Playfish has always been one of the top developers of original games for social networks. However, staying in the top tier requires a great deal of development effort, new content, and, of course, an eye for charming design. Their latest title, Restaurant City, is a surprising mix of social gaming and The Sims.
Played in an isometric perspective, players run their very own restaurant as they create custom avatars to run the place. However, you don’t run things alone, but rather by creating characters for your friends who work for you. Yes, work for you.
In order to run your business, you have to hire your Facebook buddies to work as servers, cooks, cleaners, and so on. Each friend working in your restaurant appears as the custom character they designed, and they can run the restaurant even when you are offline. In order to keep them working you have to feed and let them rest, which costs time and money, so it becomes a bit of a resource management mechanic (which increases drastically when the restaurant becomes more busy) with a personal touch.
However, the social elements do not stop there. As with another Playfish title, Pet Society, players can explore the streets of Restaurant City and visit each other’s establishments (in which you might be working) all while sharing gifts and ingredients.
This leads to another element of the game, which involves what your menu consists of. As you play, you take daily quizzes that earn you new ingredients to learn for you menu. The more you have, the more complete dishes you can learn, but to get more you have to trade with others. By doing so, and unlocking more recipes, the quality of your restaurant increases, thus earning more prestige and revenue.
Revenue is what leads to the some of the key Sim-like elements of the game. The more money you earn, the more you can customize – and can you ever customize a lot. In addition to designing the avatars, you can change your menu, you can change what your friends/workers do, and most important you can customize both the inside and outside of your restaurant.
Whether it is color, floor space, windows, or props, you can design your building to look like anything from something like a medieval castle to a trendy night club, and each addition to the building not only makes it more aesthetically pleasing, but attracts more business as well. This alone is one of the most addictive qualities of The Sims, and it has very similar effects here.
There is little to say about Restaurant City that isn’t praise. The game has so many different possibilities, replay value, and social functions that it is easily as good as Pet Society. Given time it will likely grow to be one of Playfish’s top apps, and if even given just a fraction the attention that Pet Society has received in the past, there is little doubt as to how popular Restaurant City will become.
The game already has 2.5 million monthly players on Facebook.
Restaurant City AppData.