Game: Julie’s Sweets
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer/Publisher: Ocean Media
Age Rating: 3+ (UK & EU) | E (US)
Price: £8.99 | €9,99| $9.99
Release Date: 21st November 2018 (Europe)|6th December 2018 (US)
(also available on mobile and Steam)
Review code kindly provided by the Ocean Media
Years ago I was so pleasantly surprised finding the first Delicious Emily game in the App Store. A sim/ management game combined with a good story that caught my attention. I’ve told you many times about this game series on here. Over the years there were some other series that followed the same format but with a different twist.
I was equally surprised to find Julie’s Sweets in the library of the Nintendo Switch. So when we had the chance to review the game, I decided to hog it for myself!
The story is an important part
From the beginning, it’s clear it’s no coincidence that Julie’s Sweets has a strong resemblance in gameplay to the Delicious games. GameHouse, who takes the lead in the Delicious games, but also in the Fabulous game etc, has been involved here too. In the end though, Julie’s Sweets took a different turn and was developed and published by Ocean Media.
Julie Adams feels as if she is at the crossroads in her life. She works in her families donut shop, baking lovely donuts, pies and brownies and serving them to her customers. But she sometimes feels like she is not accomplishing anything, while her little sister has everything going for her in university. So, should she strive to enroll in the prestigious cooking school Le Cookery? Of course, it’s up to you as a player to help her find her way.
Previous experience is a plus
The game starts you off with a little tutorial showing you how to run the bakery. There are some staple articles in Julie’s bakery that customers can ask for. Some are ready to go, others she has to prep before she can hand then out. People come to Julie’s counter, or sit at a table waiting to be served. Baked goods, lemonades and pastries, all go to her tray when Julie touches them. And from the tray, she serves her customers.
The challenge in the game is to manage it all without going into a full fledged stress mode because customers are impatiently waiting and more and more come into the bakery. This means you have to chose a route to walk, and order of things to do. Minimize time wasted and try to be prepared on the goods that you have to work on before you can serve them. Meanwhile you get rewarded with money and stars if your customers are happy.
The tutorial touches on all of that, but only very briefly. I feel the tutorial should have been more in depth. If you’ve never played before I expect you are baffled by some things. Like how does Julie get a glass of lemonade made, or the candy dolls that need icing and strawberries? Even with all of my experience in previous games I had a tough time finding that the strawberries grew on a shrub in the back of the bakery.
Six chapters tells the storyline
Every stage is part of the storyline. That is such an important part of these management games. To me, it’s what sets them apart from many of the other management simulation games out there. The fun is in getting as many stars as you can by finding the best way to server your customers. Depending on the money you earn you get stars for the stage. One star will get you to the next level and three is the max. Three can only be earned if you find the mouse that pops up randomly on the screen as well.
The other bonus you can earn is hearts. And these hearts can be spend to buy extra kitchen accessories, like scales, ovenmits or a rolling pin. In every chapter there are some stages included, or special challenges in a regular stage where you can earn extra hearts. During the game you’ll also collect trophies for certain goals met. For instance, serve over 250 combo orders and earn the cheesecake trophy.
In all, you can play six chapters with 60 regular stages and 18 special bonus stages.
Frantic times ahead
The fun of the game lies in trying to be as quick as you can, take the most efficient route. Serve multiple customers at once and think ahead about your stock. At work in real life we trained to look at our processes based on Lean Six Sigma, I really feel they should use a game like Julie’s Sweets as a test case. It’s very rewarding when the donut shop closes and you feel you’ve got the maximum amount of money out of it.
This also means it can get quite frantic: it’s a game to play in a relaxed state of mind, and make sure you aren’t disturbed during a stage. It will require your full attention.
I’ve tried to play the game on the Switch in several ways, even played it in tabletop to see what works best. You see, using the buttons on the Joy Cons to move around and do your thing isn’t really working out. A yellow marker shows you where you are and moving that, allows you do get items. But it’s too slow, and running around in different areas of the donut shop isn’t easy. It’s not just a matter or left or right or up and down.
I have found I can only play the game using the touch screen. It allows you to plan your route much better. Julie can be a bit slow, where I sometimes had actions lined up for her and she was still in the process of moving.
Choose your device to play Julie’s Sweets
The game is available on the Switch, but also in the Apple Store and Google Play Store as well as on Steam. The Switch price is a good one at € 9,99 as the full game is € 10,99 in iOS although you do get to try the first 8 levels for free on your iPad. On Steam it’s € 8,19.
Handling the Switch in touchscreen mode can be a bit awkward, but playing the game on a mobile phone would be all the more challenging with the small screens. I guess playing it on the iPad would feel slightly better. The tunes are catchy, but I couldn’t help but notice they are the same as in Delicious Emily. I guess GameHouse’s involvement is clear.
When a game so strongly resembles another series you can’t help but compare. Julie’s Sweets feels a little less polished then the Delicious games.
Overall I would say it’s nice to have the game on my favourite gaming device, even though you’d need to play it in handheld. Plus, you can best play it with the touchscreen. Not a problem for me, but some of you readers might want to use the big screen which isn’t optimal. The story is good, and the challenge is great, as always in these perfect mix of simulation/management games.
It’s nice to have this management sim added to the Switch library and I can safely say I like it!