As we told you earlier this summer, Playfish Montreal and EA have been hard at work on a mobile version of the popular Restaurant City Facebook game, titled appropriately Restaurant City: Gourmet Edition. After lots of waiting, I'm glad to announce that the game has finally launched on the iTunes App Store, with a single app being available for both the iPhone and iPad gameplay experiences, all for free.
When first starting, you'll notice that most of the gameplay has been retained from the Facebook version, even though you will need to start from scratch. Instead of Maggie, you're introduced to a new character named Shelly who will serve as your permanent neighbor and your guide to getting started. For those unfamiliar with the original game, Restaurant City: Gourmet Edition is one cafe simulation title that takes care of the cooking and dish serving for you, and instead focuses on cafe decoration and the unlocking of recipes using collectible ingredients.
Here, the rules are the same, in that you'll need to pay increasingly large amounts of coins to keep your restaurant open for equally longer periods of time, and during that time, the dishes that you choose to serve will be dished up automatically by Shelly, your own avatar, and other computer-controlled waiters/waitresses. There are unfortunately only a few avatar templates to choose from as of this writing, as a full avatar editor doesn't appear to be available.
In terms of unlocking dishes, the selection of general dishes has been scaled down. Other themes of recipes are available as you level up, including French recipes unlocking at level 4 and Japanese Recipes unlocking at level 10, but for now, you'll start by serving Tomato Soup as your Starter, a Burger & Fries as your Main dish, Donuts as your Dessert and Water as your Drink. You can still level up recipes to make them worth more experience points and coins when served, and you can also collect other ingredients to unlock a small series of dishes in each category, like Garden Salad or Lamb Skewer Starters and Strawberry Cake for Dessert, as just a few examples.
Each day, you'll have a chance of purchasing ingredients from the produce cart for coins, or you can purchase ingredients constantly for "Chef Tokens," this mobile version's premium currency. For trading, you'll need to be Facebook friends with the other chef, and can then place up to five ingredients up for trading at once. To be clear, while you can visit other users' cafes any time you'd like through the new Community Menu, you can only trade ingredients or even send free gifts to those users that you happen to be Facebook friends with as well.
Speaking of, when you want to visit another chef, you'll need to click on the red Heart icon along the left side of the screen, which gives you a chance to invite your friends to play with you, or browse through a list of both named and unnamed strangers' accounts, seemingly depending on whether those users have connected their games with their Facebook accounts. Visiting restaurants of non-friends doesn't do much as of this writing though, as it looks like you can only check out their decorations and the dishes they're cooking on their menu.
Back in your own restaurant, the same streamlining of the Food Menu can be found when decorating your restaurant. There are plenty of decorative items that cost Chef Tokens, while the coin options seem to be clones of some of the most basic items found in the Facebook version of the game. Again, I'd assume this is due to planned updates for future content to be released in the game that would be more exciting and fun, but for now, it doesn't leave us with as much variety as I would have hoped.
All things considered, Restaurant City: Gourmet Edition seems to contain enough of the Facebook game's smaller elements (the need for a janitor, restrooms, the ability to shake trees for coins, etc.) to please long-time fans of the game, at least until other elements are added in the future (hopefully). On that same token, the gameplay here doesn't include the quests from Facebook, making it simple enough for users that are new to the simulation game. Hopefully, Playfish will continue to update the game with new decorative items and recipes in the future to make this one as engaging as its full Facebook predecessor.
Download Restaurant City: Gourmet Edition for free on iTunes -->
Will you try this mobile version of Restaurant City on your iPad or iPhone? Are you happy for the opportunity to start your restaurant over from scratch in this version, or would you have rather seen your Facebook restaurant simply carried over? Sound off in the comments.