What are the holidays without food?
No matter what your culture, the most festive time of year is filled with delicious meals and sweet treats that add flavor to some of our most cherished memories.
In Delicious: Emily’s Christmas Carol by Blue Giraffe and Gamehouse Studio, food and heart combine to tell a heartwarming story about the magic of Christmas. This is my first time playing a Blue House title, but the Delicious game series is extensive with a total of 15 games dating back 11 years. All of them have told the story of Emily’s life, and the most recent addition, Emily’s Christmas Carol, follows Emily, her husband, parents, and young daughter, Paige, as they embark on the Miracle Express to see Santa Claus.
The game’s story is broken down into six chapters, each with its own unique setting, and 91 levels and bonus challenges to earn diamonds and unlock game perks and new foods to serve hungry customers.
Players can select their preferred difficulty from the game’s main menu, ranging from beginner to expert. I played on the default normal setting and found most levels to be easy to beat. It was entertaining and challenging enough to keep me playing, but I was also more into unveiling the story than I was serving customers. For players who want a more intense style of time management, the expert level should do the trick.
The gameplay itself is easy to follow, requiring no tutorial to pick up even if you haven’t played a restaurant management point-and-click for years (or ever!). There is an option for a tutorial if you feel like you need it, but the gist of the game is that you select foods in each chapter’s location and serve them to customers as they approach the counter.
As levels increase in each chapter, more customers will appear, and Emily will have to balance serving tables and satisfying the takeout folks at the counter. Levels are passed with one, two, or three stars, and each brings its own cash reward that you can use to buy restaurant perks (things that make customers wait longer, give you bigger tips, etc.).
The graphics are a crisp, charming cartoon style that captures the festive color scheme of the holidays perfectly and add just enough realism to the characters to make their surprisingly developed and in-depth dialogue believable.
The soundtrack is a collection of instrumental holiday tracks comprised just for the game, and it’s such a hit among players that it can actually be purchased in a special Platinum Edition. Piano, sleigh bells, and jovial melodies capture the spirit of the season and are perfectly tolerable for long game sessions.
All in all, Delicious: Emily’s Christmas Carol is a great winter edition to your game collection. For those long winter nights when you just want to unwind with some hot cocoa, this is the perfect choice. You can be entertained with a compelling story and entertaining gameplay without being overly involved or stressed by any of the on-screen happenings.
In a time where first-person shooters and post-apocalyptic survival games reign supreme, a game like Emily’s Christmas Carol is a welcome and relaxing alternative that embraces the holiday spirit and provides a fun challenge to boot.