It has been many years (in the fictional world of the Chocolatier series, that is) since the original Baumeister Confections was first set up. The company began as a lowly single-factory producing one type of chocolate bar from a single, basic recipe but soon flourished into a booming business in the late Victorian era. It may have fallen into disarray between the original game and the sequel, but Chocolatier 2: Secret Ingredients gave us the opportunity to put things right and to make the company grow once again set afore the backdrop of the 1920s industrial and economic boom. What better surroundings for the third and final game in the series, Chocolatier: Decadence by Design, to be set in than the post-war boom of the 1940s. Following from the historical loyalty of the previous two games, this third instalment thrusts us into a position of power so that the company can continue to run smoothly and prosper in spite of the relatively unstable and tumultuous nature of the war and its aftermath. More casual strategy, management, and skill-based gameplay awaits anyone that wishes to return to the Baumeister Confections company for one last go at chocolaty glory.
There is much to experience in Chocolatier: Decadence by Design, but at first glance the whole thing seems quite pleasantly familiar. That is to say, the game looks and feels much like the original, returning to its roots and making veterans of the series feel very comfortable and in familiar hands. The premise of the game is definitely the same, which is to manage factories, have a hand in the production process, purchase ingredients, and create various recipes from these ingredients in order to sell different products and make money. Even the little mini-games where you get involved in the manufacture of the chocolates remain. Even though it looks very familiar however, there are new features that will definitely catch the eye of experience Chocolatier players.
One of the most obvious additions by the developers, Big Fish Games, is that of coffee. Baumeister Confections is expanding into the growing business of coffee and products which contain it. This means that as well as having more ingredients to experiment with during taste tests and in the laboratory, you also get to play a new mini-game as part of the production process which challenges you to line up the ingredients - cream, sugar, and of course the coffee beans - on the conveyor belt. This becomes more difficult as you progress since the belts move more quickly and speed becomes crucial.
As always, one of the most attractive features of this game is that you get to concoct your very own chocolates and beverages in a secret underground testing lab with much more autonomy and freedom than in some flash-based time management games such as Papa's Wingeria. You simply have to arrange various ingredients and flavours in a manner that pleases the tastebuds, and once they do, you can design the final product which will be rolled out into the factories for mass production. And since this is the time when mass production is really coming into its own, there is some serious expansion to be done in terms of the business in the post-war period.
There is a lot to see in the game, beginning in Zurich and travelling across the world to expand your empire, search for ingredients, engage in trading through local markets, and also develop the storyline as well. You'll visit various ports such as Cape Town, Baghdad, San Fransico, and Belize in your journey to grow your empire; Iceland also features as the location for your secret test laboratory/kitchen.
The potential for Chocolatier 3 to entertain is definitely superior to its two predecessors. It has new features, a new minigame, it expands into the coffee industry, yet it still maintains and even returns to the brilliance of its roots, the original Chocolatier game and also its direct predecessor, Chocolatier 2: Secret Ingredients. It isn't a fast-paced action game by any means but it definitely has its moments, and above all, it requires strategy, skill, and the ability to manage various aspects of your business venture at once.