Space. The final frontier. We’ve seen so much space in games, from trying to protect it in Mass Effect or defying every conceivable law about it in Super Mario Galaxy. It’s a realm of infinite possibilities and endless creativity. But for all the intergalactic warriors and bounty hunters, no one ever thinks about the unsung heroes of space: the humble space chefs.
Those of you who are familiar with my work know my relationship with Harvest Moon and that it is the reason I love rainy days. What you may not know is that it also sparked my affinity for cooking. This is why the prospect of Space Food Truck was so interesting to me. It’s so simple, yet so brilliant: what would it be like to be a food truck, in SPACE! And while the concept is simple, the game certainly is not, offering a challenging and engaging experience that surpassed all my expectations.
Space Food Truck puts the player in charge of plucky Galaxy Gormet crew. Their mission: to explore the galaxy and feed hungry bellies. They’ll find exotic planets and peoples, gather only the freshest ingredients and do their best to serve up the most delicious food this side of Andromeda. Players take control of The Captain, who steers the ship; The Chef, who cooks the food; The Scientist, who does science; and The Engineer, who keeps the ship running. In order to beat the game, players need to explore a pretty vast galaxy, complete three objectives in the form of creating recipes and try to stay alive while doing so.
Gameplay is just as interesting in Space Food Truck. Initially I had thought SFT would play like FTL, mixing RTS with RPG elements. However, STF is actually a strategic card game with little Oregon Trail events peppered in before each turn. Each member of the crew draws different cards unique to their abilities. Players then try to stack “throwaway” cards in order to boost the effects of specific action cards. The Captain may draw an “Engage” card, allowing the player to travel to distant planets. Depending on how many cards they stack, adding power to their main card determine how many planets they can visit.
It’s an interesting and unique system, however it seems out of place is with The Chef. Given the random nature of drawing cards, it never seemed like I could get the ingredients I needed and a “Cook” card in the same hand. And since you discard your hand at the end of every turn, and there’s no way to bank cards, it was always a roll of the dice on whether you could cook something or not. This is the one place where Space Food Truck felt less about Food Truckin’ and more about dumb luck. Space Food Truck also features a multiplayer mode where four players can team up to take on individual roles within the Galaxy Gourmet, adding an interesting level of chance and teamwork to the game.
Stylistically, SFT is simple and charming with well drawn cartoon characters, and lots of bright colors that brings a lot of charm and life to the game. Couple that with a fun and simple sci-fi soundtrack behind it and you have a title that looks and feels great.
My only real complaint with Space Food Truck is it’s lack of a proper tutorial. Rather than give players a basic rundown of the game, via the gameplay, SFT prompts players to watch a Youtube video with a rather dull explanation on how the game works. Being a more hands-on learner, I quickly tuned out of this video in favor of just jumping into the game and learning as I played.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Space Food Truck, and not exactly for the reasons I thought I would. It’s a challenging and engaging card game, set in a fascinating and fun universe. It’s a real gem that only a better tutorial, and elements that make the cooking part of this game easier, could improve. Now if someone could make a space food truckin' game like No Man's Sky, I would give them all my money.