Review: Culina: The Spirit of Cooking

2/09/2013

visual novel review of culina: The spirit of Cooking

Culina: The Spirit of Cooking is the first game in a series of games that allows you to own a restaurant. In  this first game, the "owning a restaurant" part does not take place yet, but  that will come in the next installments.


Likes:
- The portrayal of the characters. They weren't just stereotypes, and they were like real people who had different feelings. Although it is true that they didn't have any qualities that actually made them stand out. There were 4 characters in total:


Player (name changeable)
The... er, player. It's in first person after all.

Emily
The player's love interest.

Paul
The player's best friend.

visual novel review of culina: The spirit of Cooking

Lisa
The best friend's love interest.

- The art was clean and fresh. It was a new style for me, and I pretty much liked it.
- The GUI was also nicely made. They truly made a good work of the designs.
- The music was alright. I would have liked softer tones, but I think the soundtrack for this game was done pretty well.

Dislikes:
- Way too short for my liking. :)
- There was no cooking part yet. Hahaha. :) Or any mini-game or menu-making related to cooking actually. I was thinking that there would at least be some parts that had something to do with cooking. But nope, nope. The main boy and main girl talked about cooking for like, 2 minutes of reading time or so, but just that. :) Mostly they just focused on their relationship.
- Some scenes felt rushed.
- The game kept hanging while I played to take screenshots. The music is nice, but not when it it's beeping and skipping. I don't know what happened, it worked perfectly when I first played. But now... eh, I'm not really sure why it stopped responding.

Notes:
For me, owning a restaurant seems pretty fun. So when I read that this game lets you do just that, I was kinda excited. However, I was a bit disappointed because this game didn't have that yet. They hardly talked about food too. In the beginning, yup, they pretty much did, but as the story progressed, the main boy and girl just focused mainly on their relationship. Of course, the food management thingy was still mentioned every now and then, but still, I was expecting something more.

When it comes to all the VN elements, I wasn't let down at all. The art was nice and a fresh change from the usual, the GUI was clean, the music was great, and the story was really... real. Genuine. I love how the relationships were portrayed in a very realistic manner.

Like I said, I liked the portrayal of the characters because they weren't stereotypes. Still, they were a bit too... shall we say, bland? Nothing was outstanding about them. The writer did a good job with them, because I felt like I was in there while playing, but after playing, they're a bit forgettable already.

I think this was a bit too short though. But apparently this is also the first game in a series, so I guess that can be forgiven. My rating? 8/10. I'll be surely looking forward to a new installment.

Here is their official site.

P.S. Sorry if there were no screenshots! The game kept hanging on me and after around 15 minutes of the constant beep-skip-beep-skip I decided to just try again another time. :)

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