Today, Team17 has announced that it will be adding Hermes Interactive's puzzle game Automachef to its ever-growing games label. Thanks to this partnership, the game is headed to Switch this summer as a console exclusive, and we were lucky enough to check out an early build at Team17's lovely HQ. This one looks very tasty indeed.
Automachef tasks you with creating a series of fully-automated kitchens to produce a variety of dishes for your ravenous customers. Each kitchen essentially acts as a level to beat, where you must not only come up with the correct solution for getting orders out quickly with the right ingredients (à la Overcooked), but also consider the positioning and programming of every single machine you plonk down.
Each kitchen will require multiple machines to accept, process, and complete orders (which range from one or two items on the menu to multiple options requiring a whole lot of work). Each level begins with you placing down necessary equipment - food dispensers, order checkers, grills, assembly machines, conveyor belts, sauce containers, pumps, and more - but that's just the start. From there, each piece of machinery needs to be programmed to follow precise steps - one food dispenser might need to send burger buns straight to the assembly machine, while another might need to send raw patty meat to the grill before a robot arm can grab it and throw it into the mix - and this is all done via drop-down menus for each individual appliance.
And that's still hardly even scratching the surface. As the game progresses, you suddenly find yourself needing to lower energy consumption by only having machines turned on when necessary (one of the many options which can be altered for every machine); dealing with risks such as fire and salmonella poisoning (should you send raw meat and vegetables along the same conveyor belt; and even issues with space in the kitchen. You need to use an awful lot of machinery, and sometimes the biggest challenge is squeezing everything into the space provided.
We're not afraid to admit that we felt rather overwhelmed when jumping in for the first time, even after a handful of tutorials, as there's a surprising amount of thinking that has to go into each and every step. In a way, the whole thing almost feels like coding, or a particularly complex flow chart, with each machine having to directly plug into and correctly communicate with the next. Luckily, we were soon shown how a pro can quickly assess the orders coming up, navigate the menus and connect each machine just right, before sitting back and watching the magic unfold. As you can see in the trailer above, kitchens can grow to enormous sizes and are immensely satisfying to watch when in full swing.
The full game will house 30 levels of this madness, as well as bonus challenge levels, a practice mode, and a 'Contracts' mode. The bonus levels caught our eye in particular here, as these make you think in entirely different ways. For example, one idea presented here has you entering a kitchen which has already been assembled but with several errors - it's your job to work out where the errors are and come up with a fix without pulling the entire thing down and building it from scratch yourself.
The game is presented with a cutesy, cartoon art style and some of the jolliest, most relaxing music we've ever had the pleasure of assembling ridiculously large kitchen appliances to. The build we played is still a work-in-progress project, so there are a few more changes and tweaks needed to be made before release, but we're already seeing the potential in this one and are looking forward to properly tucking in.
Automachef launches on Nintendo Switch as a console exclusive later this year. Will you be keeping an eye out for more news on this one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.