TeamLava Expands its iDevice Story Franchise Once Again

The folks over at TeamLava are at it again, expanding their iDevice “Story” series of games with their latest iPhone and iPad release, Bakery Story. Joining the likes of predecessors Restaurant, City, and Farm Story, this new free-to-play application couples familiar game play with the Baking Life premise.

Essentially a carbon copy of TeamLava’s last release, Restaurant Story, Bakery Story revisits old concepts from Facebook counterparts. The game is of decent quality in both production and social features, but lacks dramatically in the originality department. It’s a game that will mainly be appealing to those seeking a new Story aesthetic to dabble in.

The whole point of Bakery Story game is to build a successful bakery. In order to do so, players utilize drink makers to make beverages, such as coffee, and ovens to cook up brownies and cakes. Using the Café World mechanics of “preparing” each step of the food making process, the products are created over a period of time and then served atop an empty counter.

Each product will serve so many customers until used up, earning coin for each one that visits (longer cooking products are worth more). So long as there are seats and food available within the bakery, customers will remain happy, thus boosting the popularity of the player’s shop, and in turn, earning more patrons.

The visuals feel more or less the same as Restaurant Story with its blocky, basic look, and general lack of movement and animation. The only thing that really feels any different is that some of the décor and the color scheme.

If there is any one thing of interest about Bakery Story, it’s that décor is not gated by level. Right from the get go, players can decorate their virtual bakery with whatever they can afford, using both in-game and virtual currencies. This allows the player a greater opportunity to become hooked on the game, as they are able to see exactly what they can buy and can, potentially, decorate their space as they see fit, unlike games that only grant one or two new items a level. Nevertheless, the game still has level gates on food and drink, as well as how big one can make their bakery and how many cooking appliances can be owned at any given time.

As with all the other Story titles, Bakery Story utilizes TeamLava’s typical social integration. This means that users can visit any other player, friend or not, and view their bakery. Once here, tips can be left (which the visited player can collect) and will earn the tipper minor experience as well as “Star Rating.” It is the latter that is most important, as this rating will move the user up the social, community rankings, allowing it to be more visible — and thus visited more often — to other random users. Furthermore, messages can be left on anyone’s virtual space wall.

It‘s also worth noting that using the Storm8 network or Facebook Connect, players can add friends, which allows for gifting. Moreover, using Facebook Connect will allow the posting of things like snapshots to one’s social feed.

Like the games before it, Bakery Story is well put together and, coupled with push notifications, works well in the mobile environment. Nonetheless, the game brings nothing new to the space, and feels like a reskin of TeamLava’s previous titles.

From a business perspective, this is hardly a bad idea. After all, it’s how Zynga started out, with it’s collection of Wars games, and the Story games frequently find themselves on Apple’s top free apps lists, so TeamLava is obviously doing something right. All the same, it would be nice to see something a bit different from the company.