When you play life simulations, you may find yourself falling into certain patterns. You create a routine for yourself, making a habit of being in certain places at specific times. You go out of your way to talk to certain people, so you can enjoy various incentives. Then, hopefully, you are rewarded with a bit of progression each day. Little Dragons Cafe is a game that lives by its routine, with various stages of the dragon’s life making it easier to do or accomplish more each day.
From the very start, Little Dragons Cafe encourages this sort of behavior. When you begin the game and go through the about fifteen minute tutorial, your mother has you going about the tasks you will need to make a habit of every day. After you wake up, check outside for certain resources. Grab eggs from the egg birds. (These are basically ducks.) Look at the garden to see if anything is ready to be harvested, as it grows automatically and will give you a batch of already discovered ingredients in varying amounts. (This can include meat, even when no animals are obviously present, because the garden and hatchery automatically provide you with items you have already collected.) Perhaps a trip down to the beach is in order, to see if any fish have gathered and can be scooped up. Along the way, you grab recipe fragments. Once you get inside, you can have Pappy turn all collected fragments for a particular dish into a full recipe, which you or Luccola can make in the cafe. You then add it to the menu.
As you unlock new recipes, care for the dragon, boost the cafe’s reputation, and basically do what the hints in the menu tell you to do, more events happen and the story proceeds. This usually means access to a new area, a larger bed and breakfast, or new stage of life for the dragon. This, in turn, gives you access to someplace you could not reach before. That means new recipe fragments, new ingredients, and new opportunities for growth appear. Since there is no need to worry about earning money, caring for plants or animals, or putting effort into upgrades of any sort, there is very little pressure. Frankly, a lot of my days were spent making food for the dragon so I could get some of its golden manure and keep up its stamina while exploring. I would then use that manure to speed up the garden or fish hatchery’s output, so I could have a nice stockpile of ingredients with little effort. When lunch would roll around at about noon or dinner at night, I would press down to immediately warp back to the cafe.
Why would I warp back to the cafe? Well, it depended. It was usually because I could not trust the people working for me. In Little Dragons Cafe, people like Billy, Ipanema, Luccola, and your sibling can just suddenly… decide to be difficult and not work. If you talk to them, they will immediately straighten up and get back to work. But, I also found it helpful to keep an eye on things. If I did better during the incredibly brief rhythm minigame to make a dish, I would want to update the menu so Luccola could get better, recipes could involve extra ingredients, and secret ingredient options could be unlocked. Sometimes, triggering events is tied to your reputation. Occasionally, you have to be home for something to happen. Basically, it benefited me to stick around when I could, so long as I had previously visited all areas of the island I could currently access with the dragon at the state that it was and other unlocking factors had opened up. I would handle taking orders, turning them in, delivering meals, and washing plates when I could, letting people who did feel like working handle other elements.
Am I making it sound easy? Good, because Little Dragons Cafe is easy. It lets you work out a schedule for yourself, one that will definitely have some gaps in it and allow you to teleport to the cafe as needed. That way, you can enjoy the little story segments. There is a colorful cast of characters here, all people who you can help by sticking to your routine by continuing to collect ingredients, go to places, interact with NPCs, and make new and better recipes. This allows you to see what are basically the game’s equivalent of little anime segments, where everyone becomes a little happier just because you existed and did your job.
With Little Dragons Cafe, it is best to find a good flow. Basically, it is best to try and get as many different ingredients as possible and explore, so the automatically generating stockpiles will be diverse. Try to venture out when the cafe is not busy. Teleport back when it is, so you can ensure your reputation stays high and the story keeps moving along. Take advantage of dragon upgrades, so you see new spaces. Do everything you can to unlock those segments where you meet the quirky, cute, and sometimes funny patrons who want to make their lives better with your food.
Little Dragons Cafe will come to the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 in North America on August 28, 2018, Japan on August 30, 2018, and Europe on September 21, 2018.