Little Dragons Café (PS4, Switch)

A brother and sister live with their mom, who runs a café on a magical island. One day, the mother falls into a deep sleep and won’t wake up.  But shortly after the siblings find her, a mysterious old man appears and tells the children that their mom is half dragon, half human.  Her dragon blood and human blood aren’t syncing right, which caused her to fall ill.  Luckily the old man brought a dragon egg with him, and tells the children that if they can hatch and raise the young dragon, their mom will get better.   In this game, you play as one of the siblings and must both run the café and raise a dragon at the same time in this restaurant sim/virtual pet hybrid.  It’s available on PS4 and Switch, but reviewed on PS4 here.

As the boy or girl, you’ll move around in 3-D space.  In the kitchen you can cook different foods from recipe fragments you find around the island.  When you cook, you’ll pick ingredients and then play a rhythm mini-game.  If you have good ingredients and play the game well, you’ll cook better food, which will make your customers happy.  As you play, you’ll come across other characters who will work in your café, and sometimes you must talk to them to see if they need anything.

When you’re not cooking in the kitchen, you can venture outside to gather ingredients.  Your garden, as well as trees and bushes, will provide you with the fruits and vegetables that you need.  You can also fish and hunt for other meat.  Rocks and plants can provide you with spices like salt, sugar, and pepper.  Make sure to gather ingredients every day so your café won’t run out of stock.  As you progress you’ll be able to go further into the island to gather more things.

While doing all this, you must also take care of your new dragon and keep it happy.  Pet it every once in a while and feed it food you’ve cooked to keep its energy up.  In return, your dragon will help you gather ingredients, too.  When it’s small, it can ferret out food from small places and holes.  As it gets bigger, it can help you hunt animals for meat.  And much later on, you’ll even be able to ride it and fly all over the island!  Use your dragon’s manure that you can collect on plants and other places to get better ingredients the next day!

The game runs on an in-game clock.  So you’ll need to watch the time.  During busy hours at lunch and dinner, you’ll probably want to be back at the café to help out taking orders, serving food, and cleaning up.  Luckily you can press a button to warp back to the café.  And make sure you get back in bed at night.  That’s how the game gets saved.  A full in-game day lasts about ten minutes.  To progress the story, you’ll need to keep raising the reputation of your café, take care of your dragon, and tend to the needs of your staff and customers.

If this game sounds a bit like Harvest Moon, you’re not far off the mark.  In fact, the game was made by the same guy who did the earlier Harvest Moon and now Story of Seasons games.  But Little Dragons Café has a lot of the same problems those games had, too.  Time runs a bit too fast, and the game can be repetitive every now and then, too.  And while you can view what you need to do next in the story, sometimes goals and objectives can still be slightly unclear.

But other than that, this is a really charming little game.  I especially like a neat graphic effect they use.  The visuals are simple and probably could’ve been done on a GameCube, but they also have this kind of pencil sketch look to them, which makes the whole game look like a children’s book.  So if the descriptions in this review sound adorable and fun to you, you’ll probably enjoy this game!

Kid Factor:

Little Dragons Café is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Language and Mild Fantasy Violence.  I really didn’t notice any bad language in the text, so it must be used very sparingly.  The violence is very minimal. Aggressive animals can bump into you and knock you down, but you only lose one of the dishes you’ve prepared.  When your dragon hunts animals, it’ll just bump into them, and they disappear and meat comes out.  Reading skill is needed for the text.  Otherwise this is a great nonviolent game for the whole family.

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