Chocolatier has proved to be a different sort of animal. It's kind of a sim-chocolate-maker game, and it's kind of an action puzzle game. The whole thing is set in the time of trains and steamships, with artwork to match. Chocolatier has so much going on that I'm finding it difficult to describe it in any sort of organized fashion, so please, dear reader, bear with me.
I have the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Miss Evangeline Baumeister as I begin my game in Story mode. She wants to mentor me in the ways of creating that incredible, edible, gold chocolate. Once I have done the first task she asks of me - delivering and selling a case of chocolate to the local sweet shop - she meets me in her home, The Cliff Chalet, to continue her instructions. Pay close attention to everything Evangeline tells you. You have no chance of success without learning from her experience. She not only trains you, she gives you your starting finances and your first chocolate factory.
The Baumeister family has a long history as chocolatiers. Some currently unknown event caused a rift within the family, and the siblings have since gone their separate ways. Evangeline has chosen me to learn the trade and to recover the widespread, missing Baumeister chocolate recipes to build my own chocolate empire.
There are 14 different locations across the world that you will eventually unlock as you play the main story in Chocolatier. Your story begins in San Francisco, with New York and Merida as your only other options. When a new city is unlocked, you get a flashing question mark there until the first time you visit. Unreachable cities show a red bar. Each city has multiple locations to visit. You will likely see a chocolate shop, a market (each city offers different ingredients in its market), a location where the locals gather and other possible places to explore.
Some cities have chocolate factories for sale - providing you can meet the conditions. Eventually, you can purchase chocolate shops. A city where you own a factory will show you a little factory picture on the world map. A sweet shop will show as a little shop. There are six factories you can potentially purchase as you move up through the ranks in Chocolatier. In order to build your chocolate empire, you are going to need these factories.
There are 64 chocolate recipes that you need to unlock throughout your travels. Initially, you will only be working with chocolate bars. Eventually, you will uncover the mysteries of squares, infusions and truffles. There are 16 recipes of each kind. You can look in your recipe book to see all of the mouth-watering options, but you will not know how to make them. The unknown recipes have a question mark over the oh-so-realistic picture of the confection in question. After that first meeting and chocolate delivery for Evangeline, she will send you to the man that will give you your first recipe to get you started.
As you acquire new recipes, you will discover that you need to update the machinery at the factory in order to create that type of delectable new treat. If you're doing things right, money will not be a problem. Watch the market. Buy your ingredients cheap, and sell the chocolate at its peak. You'll do fine.
While ingredients will be shipped direct to the factory, you do need to personally travel to each market to buy their ingredients or to sell your chocolates. Each leg of travel will take a given amount of time (You'll see it in advance.) and will cost you a certain amount of money. You also will need to travel to an individual factory if you want to change the recipe.
Setting the new recipe in your factory is where the arcade action comes in to play. You'll first select the recipe from those known in your book. If you pick one that requires an equipment upgrade, you'll be prompted to do that before you can continue. Now that the recipe is set, you click on "Make Chocolates." There is a spinning array of circles. You need to fire into each circle the correct combination of ingredients for the chocolate confection you're making. The faster and more accurate you are, the faster the ingredients come and the faster the circles spin around you. You're trying to complete as many combinations as you can in the minute provided, because this sets your weekly production level for that factory. If you're not happy with your results, you can try again as many times as you want. Keep in mind, though, that whatever your results, that is your production level. You don't get to go back to a higher score if you do worse the next time around.
After you're started at your first factory, you get to name and design your company sign. The graphics selection is a bit limited but still very nice and appropriate for the time period in which the game is set. I like that you get to customize this feature and that the sign appears on this and all future factories acquired.
You will find that you can only work on one quest at a time in Chocolatier. The top bar of your Messages screen will tell you what you're working on in case you forget. It also keeps running track of what you've been doing in the game. If you forget you're on a quest and try to get another, the person will politely remind you that you're doing something else at the moment. Don't think this means you'll only be producing one type of chocolate, oh no! Before you're done you've got six chocolate factories throughout the world to keep six chocolate supplied with the necessary ingredients to keep everyone happy...AND keep up with your orders and quests.
Chocolatier has kept me incredibly busy. Between managing ingredients and chocolate sales and completing quests, there is a lot to do. I really enjoy seeing the story of the Baumeister family unfold as I talk to the characters. The graphics are nice, and the music is completely appropriate for the feeling of the era. Really, I have only one warning for the unwary player - if you're on a diet and you like your chocolate, stay away. Stay far away. The chocolates are so perfect-looking, you will want to reach in and grab them off the screen. Thank goodness the computer isn't scratch and sniff. Bon appetit!