Foodies can have their cake and eat in Gameparic’s latest simulatorASMR Food Experience playtest. Note: these are impressions, not a review. Chances are this will change significantly in due course. Alright, Zuckerberg nor Musk has pushed tech enough yet where you can smell and taste games, though, in this sim, you can hear it sizzle to the bizzle. Ahem.

Before you can run a successful restaurant, you need to be able to handle a broom and cloth to sweep the floors and wipe down tables. If only it were so easy… The area you’re working on is highlighted, but it depends on whether the moon is aligned or what socks you’re wearing for it to trigger and work.

Frequent tutorials pop up on how to operate everything (usually holding down the left mouse for an action, the right for undoing/putting the object away) and still, it took unusually long to clean up before greeting a teleporting customer.

When the ASMR Food Experience doors open, the customer will appear seated behind you and demand a menu. You can then ask them what they want or, “How are you feeling?”. If waiting staff asked me that, I’d be cautious about whether the food was cooked.

ASMR Food Experience - Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'
Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’. Source: Steam

ASMR Food Experience Playtest – Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook

My first order was meat dumplings, and making this supposedly easy dish was like assembling an IKEA unit underwater while listening to The Grateful Dead. It didn’t make much sense, and art was imitating life as I couldn’t find my way around the kitchen.

In real life (you remember that, don’t you?), I’m a decent cook, though lazy. I’ve made dumplings, well, gyoza, before, and it was relatively easy up to the assembly. Man, that was embarrassing in front of a group of people. Still, mixing some basic ingredients, frying, and then popping in a shell is straightforward.

ASMR Food Experience is all about the experience, though, and it reminded me of watching an old Pewdiepie video of him playing Cooking Simulator. It’s one of the few game-streaming videos I’ve seen/liked, and it was funny to watch. It’s not so much playing like I did here.

While the controls aren’t clumsy in that you have to balance ingredients in a pseudo-VR manner, it’s the lack of reaction from completing a task and knowing if you did it right. A QTE popped up for chopping garlic, where I missed a beat and redid to get the correct measurements.

ASMR Food Experience - Sizzle
Sizzle. Source: Steam

Throw Another Gamer In The Mix

This was thrown in with a few other ingredients that required orienteering experience to locate the parts, then chucked in a mixer. Where the hell is the mixer?! There’s a blender over there for smoothies, but… oh. That’s the mixer. Insert the bowl, press the button, then empty the contents onto the dough board.

Where are the contents? There were countless pop-ups to say I couldn’t complete a task and no guides or demonstrations on how to do it. Almost 15 minutes after placing her order, my customer wondered whether McDonald’s was the better option.

At this stage, ASMR Food Experience is clumsy, counterintuitive, and not the fun I had anticipated. I don’t mind cleaning up, as that happens in all these games. However, the learning curve is off and doesn’t provide enough rewards at the moment. This isn’t an actual review, so on that basis, I bailed.

Yes, ASMR Food Experience looks the part. The textures were great, even on medium settings. I dropped down from 1440p as it was too janky on epic and thought it had motion blur enabled (not a fan), but it remained like that on medium 1080p.

Time To Get Out Of The Kitchen

The sounds can be an eargasm, and the title wasn’t clickbait – the Foley experience here is pretty damn impressive and none of your free sounds scattered across content maker websites – the devs have done their homework in this department and spot on.

I just want to see the gameplay become much more accessible. Maybe this caught me on a bad day (I don’t think so – I’m almost skipping today). It’s currently too rigid, and the excellent presentation, aside from the funny-looking customers, is let down by the gameplay. 

ASMR Food Experience does show promise, but there’s work to be done.