Little Dragon’s Café E3 Impression
Little Dragon’s Café is a life simulation title being developed by Yasuhiro Wada, perhaps best known as the original creator of the Harvest Moon series. As one of two children who is tasked with running a cafe after their mother falls ill, you get to choose to play as either the brother or the sister and set out on an adventure with a dragon at your side — awesome! You’ll need to balance your new life between running the cafe, getting ingredients, and discovering new recipes — the latter two being done by exploring the world outside your home and business.
Of course, with your trusty dragon at your side, you’ll have ample protection while you explore, and he’s such a handy helper too! I walked up to a cave I couldn’t go into myself, but with a sharp whistle, my dragon ran right over, dove inside, and brought me back the bacon. Literally, it was bacon. It was an ingredient for a recipe. It’s important to keep your dragon happy and fed so that it will move through four phases of maturation: baby, adolescent, young adult, and elder dragon. Each form has a different function — for example, when your dragon gets big enough, you’ll be able to ride him. The dragon is super cute as a baby; when you pet him, his little tail wags.
While you’re out exploring, it’s easy to tell what can be harvested; just look for the butterflies. Most areas that can be harvested can be picked more than once before they are done for the day. Some areas can regrow overnight, such as bushes that give veggies, while others like trees, need a few days to produce again. There’s a garden that grows at the back of the cafe that will give a big variety of items, but it did need a few days to restock in the demo. This was also true of the fish pond. However, both the garden and the fish pond will stock up items you’ve previously found, to provide these items on a more regular basis and cut down on the randomness of having to try to farm them out in the wild. You can also place dragon manure on any harvest point to increase the quality of the next harvest you gain from that point; I don’t want to think too hard about the process of putting poo on the fishing hole.
Once I’d gathered enough recipe fragments, I unlocked a new recipe, and also progressed the main story. This seems to be how to push the main plot forward in general; explore to find more fragments until a new recipe unlocks; meet new people, gain new areas to explore, then find more recipe fragments and repeat. There’s an area of the menu dedicated to storyline quests if you’re ever a little confused as to what you were doing last.
With a new recipe in hand, I headed to the kitchen to cook up a storm! Cooking is a rhythm mini-game. Because I was doing a simple recipe (cooking an egg), it was just five taps with the beat of the music, but more complex recipes would require more intricate patterns. Once a recipe has been mastered, a cook (a character hired partway through the story) can automatically make these recipes so the mini-game can be skipped entirely, to ensure things don’t get too repetitive.
Little Dragon’s Café looks to steal into your hearts via Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on August 24.