Chocolatier III: Decadence by Design
Developer: Big Splash Games
Released on Aug 12, 2009
One year ago, I discovered the Chocolatier series that belonged in the genre of business and time management games, sharing similarities with the tycoon games where you would build your own business from the ground up into a wealthy empire. In this one, you will be distributing chocolate confections all across the world to seek out new ingredients and recipes.
Genre: Business Simulation
The Chocolatier Series as a Whole
In the first two games, the player collaborated with the board members of Baumeister Confections, a family-owned corporation producing the finest chocolates. At the beginning, s/he is brought on board to save their company from financial ruin.
You were able to move up the ranks with ease as long as you follow the given tutorials. Though it was a matter of buying low and selling high to generate profits which could be invested in improved technology for your factories and buying new recipes.
The Setting of Chocolatier III
But in the third game Chocolatier: Decadence by Design, the player returns to help Alex Tangye, who inherited Baumeister Confections, find her missing husband Sean in the aftermath of WWII. Reports of missing military men were quite common since they could’ve been shot dead or captured in prison camps.
She entrusts you with an initial investment of 100 sacks of cacao and sugar to see if you have what it takes to maintain the company’s competitive edge in the global marketplace.
You’re responsible for buying ingredients from local shops, keeping your factories running, inventing secret recipes, and selling your wares to ports around the world.
You get to meet the board members who will introduce you to family recipes and entrust you with the factories that manufacture boxes of gourmet chocolate to sell to vendors.
Once you’ve earned all of their endorsements, you are ready to take over as the CEO of Baumeister Confections, bringing innovation to the chocolate empire.
You’ll encounter people from diverse cultures and travel to different ports, each having their own unique store packed with the exotic ingredients you need to make gourmet chocolates. Sometimes the locals will drop hints on how to complete certain quests.
There isn’t much else besides uncovering clues on the whereabouts of Alex’s husband while you fly from one location to another.
Chocolatier III Gameplay
In the beginning, you only have one recipe for Basic Chocolate Bars. Later on, you discover plenty of interesting recipes that utilize new ingredients from ports that you unlock. You’ll have to complete all tasks in one port before moving onto the next.
Every port has buildings/landmarks you can click on to receive new quests from locals. They usually ask you to bring boxes of chocolates for business parties, as an exchange of goods, to obtain more recipes, and of course, the occasional shady bribe.
In the main menu, you can access your Quest Log, Inventory, and Recipe book. These are crucial for keeping track of what items you have in stock, which tasks you’re working on, and the number of recipes you’ve collected.
As a budding chocolatier, you’ll be operating multiple factories at once. To make chocolate bars, infusions, truffles, and exotics, you use the mouse to aim and shoot ingredients into the round trays.
It is exclusively a point-&-click game so don’t worry about the possibility of bankrupting your company. Chocolatier: Decadence by Design is not something you can easily lose to.
A smart trick is to fill all five trays before a single one is eaten up by the machine to automatically produce five chocolates. Further into the game, when you start making infusions, you can take advantage of color matching to increase the number of cases made per week.
Once the spots have been filled, the trays containing sugar, cacao, fruits, or spices are converted into chocolates that drop into boxes. But beware, wasting ingredients will slow down production and missing eight forces you to start over.
Coffees are a different matter altogether. Those factories rely on you to fire coffee beans, cream, sugar, and spices onto conveyor belts. Patterns of ingredients are carried downwards while you fire from your injector. You must match three or more of the same type before any coffee is manufactured.
Anyway, those are just the basics you ought to keep in mind. Oh and don’t forget to recycle your unwanted ingredients. It’s not fun having to hunt down a good bargain on milk solids by trying to guess which port is selling them and at a reasonable price. Fortunately, people have made guides to the locations and materials.
To cut costs, you are given the option to haggle with merchants that stock the materials you need. You could demand they stop charging tourist prices or pile on the flattery with “This is my favorite place to buy…” and hope it doesn’t offend them into raising the prices.
What I Liked
My favorite part of the game has to be designing your own chocolate creations. The Secret Test Kitchen in Iceland allows you to gather all the materials you’ve seen so far and experiment to know whether they taste good or not.
I always had fun tinkering around with their chocolate designs since I can customize the chocolate appearances by choosing graphics that were appealing but also changing their colors.
There are many great opportunities to profit from “special order” requests you receive after you own premium shops in Tangiers, Havana, Kona, Douala, and Baghdad. Be careful as they do have deadlines on when you should turn them in.
Also, the main interface displays the status of all the factories no matter if I’m on the world map or looking at a port. This is really useful since I am frequently reminded of inventory shortages that occur as time passes.
What I Disliked
To be honest, the game does contain a lot of outdated elements. You might notice the repetitive animation and low res graphics of those moving cars and clouds. The shopkeepers aren’t better off as they only appear in portraits.
I’ve noticed that you are basically doing the same thing ad nauseum: Discover more confectionery recipes, rack up traveling expenses, replenish your inventory at shops, rinse and repeat.
The game can certainly seem like a huge grind, for two reasons. One is that you must collect all six pages of chocolate recipes to become the CEO which takes over a week to reach the end.
In terms of end game content, there isn’t much to do once you reach the rank of Master Chocolatier. If you choose to keep going, you will continue to receive special orders while flying on your private jet.
You are finally in charge of all six factories, and yet, there is no point in trying to sell your chocolates anymore besides showing off your creations to friends who are impressed by your profits from selling strawberry and wasabi coffee.
Chocolatier: Decadence by Design is a family-friendly, addicting game for people who enjoy tycoon games despite repetitive grinding. Moms will appreciate the easy-going pace of this Chocolatier game. Too bad the graphics and animation are noticeably outdated.