Flipline Studios' Papa is taking over the world, one digitally delicious time management simulation at a time, and this latest installment is his most soft, fluffy, and golden-brown-est endeavour yet! In Papa's Pancakeria, you're once again wrangled into running Papa's latest restaurant venture for him and the hungry customers headed for your counter don't care how inexperienced you are. Earn new toppings, even entirely new menu items, and decorate the shop to your heart's content... provided you can keep all your hungry customers happy, of course.
Don't worry if you've never flipped a flapjack; the first day has a tutorial that walks you through the basics. You've got three stations to contend with; ordering, grilling, and topping. It goes without saying that your customers are very particular about how they want their food, and you'll have to grill and then build to their specifications. If someone wants three pats of butter, for example, you can't just plop them down willy-nilly; you'll have to place them (and every other item) to cover the pancakes as evenly as possible. You'll definitely want to keep your customers happy, since the tip money they give you can be spent towards upgrades to make your life a little easier, or cosmetic enhancements like hats and posters. (That way when a customer is furious at you, you can just go, "Yeah, but how about this sombrero, eh? Eh?" That'll go over awesome.) Between stages, you'll also get a chance to play mini-games if you like, spending golden tickets for a chance to earn more cash or prizes. Of course... pancakes aren't all you'll have to contend with slinging if you want to make it to breakfast shop royalty.
Analysis: The Papa's series has been around for a long time, and it's always impressive whenever a series like this manages to keep going without feeling like it's just spinning its wheels. Flipline obviously knows the core gameplay that players love, and is absolutely amazing at dressing it up in new and interesting ways to keep it from feeling too samey or changing so much that the game loses what made its predecessors so great. While not that different in gameplay from other Papa's titles, Papa's Pancakeria introduces just enough to make you want to keep playing. The mini-games are mostly simple affairs, some better done than others, but the provide a nice break between levels.
Of course, it goes without saying that Papa's Pancakeria is also gorgeous. The visual style has barely changed since its humble cheesy beginnings, but is still as vibrant and colourful as ever. Don't let the cartoony style make you think it's easy; it's as easy as ever to overestimate your griddle-guardian capabilities and wind up with a bunch of burnt goods. (Mmmm, charred on the outside, raw on the inside! Just the way I like 'em!) If you didn't like the Papa's games before, this one won't offer up much to change your mind, but for fans of the series it's another great, high-quality installment packed with all the breakfast goodness you could want to get your stomach growling. Make ready your pancake flipper and don your paper hat... and then maybe draft a letter to a union or something because if this is how Papa gets all his employees, it's gotta be illegal.