Cooking goes well with a lot of things. It can go well with a burgeoning relationship, for instance. It can also work effectively with the radio, when it’s on in the background. Similarly, maths can also go well with a lot of things. Protractors, rulers, textboooks, etc. The list is comprehensive. However, I’ve never thought of combining the two, as they seem at cross-purposes. But taking a closer look reveals that they aren’t all that dissimilar. They’re both about adding things to achieve a specific desired result. You with me? Okay, I know nothing about either. But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying Number Chef, a new puzzler which combines cooking and maths into one big melting pot of fiendish fun, out now for iOS.
Compounding the fact that I know nothing about maths or cooking is the fact that I despise them both. They’re both inane, tedious practices in my book, and I intend to go through life doing as little of either of them as I can. I’d love to know the reason why the developers decided to conjoin these two disparate concepts, but regardless of their reasons, it makes the game memorable, so I guess more power to them. On the flip-side, for those who adore cooking and live for maths, this game is obviously going to be some sort of Godsend.
The first thing you notice about this little game is its good intention. It never tries to sell you anything, and you can’t find a backdoor to victory by paying for it. It is exactly as it appears; a clever, original puzzle game that you can play in short bursts and won’t cost you anything to download. The crux of the game are logic puzzles; you have to combine the numbers given to you to reach the stated total, with the core mechanic being that odd numbers add to each other while even numbers subtract. It can take a few puzzles to get fluent with this mechanic, but luckily the game starts you off slow, so you have plenty of time to ketchup.
And indeed the first few levels are simple, and won’t challenge you much at all. But rest assured puzzle fans, things get very difficult very fast. But wait, you cry, I get the maths, but where does the cooking fit in? Well, the puzzles are framed by a narrative, wherein you work for a demanding head chef and feed your customers the numbers he asks you to ‘cook’. Yes, it’s an odd fit of a concept, but it makes little difference to the effectiveness of the game – it looks and plays really well, so if you’re a fan of puzzles and want to be truly challenged, seek it out now.