Chef’s Tail Review

Game: Chef’s Tail
Genre: Adventure Puzzle
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam)
Developer|Publisher: Art Games Studio
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price:  US $11.49 | UK £10.39 | EU € 13,52
Release Date: September 23, 2021

Review code provided with many thanks to Art Games Studio

Is it coincidence that there have been more games that take place in the afterlife lately? I remember Spiritfarer and Bear’s Restaurant. Both show you the vision their developers had of the place after death, making you pause and think. And of course enjoy the gameplay. 

The game that we are featuring today, Chef’s Tail,  also shows you what might happen after Charon ferries you across the river Styx.

A Guide Without a Tutorial

In a Chef’s Tail you are a guide, who must “fill his quota” by helping Spirits along on their journey. As a cat you remember how your former owner ran a bakery with very happy customers, and that is how you are going to be of service too. Cooking for the spirits to soothe them, as the spirits need to rest and restore their stamina before continuing their travels. 

Chef's Tail LadiesGamers
It’s like a quaint Parisian quartier at night

Stepping off Charon’s boat you find a place that is a bit gloomy and shrouded in shadows, but still manages to look like some quaint Parisian quartier at night. Devoid of greenery, and full of faint purple shadows aka ghosts. Chef’s Tail doesn’t do a very good job at giving you a tutorial. Really, when was left on the docks I briefly felt as if I stepped into someone else’s gameplay. As you enter the streets, some pointers are given by ghosts floating by, the vendors and by the Oracle. Really, pay attention to them, otherwise you’ll run around like I did getting nowhere. There’s no way to read the tutorial afterward. Ultimately I started the game all over and this time I found my footing…eh, paws.

Chef's Tail LadiesGamers
The Oracle is helpful, and sells kitchen utensils

Making Coin in the Underworld

The gist of the gameplay in Chef’s Tail is that you cook for the spirits, sell them your wares, find ingredients and grow a wider range yourself. While doing this the underworld turns into a lush and much greener place. And who wouldn’t want to lounge there before moving on?

Chef's Tail LadiesGamers
Levi sells your dishes to the spirits

Your little house doesn’t amount too much, but what does a cat need to be happy? A fluffy pillow to sleep on, a chest to store your finds, a kitchen range and a counter to put the dishes on that you wish to sell. In the corner is a (very silent) ghost named Levi who helps you in selling your dishes, so after you have put your first fruit salad up you have to activate him. After that, rush outside and try to win over the customers hearts and persuade them into buying your stuff. Put the dishes on your counter, and activate Levi.

Rush outside while ghosts come to check out your wares and while you are near them, press Y to persuade them to actually buy. A little diamond shape will appear above them and when it fills up, the sale is done. Earning you much needed coin to buy more seeds, ingredients or new utensils for your kitchen, which, by the way, are sold by the Oracle.

It’s a rule in the underworld that the spirits have to pay, good for their character I guess. Not everyone got the memo I guess, as there are chiefs about. They are red colored ghosts, and you have to deter them from stealing your dishes by pressing ZR on them.

Very Awkward Controls on the Switch

It’s this ZR button that brings me to my main gripe about Chef’s Tail. The controls are horrible. You move by moving the left stick and pressing the ZR button. You do have the option to alter the left sticks sensitivity but it still made for very awkward gameplay. Often overshooting the place where I wanted to go, or making it a very jittery movement. ZR seems to be the favoured control button for most everything: for talking to ghosts and vendors, operating the chest and the kitchen. And at times it’s coupled with Y for things like revitalising trees and shrubs or persuading the ghosts to buy your dishes.

Chef's Tail LadiesGamers
Various recipes can be found around town, or you get them buying things

The lettering is small, a challenge even with reading glasses on. And in menu’s where you want to select some action, I could hardly see what I’d chosen as you depend on a green outline that is hardly distinguishable. For example, when choosing what dish to cook you had to select the recipe by Y, go to the right with the D-pad, and figure out if you’d already reached the “Cook” button. Want to leave the recipe or the vendor menus? Press “+”. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a Switch game.

Chef's Tail LadiesGamers
Fishing like a cat!

Other niggles I have are that the translation to English is sometimes off, and that I’ve experienced some bugs. Like a fish hanging in the air above the water or the pointer being stuck. All of these can be fixed with updates, but I’m not so sure the controls can be changed.

Doing a Little Dance

The visuals of Chef’s Tail are nice, bringing the mood across. It feels satisfying to make the Underworld a better place, and I love the way the Cat moves. I’m a dog owner myself, so I’m no expert, but to me this Cat moves like real cat would. Making its way over the smallest ledges, pouncing on the thieves. Don’t know if real cats do a little dance, but I love how he does this when he has no other instructions.

Chef's Tail LadiesGamers
Investigate every nook and cranny, even over rooftops

The background music is a soothing tune, not too obtrusive but pleasant to listen to. I took the opportunity to connect my AirPods to the newly added Bluetooth on the Switch, and played the game at night, ensconced in my little world.

Conclusion – Sweet Game, Bug Catching Needed

I must confess at first I just couldn’t find my stride in the game, for which the controls were mainly to blame. But Chef’s Tail tells a sweet story about the after life, making it a green lush place and cooking dishes to relaxing back ground music.

If you like simulation games with questing, gathering and interacting with the spirits that populate the after life, then this may be a game for you. I do feel some bugs need to be repaired. What would make this nice game a great game is changing the controls on the Switch.

Final Verdict: I Like ItI like it



  1. Hi, I was just wondering if you played any longer? If so, did you run into any bugs? Because I played a good few hours and now my game is bugged to the point of being literally unplayable. If I try to harvest, cook, or sometimes even talk to people like Charon, I legit cannot move or do anything else anymore. The only thing I can do is pause and it’s driving me up the wall. I messaged the devs about it on twitter but no response yet. I love this game but it being bugged like this makes me regret buying it.

    1. Hi Mars, thank you for reading! I have experienced some bugs too. Sometimes the pointer just wouldn’t budge anymore, or I’ve had a fish being stuck in mid air. But most of the time, after some frantic pressing all buttons I have been able to move again, and then sleeping on the pillow solved it. What is the quest you are having now that you are stuck?

    1. The game has made it too difficult to see if you have selected the right box I think. When you are in the inventory you see a faint green lining around the box you selected, but to be honest, I often had to enlarge the screen by pressing the Swith home button twice to get the right one!

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