Let me start with a story;
A long time ago, back when Waffles© was just a wee lad, he had a grand total of ten dollars and fifty cents. Being the spendthrift little boy as he was, he ventured into the local Walmart store to find a jolly old game to play on his parents computer. Little boy Waffles© soon found a cheerful looking game by the name of Restaurant Empire that he immediantly began to want for. The total price of the game? $10.00 (and 50 cent tax). He gleefully skipped to the check-out counter where he paid his ten and fifty and ran home to enjoy his new-found game. Ohh but what fun he had playing this joy of a game! Hours upon hours where spent building restaurants, organizing menus, and hiring staff. The young boy who was Waffles© was overjoyed at this seemly limitless game!
A dozen years later, grown man Waffles© browses the Steam store to find another game to review in a dire attempt to become noticed by the Steam community. Startled, he runs across a familiar title: Restaurant Empire II. What? Was he being decived? His childhood game had a sequel? And was on Steam? Thanking Gaben, Waffles© quickly bought the game instead of Super Noah's Ark 3D, downloaded, and installed it. A couple hours later, here he is, ready to give his honest opinion on the game.
Restaurant Empire II is a restaurant tycoon simulator where you take control of a young chef, fresh out of culinary school and ready to take on the Omnifood corporation. The game plot is rather simple, and most of the mechanics are even more so. The main goal of the game is to keep your customer satisfaction level high in order to maintain a five stay rating. You do so by selecting dishes that have high ratings, updating your furniture to increase comfort levels, placing decorations to... well, increase your decoration level, and hiring and training staff to provide the best customer care possible. In the sandbox mode, this is actually quite easy as you start out with a large building and you cannot start out with lower than $500,000. I simply furnished the bottom floor, hired my staff and spent $10,000 a month on training them (after several months there were virtually no complaints about them), added only dishes that had a 75% or above approval rating, and decorated the floor so extravagantly that a four star rating was achieved in a few months in game time. The five star rating took only about a year!
Really, the main strength of the game is the original campaign which only gives you $40,000 to start out with. Although you also begin with a fully decked out kitchen, dining room, and restrooms, you still have to add decoration, add dishes, hire staff, etc. Several of the options (such as advertising and training) are blocked so the jerks who are your staff act all high and mighty for the first dozen challenges without the ability for you to stop them. To throw a curveball when you least expect it, a well known character in the game gives you $250,000 to set up and maintain his nephew's new restaurant, which has no kitchen or restrooms. Meaning you have to set up everything with the money you've saved up to that point. The challenge is real and completing all objectives can be difficult but fun.
Because the mechanics are so simple, I really have to look at the game as a whole in order to give my full opinion on it, and frankly, there is not much to see. Perhaps if the game had a fancy HD remastering, or an ambitious remake, the appeal would be greater. The game feels pulled out of it's time in the steam market with fancy titles like Prison Tycoon, or Tropico V to keep it company, but without the aesthetic of it's counter parts it largely goes unnoticed. Despite this, I wholeheartedly recommend Restaurant Empire II to the individual looking for such a game. Maybe it's the nostalgia kid in me happy to play this game once again, but REII is a joy to play and quite simply a time waster for tycoon fans to enjoy.
I rate this game 6.5/10, would loose childhood in again.
Thank you for your time!
The Older but not Wiser