The Tycoon/Sim genre is really pushing the boundaries now. These games have given us the ability to control towers, cities, holiday resorts, trains and even people themselves.
Now comes another game, this time giving you the ability to control your own restaurant. If you have ever wanted to be a chef, restaurant owner or even wondered what it could be like then this is the game for you.
You take on the role of Armand LeBoeuf, a young chef who has persuaded his uncle to hand over the keys to his restaurant, which has closed due to the tactics of an all conquering corporation.
Restaurant Empire allows you to control almost everything about the restaurant itself, including the menus, staff, interior and exterior looks and what is actually on the menu. At first the number of things you can do it definitely overwhelming but once you get the hang of things you'll know exactly what to do and how to approach any problem you come across.
The game starts off through a series of tutorials designed around a number of subjects, well I call them tutorials but each one is more of a mini scenario in which you have a certain goal to reach before you can continue.
In these tutorials you are taken though the menus, including the food and the ingredients. You are shown how to change the look of the menu, which involves the typeface and the menu background.
Staff is another issue covered in the tutorials, which is really easy to get to grips with, you can hire, fire and raise/lower their salary if you deem it appropriate. Staff are split into various groups of which you have a maximum number you can hire. For example you are allowed only one Kitchen Porter or Receptionist but can have any number of Servers.
Once you've mastered the controls and hired the right staff you then have to think about your customers. Customers have the ability to make or break your restaurant, each one having their opinion of it and affecting its overall rating.
Some customers come to the restaurant expecting big things but when their food arrives late, cold and of poor quality they let their feelings known and you have to do something about it.
Customers also help you figure out what you need or what you should have on your menu. They also help you tweak your prices so they are happy with what they are paying for. If they think something is too expensive then they will let you know and its your job to lower the price to keep them coming back.
Some customers come to your restaurant offering to purchase a recipe from you or sell you high-quality ingredients or a new recipe, which you can then add to your menu. The one problem with this is that the price for purchasing a new recipe is usually far too high so you can be stuck with the same menu for a few months before you have enough money to buy one.
The graphics are nicely done and the models are of high quality. The restaurant itself and the surrounding buildings all look nice and are varied. This type of game isn't going to break any graphical boundaries but they work and that's all that is needed.
Overall Restaurant Empire looks like it could be a success. Sure its not going to be every ones cup of tea but if you liked all of the other Tycoon/Sim games you'll probably like this one too.