Kaiyou Resutoran Uminekotei (trans. “The Uminekotei Seaside Restaurant”) is an indie game from a group (company?) known as inutoneko, the same people who made Lemuore no Renkinjutsushi and Haretari Kumottari N, both of which I have reviewed on this blog in the past. As a matter of fact, Uminekotei is just a fleshed out version of Lemuore, so it would help me out tremendously if you would just read the review for that game and save me the trouble of explaining the gameplay.
Back? Thanks. Now on to the story. The main character of Uminekotei is spoiled rich girl Eve who just lounges around the house all day and all night until her mother finally snaps and sets her up with her own restaurant to manage and a £100,000 debt to pay off [update: turns out I read it wrong and it’s actually £1 million]. My own mother would have just kicked me out of house with £0 to my name, so I don’t know whether Eve has it good or not. …Actually she does have it good, because she owes that £100,000 to her mother, meaning she can get away with not paying it forever, basically. I’ve been playing about 6 in-game months and haven’t repaid a single penny to mommy dearest yet. Nyaa nyaah!
That in a nutshell is the main problem with this game: there’s no pressure! It’s not like other games with similar premises like Recettear or Little Witch Parfait where you have a game over or a nasty ending staring you in the face along with that debt. Here the restaurant is just a way to get Eve out of the house… which doesn’t really work because her staff does all the hard work of cooking, adventuring, getting ingredients, etc. Once in a while Eve goes to the market or to the shops, or to the guild, but that’s about it. Which is fine enough, since it fits her spoiled daddy’s girl shtick to a T.
Lack of pressure aside, Uminekotei is pretty fun to play. It’s much the same game as Lemuore but with more items and more stats to micromanage (like expiry dates and the aptitudes of those you hire, and various guild contests, etc) and I loved that game and played it for hours, so I’m doing the same here. It just feels like they threw in the debt because there’s always debt in this kind of game (or maybe mommy really will kick me out if I don’t pay back by a certain date). Kind of a pointless addition, so I just ignore it.
And so the days go by. In the morning Eve inspects the ingredients her adventurers brought in, synthesizes a few things, then serves customers from 10am to 9pm. Sleep. Wake up the next day and repeat. At least there’s no haggling in this game so each workday only takes like 30 seconds. In theory you have to manage the demand and supply of three item categories: Chinese, Japanese and Western foods, but in practice everything will sell if you keep it in your store long enough. The expiry date for most foods is at least 7 days, which is long enough to dispose of almost anything.
Trouble might come if I expand my store so quickly and stock so much the customers can’t keep up – or if I start selling expensive higher-ranked items before my restaurant’s clientele is rich and sophisticated enough to buy them. So far I’m having more problems running out of food before the end of the day and pissing diners off. I need to expand my restaurant, expand, expand, expand! Fun, fun, fun!
Last complaint before I go: there are no pictures of anything! No pictures of the ingredients or the foods or most of people I hire or the dungeons, nothing! It was understandable for Lemuore since it was a free game, but with a pumped-up paid version of the latter it would have been a nice addition. I guess that came later with the more recent games like Rakunou Princess. Aww, but I wanted it now!! Also more flavor text for the various items since there are so many of them in this game. And the characters too, since the game kind of assumes you know everyone and how they relate to each other. Which I do, but that’s beside the point.
Long story short I’ve always been a fan of “cute girl does alchemy” and this is yet another one I can’t bring myself to stop playing. It’s a lot less fleshed out than higher-budget games in the genre, but Uminekotei still has plenty of content to keep the alchemy fan busy for days. Kaiyou Resutoran Uminekotei (海洋レストラン☆海猫亭) can be had for 50% off at either DL Site or Digiket, though I still advise trying Lemuore no Renkinjutsushi for free first to see if you like inutoneko games. Enjoy!