No matter what you try and do, it's pretty difficult to escape the pull of the chocolate industry. Whether it's a television advert that portrays chocolate as a food for skinny women to indulge naughtily in, an oversized billboard displaying partially unwrapped bars of chocolate, or the checkout at your local convenience store that displays about ten kinds of tempting chocolate bars daring you to leave without buying one, chocolate is everywhere and is playing hell with diets worldwide. For those with discipline however, you can still get your chocolate kicks vicariously through a variety of methods, but before you resign yourself to looking onwards as others enjoy their bar of Dairy Milk, why not feast your eyes on Chocolatier, a video game with an exterior of tasty chocolate that has a smooth, rich, and creamy filling made from pure yet casual strategy. Assuming the role of a young chocolatier looking to conquer the world of cacao-based confectionary certainly isn't easy, but the chances of you doing so through any means other than playing this game are slim to none.
Having what it takes to be a chocolatier in the 1880s is all about persistence and strategy. Since this is a strategy game, you will encounter gameplay that involves various aspects of being in the chocolate profession. The main aim is to navigate the game's fourteen cities in order to expand your chocolate empire. On your travels, you will engage in a variety of practices and parts of the production and distribution products including the purchasing of ingredients, the manufacture of the chocolate itself, and various aspects of the sales dimension of the chocolate industry. Though it sounds like quite an ambitious task for eventual publishers Playfirst, you will quickly discover upon playing the game that the different elements have been executed very effectively.
You have a choice between two modes in Chocolatier: story mode or free play. The brunt of the entertainment obviously lies in the story mode where you assume the role of a chocolatier in the 1880s that is trying to locate 64 lost recipes as well as take over various factories and get involved in the manufacture, production, and distribution of fine chocolates. This is primarily a turn-based game that starts you off (in story mode) with one chocolate factory and a basic chocolate bar recipe that you must expand on by visiting the market to buy ingredients and undertaking quests that the game gives to you. Free play mode lets you play without the quests, giving you some initial cash and all chocolate recipes for use immediately.
The turn-based nature of the game play that is similar to many food management games such as burgergames.co may deter some since it is a fairly niche style of play. Each turn represents a whole week of the chocolatier's time. Travelling between cities takes a certain amount of time (and therefore a certain number of turns), but in return you get the chance to access various ingredients such as special cacao beans and visit markets where you can buy or sell stock. Your factories can produce chocolate as long as they have the necessary ingredients; different missions/goals are set for you by various characters along the way.
Since the game was released in 2007, the graphics aren't quite up to scratch by today's standards, but are more than adequate for the game's style. The low 800x600 resolution shouldn't bother too many people, particularly when considering the game's relatively tight budget that is probably a millionth of just the advertising budget of chocolate giant Cadbury. The surroundings of the late 1800s are portrayed very nicely and travelling to different cities rewards you with different background environments each time. The interface is just as impressive and easy to use as well.
If you're looking for an action game with a fast pace, then Chocolatier certainly isn't for you but those who enjoy a game that entails getting your hands on the inner workings of a Chocolate-based business, then Chocolatier is a good place to start. The graphics are dated but the gameplay is as demanding of a strategic approach as many other games of larger budget and is perfect for the casual strategy gamer market. The fact that the game has spawned sequels including Chocolatier 2: Hidden Ingredients is also testament to its quality.