Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Game update: 27/07/16

After some energetic updates of late which have seen us out camping, strutting down the boardwalk, and binging on snow cones, we have a much more serene collection of new content this week.

Notification for Curio Crate

The Curio Crate is the only addition, with this box costing 24 gems a pop. Within are eight prizes of varying quality, with only your luck defining whether you get something you love or something you hate.

This is an unusual crate in that it really isn't all that eye-catching. I've never seen a box that has such a uniform set of designs within, and with everything having a dark wooden chassis, this is a selection of stuff that oozes class.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Camping goals content report

Everyone find a log to perch upon - it's time to cosy up around the crackling open fire and discuss the rewards for our efforts in the recently added camping themed goals. There were six items introduced with the related update, while a further five additions could only be unlocked by working through the quest.

The first such content to lose its padlock is the Campy Cooker. This is the first of two appliances new with the goals, and requires 6 Sturdy Wood, 6 Steel and 4 Fiery Fuses to put together.

Fiery Fuse and Wood Glue

The Fiery Fuse is one of two new parts added for this challenge, while the Sturdy Wood makes a comeback. You have to go way back to the Kids Kitchen Set from January 2015 for the last time this particular part was called for. It will be interesting to monitor whether this may be the start of something of a resurgence for the Sturdy Wood - stock up people!

Once you've got the Campy Cooker built, three recipes are waiting to be unlocked.

Campy Cooker recipes

Before we go any further, the absence of a mastery meter for the Scorched S'mores clearly needs addressing. I cannot recall something like this happening before (except when starting a new game), but it certainly caused some confusion and consternation. Since taking the snap above this error has been fixed, and indeed was dealt with fairly promptly (by Storm8 standards).

Supposedly it wasn't possible to earn mastery gems whilst this bug was flourishing, and that adds up considering that after the mastery meter was added everyone was at the starting point. Given that the s'mores are just 1 hour in length this wasn't too much of an issue. Imagine if we'd been slaving over a 1 or 2 day dish only to discover that the mastery meter was going nowhere - there'd have been riots!

As far as the food itself goes, I'm a little lost (but getting lost is all part of camping, right?) Admittedly I'm not one for pitching a tent and spending the night under the stars, but surely chilli and crullers (which I have just discovered is a pastry!) are not standard camping foods?! The s'mores are completely understandable, but the other two appear to be there just because of the alliterative name which provides a strained link to camping.

Maybe the recipe ratings will rescue us...

Scorched S'mores
Profit XP gain Portions Profit per plate Availability Rating
6 2 3 8 5 4.4

Chilling Chili
Profit XP gain Portions Profit per plate Availability Rating
1 7 1 8 5 3.7

Creepy Crullers
Profit XP gain Portions Profit per plate Availability Rating
2 4 2 10 5 3.6

By and large this doesn't make for pretty reading. But there are a couple of plus points we should peruse. Firstly the Scorched S'mores net a green score for profit which is good to see. However any excitement is punctured, not by it's other numbers, but by the fact that it has identical statistics to the Veggie Kabobs on the Grill, which was added just last month with the Father's Day goals!

The Chilling Chili also achieves green, this time in the XP category, with only eight dishes of 3 hour duration earn more XP. Unfortunately this is not a strong all-rounder though, with the profit and portion figures pulling down the overall score. It's worth noting that the chili also has an identical twin - the Vanilla Cider Float (at least it is a little older!)

Finally there's the Creepy Crullers which fail to light up any of the major factors. It's low point is probably the XP gain, since despite actually rating higher in this variable than for profit or portions, notice that it earns less XP than the Chilling Chili, despite taking two hours longer to prepare! That's illogical and provides the latest example of the gamemakers really not putting any deep thought into how they tune their recipes.

After finishing off the goal steps involving these dishes you'll open up the side goals which are the source of two new floor decorations. The Lightbug Lantern unlocks first, and for my money is a good solid item. It's rather stylish with the coiling metal wrapped around the lantern, and although the lightbugs themselves are haphazardly designed, from a distance this piece looks nice. The decision to use a sleek black for the lamp was a good call, since it allows it to blend in nicely with a wide variety of other content. This includes the Father's Day stuff from last month - I think next to the Hightop Seating Area which itself has a small black lamp it will look fab.

 Summer 2016
 20/07/16 Camping goals
 20/07/16 Camping update
 13/07/16 Boardwalk
 06/07/16 Snow cones
 29/06/16 Lemons

The next stage of the quest opens up the Camp Sign. This is another 1x1 decoration, and isn't the most eye-catching. It's essentially a series of wooden planks nailed together with 'CAMP' scrawled across the front. I could be wrong here, but I believe there's a pair of knives depicted below, which is somewhat confusing - is this a sign for a cooking camp? Regardless it's not the most appealing of items.

And before we move on, a quick comment on the goal which unlocks the Camp Sign. It's the usual tables and chairs step, but what makes this one excruciating is that 10 of each need to be purchased. With the Camp Table costing 14,000 coins each and the Camp Stools 10,000 coins a time, that adds up to a total of 240,000 coins spent on this goal alone. That's excessive, and certainly not something we want to see happening regularly.

Also unlocked alongside the side goals is the next stage of the main strand, which involves buying, building and using the Butcher Block. The second appliance in this quest, I now see the knives connection (sort of). The block takes 6 Screws, 6 Sturdy Wood and 4 Wood Glue to construct, with the Wood Glue being the other new part introduced. That's the Screw featured in successive goal sets, which perhaps indicates a comeback for what was once the most overused part in the game.

Let's now have a glance at the ratings for the three dishes on the Butcher Block:

Chopped Salad
Profit XP gain Portions Profit per plate Availability Rating
2 4 2 7 5 3.3

Killer Cutlets
Profit XP gain Portions Profit per plate Availability Rating
3 2 2 10 5 3.3

Spaghetti Cabinara
Profit XP gain Portions Profit per plate Availability Rating
3 5 2 10 5 4.2

Beyond the profit per plate scores, this trio are sticking to the warm colours, Perhaps that's justified given the time of year, but in this context it can only mean bad news. Indeed, I'm not going to waste any time pondering the merits of what are essentially three poor recipes.

Instead I'll have a mild chuckle at the pun-tastic title of the Spaghetti Cabinara. Indeed I'm thankful for it otherwise I'd be seriously questioning the presence of a spaghetti dish in a camping themed update!

All that remains is the final goal prize. The Camp Tent is 3x3 in size and looks really impressive. In the original teaser for the update the tent was only 2x2 and did look too small. That's one concern which has most certainly been appeased, with this tent looking swell. The rendering of the green sheets is of high quality, and Storm8 again have demonstrated their ever improving ability to render wood.

The only drawback with the Camp Tent is that it costs 60 gems to buy another. Generally with final goal prizes one will do as they tend to be big and imposing items that dominate a scene. This one is less like that, and actually may look better if part of a wider camping area. But at that price I doubt many players will be picking up further copies. That's a real shame since without the steep price I could envisage plenty of creative folks coming up with brilliant group camping scenes.

You now have to go back to the Valentine's Day goals in February for the last time extras of a final goal prize could be bought for coins. That's not good and may even deserve further dissection in the next Suggestions Box...

For now though we're done. I'm not all that enamoured by this month's goal offerings - it's a clever choice of theme, but not all that well executed. The likes of a campfire, bots chopping wood and a wild and knarled tree would all have been ideal here, and instead I feel the theme has been left half-baked. Nevertheless there's a wide range of existing decor which it can be merged with to hopefully create something special. For now I'm getting chilly so will pull down my tent's zip and climb into my sleeping bag. Sleep well friends!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Camping goals (in full)

We're off on a camping trip in the latest Restaurant Story update, and there's plenty to do while we're there thanks to a new set of goals.

There are three floor decorations, two appliances and six recipes to be hunted down in this quest. You've got just over four weeks to finish the goals, with 30 days on the clock. Therefore if you've not completed every step by Thursday 18th August, prepare to miss out on some of the unlockables!

Here's the complete list of goal steps: