Kneading a Challenge: Jessica's Cupcake Café

Download for Windows

(Quality tested, 100% clean download, no viruses, no ads, no spyware)

Download for Mac Order Full Game
Cup cake making game for girls

Play On: Windows XP/Vista/7/Mac

Rating: 90%

Can you run a perfect game? This is the all time challenge that Jessica's Cupcake Café hands straight out to every serious time-management fan out there. This cupcake making game for girls (and maybe boys!) takes on the serve-customers-fast formula with a devilish twist: you cannot afford a mistake. But with this nearly insane challenge comes something truly remarkable, an undeniable sense of self achievement. Coupled up with the fact that this game packs some of the best graphics seen in the bakery-style genre (the artwork is simply eye candy) and one of the best control systems we have ever handled, and you have got one game that is worthy in your cake collection. This is the perfect game for casual veterans and hardcore players who scoff at the difficulty of basic point and click titles.

Review

Art, gameplay, challenge. These three are the main reasons why we feel that among the many time management games out there, Jessica's Cupcake Café is one that truly stands out, in fact in wipes the floor with the Cake Mania games. No other title has had such a degree of cohesiveness in both structure and form, which is why we could not find ourselves pulling away from the game - as frustrating as it was to repeat some of the later stages over and over just to get that expert rating, there was something about the challenge that had a player's subconscious urging one onward. After all, when you're only thought at each try is that "I can do this faster, if I only just...", then you truly have a cake game that is undeniably addictive.

Plot:

While casual cake making games for girls such as this one do not necessarily require plots (most games just toss the player behind the counter and give you a quick tutorial), Jessica's Cupcake Café takes on the usual genre with a very predictable narrative; our young, intrepid baker has taken it upon herself to take on the bakery business. The only thing different here is that she will be baking cupcakes as opposed to anything else. Jessica's aunt comes over to announce that she will be closing down the cupcake bakery. Jessica interjects, saying that there is no need to close it down and that she can make it successful; according to her, cupcakes are better than anything else. As one would expect, her aunt allows her to take charge of the store and after she proves that she can truly make it successful (which is basically the first stage of the game), they decide to expand.

jessicas cup cake making game: the plotline is simple but endearing

The plotline is simple but endearing and get's you straight into the action

While this might seem rather mundane, we do appreciate the fact that there is no bizarre fight against a mega-corporation or that the family is keeping some secret baking recipe. Jessica is simply taking on a family business and since they have been successful, they are expanding - which is in itself a pretty good lesson for many young gamers. As the player progresses throughout the cake making game, Jessica's aunt provides a bit of commentary about the town and the different locales, giving us a deeper insight into their world and also, gives a quick starter on the different types of target markets one would run into. Seeing these subtle yet practical life lessons in game is always priceless, and certainly earns this game a big plus on our score sheets.

jessicas cup cake making game: expanding the business

Expanding the cake making business means moving to different locations and satisfying a wide variety of quirky clients!

Delivery:

As mentioned above, art is a key factor in this game. For those expecting some well detailed cell shading or 3D graphics, think again, Jessica's Cupcake Café sticks closely to the roots of casual gaming: animated sprites. The vector style artwork takes on a great combination of heavy and thin lines in order to fully detail every element of the game, from the character art to the interactive objects; each visual detail has been made in such as a way that they all feel part of the same palette. This is often a major issue for many other casual titles as many character designs seem out of place in their own world.

jessicas cup cake making game: gorgeous artwork awaits the casual game

Gorgeous graphics await the player with the vector style artwork taking on a combination of heavy and thin lines to provide truly detailed visuals.

There is more to this game's aesthetics than just a balance of visual details, the design for both Jessica and her family had been wisely chosen. The protagonists' distinct pulled up hair, eager expression and even the way she stands up provide clues to the type of character she portrays - and it is also a great deviation from the stiff and often inattentive bakers we have gotten to play in other titles. This makes this cake gem the greatest in terms of visual style out of all the cake making games for girls and also holds it in good stead amongst thousands of other casual hits.

The music for the game does suffer a little from lack of change, but fortunately, it is decent enough to listen to over and over again. The sound effects do help quite nicely, with continuous audio cues telling you if the oven is still baking and distinct alerts for the end of each task. The cash register is a definite favorite when accompanied by the clattering chime of coins especially when you rake in a massive combo.

Gameplay:

As with most titles, this cake making game will eventually put you behind the counter and in charge of several stations: a cupcake maker, an oven, an icing maker, a small kitchen island for decorating the cupcakes and lastly, the cash register. Players get a bit of a head start before the store opens to prepare cupcakes to serve. Both veteran time management players and those new to these types of games should be able to grow quickly accustomed to the controls. After two or three stages, mastering the controls becomes pretty much natural.

jessicas cup cake making game: gameplay

Jessicas Cupcake Cafe offers deliciously slick controls that will easily grow on you.

In order to provide more services, players can upgrade and buy new equipment. Do note that as you progress through the stages, the game automatically provides upgrades for your store so it would be wise to hold back on spending your earnings too early. And being able to ensure that you spend wisely is important if your want to survive the later stages with an expert rank.

jessicas cup cake making game: upgrades screenshot

The game automatically provides some of the upgrades for you so it would be wise to hold back on spending your earnings too soon.

The cake making game for girls is unforgiving when it comes to making mistakes. Jessica's Cupcake Café makes use of a queuing mechanic: you can click on objects one after another, a small green circle with a number will let you keep track of your queued commands. This is a great addition considering that you can line up commands one after another, so if you are pretty fast with the mouse or touch screen, then expect to see Jessica moving around the store with deadly accuracy.

But the queue system is a double edged sword: there is no way to undo a command. So if you accidentally add a command that will break the flow (such as picking up a cupcake while your hands are full) then you will lose time and all the queued commands afterwards). Players might think: "play the game without queuing so much", this does sound reasonable to avoid this pitfall, but unfortunately, the speed and efficiency of queued commands is crucial in completing this cupcake game.

Players will have to learn to use the system well. This, in itself is pretty rewarding, for as hard as it is to accurately click several commands one after another, once you master it, you will miss having the queue ability when playing other games (and that is a testament to how well made the system is for this title).

Verdict:

It is not often that a casual game title is able to take our attention and focus levels as if we were playing an epic RPG or an action packed FPS title. And while the overall setting and idea of Jessica's Cupcake Café is on a much smaller scale, the challenge is still exponential -making it a cake making game truly worth having played. It also does not hurt that the game's control system and delivery are top notch, all the more reason why we would recommend this title to everyone (not just girls!). We give this game a red haired baking genius' 90/100.

Final Score: 90%

Jessica's Cup Cake Cafe can be downloaded for the PC on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 & Mac - Download Now.

More Food Making & Serving Games