Little Dragon’s Cafe is the latest title from Harvest Moon creator, Yashuiro Wada. The game tells the story of a brother and sister who manage a cafe with their mother. One day, the two awake to find their her in a deep, coma-like sleep. The only way to wake her is by raising a dragon given to you by a suspicious old man.
I got to check out a thirty-minute demo at E3 and loved every second of it.
There are three elements to the story: managing and improving the cafe, raising the dragon, and finding a way to save your mother. Creating new recipes is essential to raising the dragon. New recipes also help build your cafe’s reputation, a key factor in progressing through the story. The three pillars of the plot seem to work in tandem, continually building upon each other.
I’m in love with the art style of Little Dragon’s Cafe. The character design is adorable, featuring great detail despite its incredibly stylized look. I’m all for games branching out and doing their own thing in terms of visuals, and Little Dragon’s Cafe is a stellar example of how, colorful, cartoon-like visuals can really help a game capture the atmosphere the developers are striving for. This isn’t an action-packed, intense experience. Rather, it’s a simple adventure, and the art style reflects that.
Little Dragon’s Cafe is gorgeous, well optimized for the hybrid system, and didn’t suffer from any frame rate drops in my playthrough. That said, I did only see the beginning portion of the game, so I can’t speak for latter parts of the story. The demo gave me the impression that development of Little Dragon’s Cafe for Switch was tailored to have the experience flow smoothly, an important factor considering the Switch’s hybrid functionality.
Little Dragon’s Cafe includes a series of mini-games throughout the story. In the cafe, players must complete a simple rhythm game when creating new recipes. While the one I played only lasted a few seconds and was far too simple, the Daedalic spokesperson confirmed that each minigame gets more and more challenging with the game’s progression.
Raising your dragon is a somewhat of a callback to Pokemon: Gold and Silver, in the sense that it follows behind you and interacts with the world. It’s fun to see how your dragon responds to different aspects of the map, like other characters, collectable items, and ingredients. You can also turn around and interact with the creature, improving its happiness. But don’t let the dragon get too tired as its stamina needs to be kept up with food that can be found around the world and whipped up into a cafe dish.
I’m more than happy with what I saw from Little Dragon’s Cafe. It’s a whimsical adventure full of adorable characters, a plot that grabbed my interest, and a slew of explorable locations I can’t wait to see more of.
Little Dragon’s Cafe releases for Switch and PlayStation 4 on August 24 in the West, and August 28 in Japan.
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