Critical Play: A Mechanic and A Story to Tell -Vicky

I played Hungry Hearts Diner. Hungry Hearts Diner is a story of a grandmother who is running the diner on her own in Japan during the Showa Era. Different types of customers come in, each ordering food and eventually sharing an interaction with the Grandmother.

I enjoyed the casual vibe of this and how there was a storyline incorporated. I’ve played diner  games before, which usually do not incorporate a storyline and just focused on the mechanics. This being a diner and idle game is a fun variation. As you make food and upgrade to new recipes, you are able to serve different customers as time in game passes. The mechanics was woven into the story quite well, which felt nice. For instance, as time passed the customer would have an interaction to share with the grandma, which is a story between them and what they are going through. It is a heart warming story. You also learn about the grandmother as well, and her story of running the diner while her husband is recovering. I would say that the mechanics complement the story quite well, because it is supported by the details in the story as if you are serving food to the particular customer, which increased your relationship with them. Certain customers come by on certain days, and even have special foods they are particular to. You learn about different food when talking to them as well, which shows up as food you can make.

It was a fun meta moment when the customer Mr.Jizo commented that this was an idle game and that you should ‘rest’ to recover your ‘energy’. With the calm atmosphere, I also appreciated that the game did not dock you if you do not serve the customers on time. There weren’t any negative consequences, just actions that will grow your diner and relationship with other customers.

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