At some point, sim games had a schism. Some went the Nintendo route of having everything have cutesy animation and being more simplified. And then the others went the PC route of being more sophisticated and complex. I guess the division occurred somewhere around when Sim Ant came out. Little Dragons Cafe is definitely in the former camp, although it does flirt with the latter at times.
When your mom gets sick, and you learn that's she's half dragon (Don't....don't think too much on this), you need to keep the family cafe going, along with the help of your Dragon friend! The game quickly becomes Harvest Moon in many ways, which coming from the same creator, isn't surprising. The story is almost an excuse to see your dragon grow and see how else you can get help from it. But, it has a goal, and an addictive one at that, which is better than most game stories of this level. So... pretty good.
Playing on the PS4, controls were easy. This is a kind of game that you don't need many buttons for, so it's really hard to get confused or screw up. Controls meet expectations. If there was any part of this that was broke it would have surprised me.
Gameplay slowly shifts throughout the game as your dragon buddy gets bigger and can do more things, but this mainly revolves around making food, exploring, planting, and I know I said this before, but it's almost like an upgraded Harvest Moon. There are missions, and there are consequences (Like the dragon turning different colors), but they're all doable – sometimes with a decent challenge. This isn't an overly hard game, and some times it can get really tedious, but it's also the style that makes you wonder where the time went and want to play it again.
The graphics of the game hurt a bit. They aren't that great. They're the cutesy, Nintendo-style graphics which felt weird playing it on the PS4. So it's somewhat cel-shaded, somewhat realistic, but mostly it felt blurry. The graphics weren't like that, but it was low quality with little detail in most areas. Things the eyes just bulging out in detail on a body with much less was a little disturbing. It worked for the dragon, but NO ONE ELSE. Some parts also have a drawn quality, which are supposed to look cute, but look like a poorly illustrated storybook. So you can see why the graphics were a bit disappointing.
Sound and music is next, and while I can go into detail, I'll give you my thought at the end of it: “The Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo Games of the 2000's had a music baby!"
All the high energy yet lightly fantastical music, all the sounds – it came from this era, and it feels it. I can't get much more specific than that.
The frame rate was surprisingly good. I thought it would be a bit jumpy, even on the PS4, but it came out quite clean. I was also expecting glitches. The most I saw was object interaction between characters, where things would clip through like hell, but that was more of a graphics problem. It ran great.
Little Dragons Cafe is an overall fun and addictive game – think a slightly more easier (except in themes, where its a little more complex) version of Harvest Moon. The graphics aren't all that great, and it can be too cutesy for some, but I had fun doing. I tend to like Sim games, and any Sim game where there are Dragons involved are always going to be worth a look. I'd say it's definitely worth a play. It's How to Train Your Dragon....for a coffee shop.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.