It’s important to consider the intended audience of a game when you’re talking about it. Something that’s obviously intended for kids – say, Barbie and her Sisters: Puppy Rescue – should probably be examined through that lens. Dropping a fat 4/10 on it might feel good, but it doesn’t make for an especially useful evaluation of the actual game. Likewise, I could say that Waku Waku Sweets is a bad game, but it’s not – it’s just obviously not meant for me. It’s meant for kids who are interested in cooking. I might be a kid, but, well, cooking…nah.
We follow Lime, a young lady who wants nothing more than to be a dessert chef. It’s her dream! How fortunate, then, that she happens to live near the Fil Rouge dessert shop, that Fil Rouge happens to be hiring and that the proprietor is willing to take a chance on an untested chef. You don’t just become a great chef by wanting to do so, of course, so Lime’s going to have to learn by doing – and that means cooking, cooking and more cooking. What’s more, Lime’s also discovered a fairy who’s interested in making her dreams come true – all she has to do is use her cooking to make people happy.
Cooking basically amounts to playing Cooking Mama, though Waku Waku Sweets takes a lot of the bite out of the difficulty from those games. You’ll choose a recipe and follow the on-screen directions, typically involving holding a trigger while you move the stick or motion controls about to stir, pour or sift. You don’t really have to worry about failure, as this is very much a game for young chefs-to-be and nothing short of completely disregarding the screen will dock you points. In terms of recipe selection, there’s over a hundred options available so you’re sure to find something you want to eat.
You’ll cook at your job, you’ll cook on your own time and give the results to friends, you’ll buy new recipes with the money you make from cooking so you can cook some more. Other options include customizing Lime’s look and and making sure everyone in town is happy; that’s something of an overarching goal, really, as you’re meant to use your cooking expertise to improve people’s lives. It’s a cute, wholesome concept that’s well-suited for a kid’s game.
Likewise, Waku Waku Sweets’ adorable look and feel is sure to please young chefs. It’s all soft, rounded edges and easily-grasped cooking instructions. Naturally, you shouldn’t expect anything too impressive in terms of narrative, but that’s not what we’re here for; we’re here to make Japanese desserts with names we can’t pronounce, and darn it, Waku Waku Sweets is going to let you do that.
All that said, no, Waku Waku Sweets is not a high-quality cooking simulator for all of you who’d like to be Gordon Ramsey. It’s not trying to be. It’s a highly adorable, light cooking sim with life sim elements meant for kids and people who want something a little more relaxing in their gaming diets. Waku Waku Sweets is fantastic at achieving what it sounds out to do. You might say…it’s sweet. Or you wouldn’t. Please don’t, actually.