The Fate series can be complicated. Everyday Today’s Menu for Emiya Family? Not so much. This is a slice of life story where major characters from the Holy Grail War kick back and enjoy meals together. It’s soothing and, as you might imagine, a perfect fit for a Cooking Mama sort of game with quick-time events and incredibly pretty anime food. It’s a relaxing sort of affair where things can’t go wrong and you can enjoy spending time with familiar, possibly beloved, faces.
In each “episode” in Everyday Today’s Menu for Emiya Family, Shirou is sitting with Saber, Sakura Matou, or Rin Tohsaka. (Though sometimes, multiple people are present.) Every recipe you cook mirrors one found in episodes of the anime and manga, so you really are cooking the New Year’s Eve soba or “first” Hamburg steak with the characters. These events are separated into seasons as well, so you can see the passage of time as Shirou and the people he loves spend time together cooking and eating.
This is, as you might imagine, Everyday Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family’s greatest selling point. The game is 100% banking on your love for the characters, nostalgia for the series, and desire to see everyone just… be happy. So you get to do that. And it’s incredibly charming. The characters are true to their look and personalities ring true. The food genuinely looks amazing when it’s done.
And while Cooking Mama is inevitably where everyone’s mind might go upon hearing about it, it doesn’t exactly follow that form. It borrows visual novel elements! When Shirou is talking with Saber, Sakura, or Rin before cooking, you can choose responses that unlock new recipes or even character routes. Instead of doing every task in a recipe, you’re trying to hit a certain score over the course of multiple tasks. Getting one, two, or three hearts will reward you with new episodes, art, and pieces to unlock a special episode. And the tasks eschew motion controls for more precise button presses and building up to bonus phases where you can earn more points. So even though you’re doing things like chopping, mixing, cooking, frying, and boiling, it feels a bit more controlled.
The biggest downside is a lack of diversity. While Everyday Today’s Menu for Emiya Family mimics the Cooking Mama formula, it doesn’t copy its diversity. You’ll rather swiftly learn you’re performing the same sorts of tasks for recipes repeatedly. This means often doing things like setting the temperature, flipping items, frying them, cutting them, and button-mashing to knead ingredients.
And when it comes to different characters, their “storylines” and recipes could end up meaning going through the same meal, only with different conversations and difficulty levels. Saber’s versions of a recipe will always be the least taxing, while Rin’s will be most demanding.
All of this supports the notion that, well, you’re not supposed to marathon Everyday Today’s Menu for Emiya Family. After all, the Daily Menu Everyday mode rewards you with extra points for performing one cooking task each day. It feels like the sort of game you’re supposed to take your time playing.
Which means certain elements become motivating factors when playing. Going through the daily challenge or story boosts Saber, Sakura, and Rin’s levels. These will grant them better boosts as they hit new plateaus or earn you things like new images in the gallery. Getting a recipe in the story adds the actual recipe to the in-game collection. You can earn new outfits for all three heroines and Shirou. Reaching certain scores in the story can unlock puzzle pieces, which in turn unlock a new episode.
Even though some of its tasks get repetitive, I can’t get over the joy that playing Everyday Today’s Menu for Emiya Family brings me. In a time when “wholesome” is thrown a lot to describe things, it… is genuinely that. You’re sitting down with (virtual) people you’ve known and loved for years to talk, make a meal with them, and enjoy each other’s company. It has that same sort of feel good quality as Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood does.
Everyday Today’s Menu for Emiya Family is available for the Nintendo Switch.