Food games have come a long way since we were shooting bison on the Oregon Trail. A few days ago SFoodie shared the news that Zynga has released ChefVille, a new Facebook game where you can build your own restaurant, cook recipes for friends, and take cooking lessons. We're not social gamers, but we're fans of the food- and restaurant-themed games we've been playing on our iPhone and iPad. Here are five games that we've spent days or weeks addicted to (platform availability varies):
5. Burger Stack
Burger toppings fall from the sky and you tilt your phone to stack the ingredients listed on your order while avoiding the rest. Catch the wrong topping or miss one of the right ones and you lose tips; snag a top bun before your order is complete and the round is over. Burger Stack is basic but engaging, and because each round is quick, nearly hands-free, and doesn't require much concentration, it's a good option for waiting in line or sitting on the bus.
4. Cooking Dash
There's an extensive back story that we've never bothered to read, but the basic gist seems to be that you are taking over a diner for a chef named Cookie who has moved on to TV, and now have to master the menu and keep Cookie's customers happy. You seat customers (extra points for matching their clothes to placemat colors), cook what they order as fast as you can, serve it to them, collect their money, bus their dirty plates, and repeat. If you make your customers wait too long they'll leave, even if you're already making their food.
Fall behind and you will be in the weeds very quickly (just like a real-life line cook!), so the secret is to keep pre-made ice cream cones, smoothies, and cold plates at the ready. The more your customers like you, the more points you accumulate to buy upgrades at the end of the level like faster stoves and fryers, coffee that puts your customers in a good mood, and shiny new counters.
3. Supermarket Mania
Almost as good as reruns of Supermarket Sweep. Supermarket Mania is nearly identical to Cooking Dash (though from a different company), only this time you're in charge of a grocery store. Your job is to keep the shelves stocked, the floor clean, and the shoppers happy. Like Cooking Dash, the higher your score, the more upgrades you can buy at the end of each level -- including shelves that hold twice as much inventory, faster re-stocking trips, and a cleanser that instantly cleans the floors.
Supermarket Mania's best feature is the challenges it throws your way, like the shady man in a trench coat (seen in the above screenshot) who sometimes shows up and smashes your milkshake maker for no good reason, or this one punk-ass tween girl who rides her Razor scooter around the store and will knock over your displays unless you call the security guard.
2. Fruit Ninja
Even Kim Kardashian has fallen prey to this addictive arcade game where you use your finger as a samurai sword and slice through watermelons, oranges, peaches, coconuts, bananas, limes, lemons, kiwis, and more before they drop from the screen. The more fruit you slice at one time, the higher your score -- just make sure you avoid the bombs. The deluxe version ($.99) has a Zen Mode where there are no bombs or consequences, as well as a super-fun Arcade Mode where you can win bonuses like slow-motion fruit or a free-for-all "fruit frenzy."
Our favorite part of the game? All the juice that comes out of the fruit you slice. It makes us thirsty.
1. Cooking Mama
We first played this strange Japanese cooking game about six months ago on a friend's Wii and were thrilled to discover the iPhone version. Your goal is to make a dish for "Mama" by following the directions on the screen for each step of the recipe -- to make Hamburger Stewed in Tomato Sauce, for example, you need to dice an onion; spread melted butter evenly in a pan; stir-fry the onion; add milk, egg, bread crumbs and fried onion to hamburger meat; knead the meat mixture together; form the hamburger patties; and pan-fry your burgers. Where is the tomato sauce? Why would you ever eat a hamburger stewed in tomato sauce? We're not entirely sure. One of Cooking Mama's most endearing qualities is its slightly off takes on Western recipes.
Truth be told, the game gets a little boring after a few rounds. But it's our favorite for its sheer WTF factor, and because if you don't cook your food perfectly, Mama's eyes fill with angry hate-fire.
Which food games have we missed? Share them so we can feed our addiction!