Overall - 40%
Little Dragons Cafe falls far behind any other game in the genre by miles. There just isn't enough here to keep people engaged long enough to make it worth the money.
Little Dragons Cafe is a game about running a cafe and taking care of a dragon. Does the game soar to great heights, or does it crash and burn? Check out our review and find out what we thought.
Little Dragons Cafe Review
At the start of the game, you can choose if you are male or female and can pick out a name. Directly after, you are in your cafe with your mother and sibling. There is a quick tutorial on how to run the day to day operations of the cafe and how to get cooking with ingredients. When you rest for the evening, you awaken to find that your mother has fallen ill. While you are trying to figure out what happened, a mysterious old man appears. He tells you what is wrong and gives you a dragon egg. To help your mother, you need to raise the dragon and keep the cafe running at the same time.
At first, the day to day operations are basic, as you can only explore a limited range. You go out, find ingredients, find blueprints, feed the dragon, and serve the customers that come into the cafe. As time passes, the story progresses, and specific characters who come for a meal stay to work at the cafe. Very quickly you end up with a staff that can run the cafe, even when you are absent. Your team will always stay behind while you go out to find new ingredients and explore for new blueprints. If you want to get back to the cafe, you can fast travel back with the click of a button.
There is a massive issue with running the cafe, and that is that you don’t earn money. Instead, you gain reputation points, and those are used to progress further in the story. There is a big assumption from the game that you will be interested in the story enough to keep playing. Without money, there is no real goal to work towards. The dragon upgrades as the story progresses, rather than how much you feed it. Your employees work for free as long as you bring them back ingredients to work with. A lot is riding on the story here, and if you’re not in, there isn’t enough to keep you playing.
The other half of the game revolves around raising your dragon. You can feed it multiple times a day and change its color depending on what you feed it. As it grows, it can do different things, and you can gain access to new areas on the island. For instance, in the second stage, it can break basic wood blockades and fight enemies. The fighting is one button and waiting for the dragon to hit it. Later on, it can fly, which makes gathering everything up much quicker. However, the only work you were doing becomes even easier. There is never a point in the game where you will feel challenged, and that is unfortunate. You’d expect running a cafe to run into money problems or some epic dragon problems, but you don’t really get either here.
When you are actually running the cafe, there are problems with the game, not the customers. The amount of times you get stuck on your workers is downright infuriating. It is a bizarre feeling, because I know I’m not punished for being late to an order, but I still want to get through this annoying AI. On top of that, they get cranky from time to time. The cure? Just talk to them and remind them its time to work! I understand the one lazy guy not working but your sibling taking time off? The mother is literally dying, and they decided that its time to stop working. Are they serious about running the cafe or not? Pick a lane and stick to it.
There are also no skills to level up or use. You have a garden, but it automatically grows, so all you can do is add manure to speed it up. There is a fishing mini-game that is about as basic as you can get without making it automatic. Your cooking does have a mini-game attached to it, but it is straightforward to play. It’s a rhythm game where you have to hit up, down, left or right when the picture gets into the circle. The dishes you cook do have a level and can be improved, but again you earn no money, so what is the point? It feels like they wanted to add a bunch but just decided to say screw it and make it all pointless or straightforward.
Technically I didn’t run into any bugs or glitches, and there were no crashes either. The one thing you will notice is the pop in. It is constant and everywhere; you cannot move outside without seeing a bush or a tree pop in. The graphics and music are both fine, though I do recommend looking up the art before buying it, some people might be turned off by the appearance. You should also know that they are charging $60, and that is way too steep of a price.
Little Dragons Cafe falls far behind any other game in the genre by miles. There just isn’t enough here to keep people engaged long enough to make it worth the money.