When I was in college, I thought of myself as a master chef when I added a hard-boiled egg to my instant noodles, but now while playing The Ramen Sensei, I realize I look a lot more like Brittany Murphy at the beginning of the 2008 Movie Ramen Girl – A humble student at the beginning of her path to noodle mastery. With hungry townspeople lining up outside my ramen shop, I debate whether the “unrivaled” combined boost gained by combining nori (seaweed) and chashu (thin roast pork) is worth the affordability of my shoyu ramen. Notoriously budget-conscious students and poets are some of my most frequent customers, but if I don’t increase the appeal of the dish, I may have to scrap it and start a new creation.
Oh, and what went wrong with my shio ramen with extra negi? That’s my usual order at a noodle shop, but I haven’t sold a bowl all day. Meanwhile, the ramen creation I randomly put together when I started the game is still my best seller. Figuring out how to sell more ramen in this game is a culinary science, and it makes me wonder if my dream of retiring to rural Japan and opening a noodle shop would actually be the laid-back, uncomplicated environment I want for my later years. However, as a cute little indie game that I can play between sips of takeout noodles, it’s a lot of fun.
let me teach you the basics
It really took me a good amount of time to understand the basics of The Ramen Sensei, I must point out up front. The UI is a pixelated assault on the senses that uses red exclamation points to draw your attention to its many menus, icons, and stats, but clicking where prompted doesn’t result in further instructions. Meanwhile, the barebones tutorial does little to clarify what exactly is going on, which makes the first hour a bit overwhelming. I’ll also freely admit that there are some things I still don’t understand about this game – how to make a dish less difficult to prepare without sacrificing its flavor and appeal, for example – and still, I’m really enjoying my time. with that.
At $9, The Ramen Sensei doesn’t skimp on ingredients. At first, there isn’t a lot of ramen customization, but as you sell more and more bowls, you’ll unlock a wide variety of authentic combinations of broth, noodles, and toppings. However, as I mentioned earlier, it’s not just about making your ideal bowl of ramen; after all, you are not the customer. While I might prefer a nice golden yellow shio broth with a perfectly charred chashu slice, a slightly runny egg onsen, and lots of negi, my customers at Sunny Ramen have all sorts of different tastes.
For example, the student who tends to visit my store after class naturally has a tighter budget than the businessman who stops by for lunch. Meanwhile, the office worker likes healthy noodles, so I need to make sure I have a menu option that works with her dietary restrictions. Customers also eat at different speeds and have different levels of patience for long lines, and that will naturally affect your restaurant’s table turnover.
Lots of noodle options
There’s a dizzying array of figures to handle on your quest to become the Ramen God of Sunnyville, and then from Busy Burg, Hot Seaside, Ice Mountain, Hideout Street, Gorgeous City, and Kairo Street. You’ll first want to train your staff, which have cooking, speed, serving, and stamina stats, as well as unique finishing abilities, like… “flavor saver.” Moving on, you can also change your employees’ jobs at any time and upgrade their skills, but watch out for burnout – if you don’t have a chair for every ramen trainee to rest on, they’ll eventually tire of your shit and refuse to work for a while. weather.
Your noodles will be graded for flavor, appeal, richness, aroma, volume, and charisma, all of which affect your sales. With all of that in mind, he’ll start making bowls of noodles, which is extremely satisfying even if he doesn’t fully know what he’s doing. You can choose and eventually customize your broth from loads of traditional Japanese recipes, arrange a huge variety of ingredients to your exact aesthetic taste, and experiment with a host of bonus-granting combos.
Once you’re satisfied with your staff and menu choices, you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your entrepreneurial efforts, while hungry customers line up for bowls of meticulously crafted noodles. After each new creation, there’s a taste test that will tell you where you could tweak your ramen to best suit your customers’ preferences, but after that you’ll get a good view of your thriving business as the throngs of customers come and go. comes. . Particularly satisfied customers who reach maximum fullness will give you Spirit Points, which you can use in the item shop to increase employee, customer, and ramen stats, as well as decorations for your shop.
There are also your business profits, ingredients, labor costs and maintenance costs, equipment and decorations that you have to manage. Occasionally, your regular customers will let you invest in things like the Clean Park initiative, vending machines, banks, tea rooms, flyers, billboards, ATMs, and much more, all with the goal of increasing the appeal of your ramen shop, of course. As you progress, you’ll continue to hire new staff, train existing employees, learn new customer preferences, buy ingredients, upgrade your equipment, expand your shop, invest in things, and generally grow your ramen empire.
I haven’t even mentioned the sand. Oh the sand. If you weren’t satisfied with this surprisingly robust management sim, there’s also something completely different where you battle it out with other ramen shops for the championship. I’m just now learning the mechanics of the arena, but I’ve managed to win several victories just by pressing buttons. If you’re interested in progressing through the game as quickly as possible, you’ll want to present your best ramen in the arena, as if you do well you could rank up and increase your maximum Spirit Points.
no shio simple
While I thoroughly enjoy the constant hits of dopamine as I learn the systems and see how they benefit my sales, my favorite part of The Ramen Sensei requires only a cursory understanding of the game’s complex meta. More than anything, I like to play around creating ramen, trying out new ingredients, and tweaking recipes. Surely it is something aesthetic; I’ve always been a fan of SNES-style graphics, and anything with Japanese food is an instant win for me; but it’s also gratifying to select a menu that is as pleasing to the eye as it is to my customers.
Of all the systems in the game, this is the simplest. Customers will clearly tell you what they like and don’t like about a particular dish, and it’s up to you to go in and adjust your recipes to your liking. Finding the perfect balance between affordability and attractiveness, presentation and practicality, is where it is.
For less than a bowl of ramen, you can pretty much ignore everything else about the game and just focus on making noodles and you’ll still get your money’s worth. That said, if you’re into strategy, there’s also a lot of depth to the city-building aspects of the game. At the very least, it will give you some ideas to spice up your Cup Noodle game.
The Ramen Sensei is available now for PC via Steam, Android, iOS, and PS4.