When two games are released in the same genre, there are obviously going to be similarities between them, whether it's the style of graphics, story lines, basic gameplay mechanics or otherwise. When two games in the same genre come from the same developer, these similarities are even stronger. With Zynga's newest Facebook game ChefVille, players of the company's first cooking game Cafe World may be left to wonder: are there enough differences and improvements within ChefVille to validate "starting over from scratch," or can both games coexist thanks to their differences?
Arguably the biggest difference between ChefVille and Cafe World is ChefVille's focus on ingredients. To cook a dish in Cafe World, players simply need a bundle of coins specific to that dish (cooking a Bacon Cheeseburger costs just 15 coins, for instance, while a Chocolate Eclair costs 4,000). In ChefVille, you'll need ingredients, rather than coins, to cook dishes. Ingredients aren't a one-time-thing either, as you'll need to collect those same ingredients over and over again before you can cook a dish a second or third time, and so on.
Furthermore, players can only own a single kind of most cooking appliances in ChefVille (the Grill is the current exception), so players can only cook one kind of dish at once, with cooking times ranging from a few minutes to more than a day. In Cafe World, items like the Barbecue and Pizza Oven also offer such specialized cooking, but at least you have regular "catch-all" stoves that will allow you to cook dozens of other dishes while those specialty appliances are in use. In ChefVille, it's "all or nothing," which introduces a focus on timing and strategy as you'll need to decide exactly which dishes to cook and in which order.
Both games allow users to master dishes, but Cafe World requires that dishes are cooked in much higher quantities before actually mastering them. ChefVille isn't perfect here though either, due to the aforementioned fact that you can only cook most dishes one at a time. If a dish requires 25 or more servings in ChefVille to master, but takes 5 minutes to cook, that dish would take over two hours to completely master. In Cafe World, that same dish could be mastered in just five minutes, assuming a player has 25 individual stoves to cook that dish on, and you wouldn't have to collect ingredients to cook each one either.
ChefVille's focus on ingredients isn't all bad, however, as most ingredients recharge in just a few minutes, and visiting friends to earn extra ingredients isn't as slow a process as visiting friends in Cafe World. Even friends with massive restaurants in ChefVille currently load in a flash, while Cafe World has long suffered from incredibly long loading times, both in visiting friends and just accessing your own cafe. Furthermore, ChefVille's quests are set up as a storyline, as you'l be introduced to new characters, appliances, land expansions and more, while Cafe World's quest system has arguably become more work than play.
Speaking of land expansions, ChefVille offers much more freedom in the overall design of your restaurant, right down to the shape, texture and placement of the walls. Sure, Cafe World allows for expansion as well, but you'll never escape the standard rectangular shape. In ChefVille, you can have a T or L shaped restaurant, can build walls to separate the kitchen from the dining area, and can add trees and flowers to the outside.
Ultimately, ChefVille feels more like Cafe World 2.0 than a completely different game, as it combines most of the major elements from Cafe World with technical advancements, much prettier graphics, more design freedom, and a more intelligent guest system (they simply won't enter a restaurant if there aren't dishes available to eat). ChefVille will eventually introduce social cooking via an upcoming event, so Cafe World won't be alone there for long either. There are positive and negative aspects to both games, but it doesn't seem like ChefVille will be able to completely sway the Cafe World faithful anytime soon (not that it isn't a great game). After all, if virtual chefs have been able to enjoy Cafe World all of this time, it would likely take a lot more to pull them away.
Click here to play Cafe World on Facebook --->
Click here to try ChefVille on Facebook --->
Have you tried ChefVille on Facebook? Are you also a loyal Cafe World player, or did you used to play Cafe World in the past? If you've played them both, how do you think the two games compare? Which one do you enjoy more? Sound off in the comments!