Magical Delicacy PAX West Demo Impression
With a variety of ingredients and a somewhat open concept of how to approach each quest there’s a lot of variety to keep aspiring chefs coming back.
Sometimes cooking is a little more in-depth than it appears in some games. With developer Skaule’s Magical Delicacy, there are a lot of ways to shape dishes to deliver to the people of Grat. Finding what the people want to eat is a little more difficult, as exploring the town is done as a side-scrolling Metroidvania to search for the ingredients to make more complex dishes. RPGamer takes a look at how everything ties together with a PAX West demo impression.
Players take on the role of the young witch, Flora, who recently comes into the cliff-side harbour town, Grat, to see if she can grow her magical skills to become a full-fledged witch. Flora buys out an old restaurant and turns it into her shop for creating magical brews and dishes to satisfy a hungry town. Since the shop just opened there are no customers yet so Flora runs and jumps around town introducing herself to the locals and in turn being asked for dishes to eat. Along the way, Flora will make friends, but also be used by the two leaders of the town, the witch Cassia and the magus Tauno. In the demo, it was kept light-hearted with Flora going to places to collect ingredients and introducing themselves to crafting and sales merchants. The town is massive though and can easily fit a large cast with diverse personalities.
Gaball is a frog person, who croaks when spoken with in a cute manner emphasizing the sound in a way that makes it fun just to talk with him. After some searching Flora will find someone who just wants a stew. Each person when they request a meal will give a vague idea of how they want it made, and Flora, new to cooking doesn’t have a recipe book yet. Combining ingredients found nearby, scrounging up some gold from nearby nooks and crannies to buy others, there’s always a way to be able to make the dishes needed at hand. Later on, Flora gains access to a garden to start growing things herself.
The craftsmen don’t just give equipment to Flora when purchased, but this equipment also doubles as a way to progress through the platforming stages. For example, there’s a pair of worker’s gloves that when purchased allows Flora to pull thorny bushes that lay on the ground, blocking pathways. These thorns normally damage Flora, so getting rid of them makes things more open concept in the town of Grat.
When enough ingredients are collected Flora can either follow recipes she’s found along the way or create new dishes. Sometimes these creations can vary in quality compared to what the quest NPC asked for and can result in a boost or loss of rewards at the end of it. Cooking consists of grabbing water from the sink and putting it in the pot, at least for the stews that were in the demo, and then adding ingredients that match the palate of the requests. Cooking the dish has a timer and players can under or over-cook dishes, so following that timer is important to avoid making bad dishes. Each ingredient has two descriptors for how it will taste, and the NPC may request something that isn’t hot for example. Unfortunately, there may be times when Flora doesn’t have all the necessary items to complete the requested dish, so additional ingredients that are mild in taste can be added as well to make something new that is close to the original desire.
This world is magical in more than just witchcraft. Gaball, as mentioned, is a frog person and there are plenty of anthropomorphic people around the town. This fits in with the Metroidvania feel quite well as people are just lounging on rooftops or diving deeply into nearby foliage to complete their day-to-day tasks. Everything has a pleasant and relaxing vibe to it, with jazzy tunes piping in as Flora explores the town.
Magical Delicacy is a relaxing time and figuring out where Flora fits in this mystical world is interesting. With a variety of ingredients and a somewhat open concept of how to approach each quest, there’s a lot of variety to keep aspiring chefs coming back. Platforming isn’t too difficult but provides some variety in how the gameplay is divided up so it’s a welcome change. Seeing how Flora interacts with the full cast and how the narrative unfolds will be interesting as it develops. There will be plenty of time for Magical Delicacy to grow as hungry gamers will have to wait until 2024 when it releases for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.