Riddle Me Sweets is a short VN mixing bits and pieces of old tales like *Hansel and Gretel* and *Cinderella*, in a way that the siblings live under the thumb of the "step-mother", a baker who welcomed them into her home (and more or less forced them to do chores to survive). Some reprieve is found when a mouse-fairie comes to their rescue and pushes the "step-mother"/witch into the fire.
*Now's the time for escape!* If... there wasn't the mayor at the door, waiting for his order. With no way other way to escape (since the corpse is still there, burning), Hansel and Gretel must fulfil the different orders of the day and satisfy their customers.
Another wrench is thrown into the mix as neither Hansel nor Gretel ever made those recipes, and the cooking book was written in forms of riddles (so they wouldn't be stolen). So you must solve the little riddles, find the 3 correct ingredients for each recipe, and solve the day!
Some of the riddles are not super obvious, and while you have three chances to find the correct combination, you will get a game over if you mess up too much. Saving before baking each order is very much needed if you don't want to go through all the story (and potentially the previously cleared dishes). It's a bit frustrating at times, as many ingredients could fit some of the riddles, and there are no hints.
But it's still a pretty fun and silly time. I liked it :)
Always delighted to see my favourite awkward couple come back for some slice-of-life shenanigans. With this new entry to the Pageantverse, we meet back with Karen and Em - who now live together !!!! - attempting to make some dumplings from Chinese New Year. Trying to follow Karen's mother's recipe, you help prepare the (sometimes expired :grimacing: ) ingredients, constructing the dumplings, and cooking them. During this process, you can find some little tit bit about Karen and Em's relationship and daily life.
As the blurb indicates, this entry is meant as a demo for DendyNexus, a mashup between Dendry and StoryNexus, providing decks to get action-cards, each sending the player to little storylets (well, different ingredient preps). I'm looking forward to see where this engine/extension goes...
Through the self-indulgent and luxurious prose, you play as one of two fathers, tricked into having a conversation (Spoiler - click to show)with the other through a mystical and fae being. The game mirrors the paths in the unfolding of the story, as the fathers each sit at the table for their respective breakfast, peruse a letter written by their child, are confronted by a vision of said child ((Spoiler - click to show)are they real or just a figment of their imagination?), and find themselves in the presence of a godly being.
And for all their similarities in their love for their children, their family and status, the fathers still intrinsically differ. One's pride revolves around status and traditions, favouring another who can do no wrong. The other's almost wallow in nostalgia of what once was, what will never be again, what is now lost. The difference in behaviours stemming from their social status: one being of high nobility with all the required pompous regalia, the other of a lower background, whom the first would look down upon.
There is a mirror, but the reflection is false.
To fully comprehend the story and the implication of the characters' actions may require some prior knowledge of the characters - the characters and settings are part of a TTRPG campaign*. There is something so strange but lovely too about reading stories clearly meant for like three people max, yet still shared to the world. The reader is pulled in by the intrigue and the mysterious setting, but kept at bay for the rest - leaving you to fill in the gap or find your own meaning of the story. It adds to the mystique of the whole.
Ever woken up on a weekend and felt like staying in bed, all day - just that? But, then, your stomach grumbles so hard you know you *need* to feed the beast to get on with your lazy day? And *then*, you realise the only thing left in your fridge - your emergency last meal - was stolen and eaten by someone else (darn you, siblings!!)? So you struggle to find this and that and try to make something... digestible with the last of your energy?
This game is just that. Literally the title of the game describes it. You are lazy. You are starting. Here's a simulation. Will you feed yourself or pass out? Will you give up or attempt to get take out? Or will you set your house on fire because exhausted and careless people should probably not cook in that state?
While it currently has a few issues (some errors, disappearing elements and missing responses), the story knows it is silly and making fun of itself - you should not take it seriously. It's entertaining trying to hunt down the 8 different endings (8... for now), though some are more difficult than others....
In a sort of disassociation moment, through a discussion with yourself, you go through an emotional journey trying to process your feelings about loss, while trying to make a pot of tea.
Actually, it was not very clear whether you play the “I”-narrator, or the “you”-recipient, of the described [he/she/they], from the start. But it’s all you: the one struggling to make tea - rewatching that same tutorial you should now know by heart -, the one who chooses tea when asked, the one who’s struggling with loss, the one who’s feelings are messy and tangled, the one questioning their memories…
It was quite touching, reading through it all.
Mix one part Cooking Mama and one part Pokemon and you get... McPhee's Cookbook. This was definitely not what I was expecting when being tasked with making Mom's Cheesecake... and yet here I was fighting the ingredients (for my life!).
If you've ever played Pokemon - or any turn-based combat c-rpg games - you'd probably be better off than I was: between balancing my never-lasting health and the extra tough ingredients, I got my behind handed back to me at every turn. It didn't matter how many times I tried to use the Special Moves - aka the Prep - or eat snacks (that I won for doing chores)... Turns out, making cheesecake is not as easy as one think... or I just had *terrible* strategies.
Even if I kept failing (and reloading my saves for a better result), I had a pretty nice time. It's pretty sweet and funny, borderline absurd.
What a joy it is to cook with cats around! Playful little creatures meowing for little bites, slaloming between your legs for attention, and always there for tasting. The perfect - and most dangerous - distractors.
With Boris, the old and fat cat, knowledgeable in cheeses, and Natasha, the more nimble and mischievous one, always looking for the warmest places, you attempt to make an eggplant lasagna - a pretty decadent one if you manage to read the full recipe. You have all ingredients and utensils at hands, or so you think, and only need to keep yourself focused going through each step of the recipe while those two little devils try their best to distract you. Will you manage?
Well, I forgot about my lasagna and Boris and Natasha had a feast. :sob:
Anyway, it's really fun! The light-heartedness of the story and trying to fend off the feline fiends is quite challenging - but it makes the endings all the sweeter!
I should have expected the (Spoiler - click to show)Ratatouille ending, but I still snorted to hard when I got to the end. Well played!
As a short kinetic entry, Pumpkin relationship explores the themes of love, relationship, and how recipes can be synonymous to certain people in your life. Here, Anna and Ben have been a couple for quite some time, sharing - among others - a passion for cooking and delighting their friends with their creations. Every year, they go pick out the perfect pumpkin and go through the gruelling process of carving it, scooping it, mashing it... all to make the perfect pumpkin pie.
After all, love is sharing, love is caring. And their dishes - especially that pie - is an expression of that love, for each other and to others.
Though the writing is fairly concise, memories of the past and descriptions of traditions are intertwined with each step of the baking process. They connected through the pie, and will continue to connect with others through it.
[I only read the piece in English]
In this new entry, we meet with Andrey and Nikolai once more (which have appeared in consecrated before this), now living a simple and settled down life, with Winnifred, their daughter. Away from the dangerous and ever-so changing intrigue of the court, the three of them live off of love and sweets.
The writing is delectable, saccharine sweet, oozing with love and affection. On Father's Day, Andrey and Winnie are baking are trying to bake a cake for Nikolai - trying to be quiet enough so he does not awake up and walk in on the surprise. Being the cutest of toddlers, Winnie attempts to derail the cooking to satisfy her sweet tooth. The whole premise is so sweet and lovely. I just love how adorable and delightful it is.
But... I'm going to pretend Andrey cracked more than one egg, cause I don't think the cake would actually... work.