Sweet Shop is the final instalment in the popular Cooking Mama series and promises a buffet of scrumptious sweets, delectable desserts, and charming confections to bake and sell. The game has over sixty different recipes to create, spread over a wide variety of mini-games. As ever the aim of the game is to create these sweets and puddings, place them in your shop, and then serve customers to earn rewards.
As with previous games in the franchise Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop makes use of the 3DS’s stylus to slice, stir, bake and decorate your creations; the microphone can be used to cool down your freshly baked delicacies by blowing into it. Having created all of these sweets and puddings, they can then be served customers in the shop to keep them happy. If a customer is unhappy they will leave without making a purchase. The more sweets and puddings you create and complete, the more the shop expands.
The game begins with the player picking a recipe from the six that are initially available, followed by a chance to practice by seeing what actions are needed to complete all the tasks within the recipe (without the risk of getting a lower medal and score at the end). It’s possible to skip the practice session and dive straight in and play the recipe, with new recipes become available upon the completion of the ones that were originally available.
Every recipe can be repeated at any point to better your final medal. This can become tedious, as sometimes there’ll only one task outstanding to achieve gold, which drops the total scores. As the game doesn’t allow the player to focus on that specific task, then the whole recipe has to be repeated. An on-screen timer adds a bit of pressure, as panic can set in time ticking away before the task is completed.
Each task within a recipe is assigned either a gold, silver or bronze medal. The tasks are timed, with some of them have a limited amount of attempts before the game automatically completes that step, and consequentially award a bronze medal. These limits are represented by three flower pots in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. At the end of all the tasks in the recipe, the game awards the player a score out of one hundred, along with the appropriate medal. The completed treat can then be placed on any free square available on a little table within the shop. This also opens a new recipe which can then be selected to complete from the main menu.
Any creations sold in your shop earn a thousand tickets, which can then be exchanged for items from Mamas Gallery and Let’s Shop (which can be found in the game’s main menu). Items and tables on display can be changed around as much or as little as you want. The floor, shelves, decoration and walls of your pâtiserrie can also be changed in order to better display your sweet creations and keep customers happy. There’s also a heart-shaped slider at the bottom screen which can be moved from left to right to look around the store. Expanding the shop can trigger special events by making as many recipes as you can. The shop expands when twenty-one recipes have been completed and twenty-seven have been unlocked. The shop expands again at forty recipes. A box or red question mark appears above your ticket total at the top screen, comes in very handy when your shop has expanded as you’ll need to look around for the customer to help or serve.
A blue box will appear on your top screen above your ticket total to signify that customer is waiting for an item, accompanied by a chime when the box appears. If the customer isn’t served in time they’ll become angry and leave the shop. Some customers will want help. These customers will have a red question mark above their heads. A picture of the item the customer wants will appear when they are clicked on. Should you have the item in the store, a further click on that item will get the customer their order. There’s always a steady flow of customers whilst you’re on the shop floor, though when you head to the kitchen they all disappear, which means there won’t be a throng of unhappy customers when you return.
Upon completing fourteen and unlocked nineteen recipes, the shop is visited by the Sweets Madam, a wealthy woman who travels the world in search of delicious sweets. Her dream is to find sweets she likes and promote them globally. If the Sweets Madam likes your sweets, your shop might expand into a worldwide chain. You’ll receive the recipe for the sweet she is looking for and must complete it to put it into your shop. Having successfully baked the goods, The Sweets Madam will drop by, try one of the cupcakes and declare it to be “simply delicious!” She’ll recommend that the treats are shared with the rest of the world and that she will have your shop set up right away. You’ll then get a shop somewhere around the globe.
Sweets Madam will periodically pop back to provide you with other recipes to complete. Every time one of her recipes is completed a corresponding store appears on the globe; for example, a completed cupcake gets you a cupcake shop and a completed gingerbread man gets you a cookie shop. There are Cupcake, Cookie, Éclair, Doughnut, Castella, Crème Brûlée, Swiss Roll, Whoopie Pie, Ice Cream, Sweet and Macaroon shops. Each one offers a different challenge to win world records and medals. In the Cupcake Shop, cakes must be separated into boxes by touching the screen as indicated within the set time. The cookie shop’s the goal is to fill cans up, whilst the Éclair Shop involves spreading chocolate in the correct direction.
There are a wide variety of options from the game’s main menu. Photo Studio can be used to view, edit, and delete photos taken in-game. New items can be purchased from Mamas Gallery and Let’s Shop: Mama’s costume, shop designs, kitchen designs, cooking items and photo items; all of which can be purchased with the tickets earned from serving customers. My Shop, where you serve your customers and change the design and layout of your shop using the items you have purchased in Mamas Gallery and Let’s Shop. The Let’s Make Sweets option allows the player the chance to complete and perfect recipes. Lastly, there’s the World Challenge, which allows you to visit all your shops around the world that the Sweets Madam has helped you to open.
Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop brought back fond memories of playing the first game on my original DS. The final instalment is just as fun and entertaining, as it has the same cutesy charm. I would have expected the graphics to have improved compared to the first game though and would have liked to have more to do in the shop. I would say that the game is repetitive; however, it is very easy to just pick up and play regardless of your previous experience.