[Beyond PlayStation] Little Dragons Café Review
Little Dragons Café is a colorful and charming RPG from Aksys Games and creator Yasuhiro Wada now on Nintendo Switch. Learn more about it in our Little Dragons Café review!
The game’s story centers on a twin brother and sister duo who work alongside their mother at their café. One morning their mother won’t wake up, which is certainly not good! An enigmatic old man shows up and tells the twins that if they want to help their mother, they will need to raise a dragon, and then materializes a dragon egg in front of them. The twins must, therefore, juggle raising a dragon along with keeping the café going strong. Are you up to the challenge?
You will start your adventure by selecting to play as a boy or a girl, and whoever you don’t pick will act as your helper at the café. As for the game’s controls, you will move around with the left analog stick and can walk by holding down the L button. If you want to examine something you can use the A button, and you can also press that button to talk to people. You can also jump with the B button when you’re on the field exploring and can move the camera around with the right analog stick.
Before your mother is hit with whatever it is that put her in that nasty sleep, the game will show you the basics by asking you to gather some ingredients before being able to make something. When out on the field your character will change into his/her adventurer clothes, and you’ll enter the open world side of the game. Your first task is to get three eggs for a recipe, and once you get them and return to the café, you will need to place ingredients in the food storage since ingredients for recipes are used from there.
While in the café you will need to take the order of any client who walks into your fine establishment. Once you have an order, you will need to place it next to the kitchen so that it can be fulfilled. Cooking is simple since you just need to select a recipe and the corresponding ingredients, and then a short rhythm game will begin in which you use the D-Pad or the A, B, X and Y buttons to match what is shown by the ingredient marker. Depending on an ingredient’s rank and how well you did in the rhythm section, the dish will be a success or a failure. The better you do, the better your grade for the dish. You can also combine ingredients to provide a dish with a particular flavor.
After this, all that’s left to do is grabbing the dish that is placed on a tray in the front of the kitchen so that you can take it to the customer who is waiting for it. An icon will show up on top of the client that is waiting for the order, so don’t worry too much about that. When a client is done, you will need to grab the plate from the table to bring them to the kitchen sink for clean-up.
While you explore outside of the café you will be able to find many different ingredients, so be sure to keep an eye on potential gathering spots. If you spot any butterflies flying around a spot that could be a good option and you should also check if a spot has any fruit. Ingredients are ranked depending on how good they are, going from Fresh to Rare, to Shiny. You’ll also get to do some fishing with a simple mini-game of sorts. When you find a spot where you can fish you’ll need to keep an eye on the bobber. When it starts to dip below the water’s surface, and a “!!” icon shows up above your character’s head, you should press the A button to reel it in so that you can catch a fish.
You will also be able to find recipe fragments, and once you have all fragments for a recipe, you will need to see the old man, which the twins call Pappy, in the café’s second floor. With new dishes comes great responsibility since you’ll get to add them to the café’s menu. The option is in the Main Menu, under Update Menu. Go there and select from the available recipes to add an item to the menu. The space in the menu is limited, so keep an eye on what sells and what you need to retire from the rotation, so that you can always have a busy café. When you need to save your progress, you should go to the twins’ room so that you can sleep on the bed. After doing this, you will be done for the day and wake up in the morning to carry on.
On top of searching for recipe fragments you might also get some of them, or even full recipes, from the clients you serve or the staff that will work at the café. To prompt this you should raise the café’s reputation and the customers’ Satisfaction Level, so pay attention to the rhythm sections when you’re cooking so that you can create dishes of the best grade with the best possible ingredients!
The dragon must be fed by selecting Give to Dragon from the menu to use the recipes you’ve found. When fed it will recover its stamina, and it will grow stronger. The food you give to your dragon will affect its color if you feed it food with the same dye color. You can also use the Y button to pet it, which will slightly raise its health. Your dragon can also help you find some ingredients for the café, so if you see a cave, he can crawl into be sure to give it a go. When the dragon goes to sleep, you’ll be able to find some dragon manure in his bed. The dragon eats and it, therefore, poops! Manure can be used to help plants in your yard to grow faster to harvest them, or you can use it in collection points to gain better quality ingredients.
The dragon will grow as you play the game and keep him fed and happy. And as it grows, it will gain access to new skills. The first one is free since it’s the one I mentioned for having the dragon to crawl into small caves to gather ingredients, but later on, he’ll be strong enough to, say, remove some branches that might be in your way, keeping you from accessing new areas. And when he is big enough, you’ll be able to jump on its back to soar around the land!
The game looks like a storybook come to life, with a very distinct art style that makes everything pop. Unfortunately, this does push the console considerable when you’re exploring outside of the café, and the way it struggles every now and then with a bit of slowdown and some pop-in is noticeable, particularly in handheld and tabletop mode. It doesn’t ever end up in “this is unplayable” territory, but it is something I wanted to mention. There are also going to be many “Now Loading” screens during your time with this one, but luckily they’re not more than a few seconds long.
I had a lot of fun playing Little Dragons Café. It’s quirky story setup, and charming characters will keep you coming back for more as you focus on helping make the café a renowned establishment as you keep your dragon well fed so that it can continue to grow since that will be key for finding a cure for your mother! If you’re looking for a charming and relaxing RPG on Nintendo Switch, then you should check this one out!
This Little Dragons Café review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Aksys Games.