Café Life Opens Up Shop in Crowded Restaurant Game Market

Café Life is an older Facebook restaurant simulation that seems to be experiencing a second wind of growth started in late May 2011, despite the genre’s apparent saturation on the platform. Developed by Tencent’s Icebreak Games, the game now tops all three of the developer’s Facebook offerings — even its younger sibling, Paradise Life.

According to our traffic tracking service AppData, Café Life has 2,024,899 monthly active users and 280,675 daily active users as of July 1, 2011. Traffic levels were collected before the date of publication as 55% of the game’s audience is based in the United States, making it vulnerable to fluctuations on account of the 4th of July holiday.

Café Life simulates the day-to-day operation of a boutique coffee shop, tasking players with meeting their customers’ demands by producing a variety of coffee drinks and pastries, the sale of which generates funds that can be used to purchase restaurant upgrades. These include wardrobe, décor, additional employees, cooking appliances and more floor space. Items require varying amounts of time to bake or brew; the more they’re worth, the longer they take to produce. Once finished, they can be given a little added flair – “Finishing Touches,” such as adding a strawberry on top of a pie – in order to bring in more money. There’s also an element of increasing the number of customers that visit by adding a “shop pet” and other amenities.

The game is monetized through the purchase of its currency, gems and coins, using Facebook Credits. Gems can be used to rush orders and complete other tasks more quickly. Coins can be spent on acquiring any of the game’s aforementioned items immediately. Some specialty items are sold for 10 or more gems, incentivizing players to purchase them using hard currency.

Social aspects include the ability to hire friends as shop employees, who can then help speed up the completion of drinks and food and perform other tasks. These include helping players clean their restaurants and appliances. A number of other functions are included to facilitate player interaction, such as offering samples of extra food directly on friends’ walls.

Icebreak Games couldn’t be reached for comment on what factors contributed to Café Life’s new growth trend in time for this review’s publication, but we observe that the developer recently added a Mastery System that allows players to enhance their proficiency at producing each of the game’s items across five skill levels: Trainee, Commis, Pastry Chef, Sous Chef and Head Chef. Additionally, the developer looks to be maintaining a steady flow of new restaurant themes and avatar items, such as a variety of 4th of July apparel.

You can follow Café Life’s progress using AppData, our traffic tracking application for social games and developers.