharper artwork. A lot of love has clearly been put into Waku Waku Sweets, and it’s a game that keeps on giving as players progress further and further on Lime’s journey. I highly recommended this game if you’re looking for something lighthearted and fairly casual, with plenty of tasty looking food to check out as a bonus.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Waku Waku Sweets Review
Gameplay - 9/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
Waku Waku sweets is a fun cooking simulator/visual novel with high quality presentation, lots of recipes and mini-games to play with, and plenty of content too.
- High quality, colourful graphics.
- Over 100 tasty looking recipes to make, each with their own set of minigames.
- Lighthearted story mode with a cast of fun characters.
- No way to skip story scenes.
- No voice acting.