Monster Menu: The Scavenger's Cookbook

Monster Menu: The Scavenger's Cookbook

released on Jan 27, 2023

Monster Menu: The Scavenger's Cookbook

released on Jan 27, 2023

A survival strategy RPG that combines exploration, tactical combat, and cooking mechanics to create the perfect dish of dungeon-crawling adventure! Customize the class, appearance, voice, and pose of your party members, then set off to find food in whatever way you can.

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Monster Menu is a rogue-lite game with a unique concept revolving around eating food. There are many character gauges to keep track of as you explore the dungeons such as the Calories and Hydration for each character. Both gauges steadily decline as you progress and eating food during the dungeon or at a temporary rest camp are the only ways to recover them. Each food recovers different amounts of Calories and Hydration. Eating food also comes with many temporary stat and effect benefits as well.

The whole game takes place in a dungeon so there are no towns or other locations to visit. The dungeon exploration itself is surprisingly relaxing though. Other than fighting enemies, you forage for food, ingredients, and equipment chests so I'm reminded of the Atelier games at times.

During dungeon exploration, you have free movement where you can run and jump. Once you initiate contact with an enemy, it transitions to a typical SRPG grid based format on the spot.

Combat is fast and snappy would a modern efficient take on battle controls. You move your characters with the joystick to the the available spaces they can move to instead of picking a "Move" command and then picking the space to move to. Many of the combat actions could be done through a shortcut as well. All of that combined with short battles make the exploration a lot more relaxing.

Other than cooking various food combinations, you can also craft various items and tools to help in progressing such as traps and arrows (for your bow users).

Unless played on Easy, it is very much expected that you will die at some point and probably multiple times as well. Except on Easy difficulty, you lose every item when you get wiped out. The big exceptions are recipes, key items and the equipment you obtained. You also go back down to the base on the first floor with your levels reset back to 1.

Overall, the rogue-lite elements weren't too bad and was relaxing in many ways. My big issue with the game is pretty much weak story presentation and the lack of character interactions. There is actually a story in the game which mostly involves the MC and their party escaping this dungeon, but there are very few cutscenes in general. Much of the lore is told through secret documents you can find and are interesting, but that wasn't a good method to keep me engage with the plot.

As previously mentioned, there aren't any character interaction either. All of the characters you make are generic with battle dialogue, but they don't talk to each other. There aren't any NPCs either to live things up.

I'm mixed on the music. On one hand, the battle themes are very good, but the dungeon themes are lacking. You hear a short song when you enter a new floor, but it doesn't loop at all. So in most instances, it's 30 seconds of music and that's it. You just hear random character exploration dialogue and footsteps until you enter a battle or reach the next floor.

Overall, the gameplay was fun in of itself, but without an interesting engaging story and characters to support it, this game doesn't have much broad appeal.

Divertido rpg táctico con elementos rogue like. Un tanto repetitivo pero que se deja jugar. Muy destacable el sistema de cocina, que es lo que mas usaremos durante la partida y el sistema de personalización de los personajes.