There's only so much you can do to make a chocolate empire successful: the rest is left in the hands of your successor. This is particularly true for the main character of the original Chocolatier game: with your help he built a chocolate company from the ground up, turning one factory and a basic chocolate recipe into a full-blown empire of cacao confectionary equipped with 64 different recipes standing behind the best chocolate products throughout the world in the late Victorian period; it's what has happened since this successful venture that is troubling, at least to Alexandra Tangye and indeed you as a player who must save the chocolate company you built in the previous game from being mismanaged and done a disservice by the people whose hands it has since fallen into. For new players, this is an opportunity to try out your business and indeed manufacturing acumen via a series of quests and challenging mini-games set in a strategy framework; for returning players, it's time to return to the empire you once built in order to rescue all the fine work you have previously put into its growth.
Familiarity abounds when starting up Chocolatier 2: Secret Ingredients, at least for previous players of the series. Whereas the original Chocolatier began in the in the 1880s, Chocolatier 2: Secret Ingredients positions you in the 1920s (before the rise of chocolate companies that are today ubiquitous: Cadbury, Nestle, or Lindt, for example) with the purpose of saving the chocolate empire that players will have built up in the original. As is often the case with these sorts of storylines, the company has fallen into the wrong hands and it is up to you to bring success back by travelling the world, opening up factories, overseeing and having direct control over the manufacturing process, and finding a number of secret ingredients in order to give your company's chocolate the edge over the competition. There is familiar ground here as well as new territory to be explored, literally. The game brings back the familiar format of the original whilst also taking us to areas of the globe which, at the time at least, were relatively new and productive in terms of trade and economic benefit.
The gameplay still consists of the same sort of activities as the previous title. You begin story mode with the purpose of making money by purchasing ingredients for and overseeing the making of different chocolates. The manufacturing process returns in the form of the task of throwing ingredients accurately into the appropriate places on the production line and thus determining the rate/level of production for the following week. You will also travel to different cities, trading in markets and purchasing ingredients as well as discovering new inclusions for your recipes including then-valuable commodities like saffron and various other spices.
A new addition in this game is the requirement of taste testing in a specially-devised tasting laboratory. This is where products must be tested and refined before they are rolled out in your factories in order to make the company money. The addition of the tasting laboratory (which must be purchased in the game) is an ingenious one since it adds another layer of challenge to the game and places emphasis on choosing the correct combinations of ingredients that will get the most attention from consumers. The strategy of the game is therefore deepened by the tasting laboratory aspect.
If you're looking for a game with exceedingly rich depth then this might not be for you. Indeed it has its flaws, not least the fact that that there's no way to go back and start from a previous position or undo mistakes if they are made. It is very easy to encounter problems in your business such as a bad product or make a few mistakes and have your business fail, forcing you to begin again. Still, the game contains enough entertaining aspects from the taste testing to the travelling and beyond, all the way to the shooting-style and similarly-styled mini-games involved in the production process. Improvements have been made and flaws still creep in occasionally, but Chocolatier 2: Secret Ingredients certainly deserves its title of successful sequel being issued to it here today.