Party games have had a mini resurgence of late given the success of Overcooked and then Fall Guys. This is joyous for me as I’ve never left the genre. When a party game is created with fun, variety, clever mechanics and accessibility – you have some of the most enjoyable gaming experiences to be had. Cake Bash brings you some of the finest multiplayer action this year with a delicately balanced party experience.
Choosing from seven cakes (35 varieties) you will go into battle against 3 of your friends of AI opponents to become the yummiest cake in the shop. This will involve you competing in several minigames to earn points that you can spend every two minigames to decorate your character. At the end of the set of games, the decorations are converted back into points and the winner is eaten. Nom nom.
Minigames fall into two categories and there are six in each at launch. The arena styled bash minigames see you all competing directly against each other. These will see you running, jumping and attacking each other for a variety of different goals. One of them will be to hold a sparkler for as long as possible, another is to toss fruit into a pie crust and another is to stick gummies onto your body. Here the beauty is in the simplicity of running away from everyone else or giving chase and cornering them. You can never really get too far ahead either as each of these arena battles takes place in several different unlockable locations. These locations have specific extra mechanics to avoid such as bird chasing you around or a grill turning on and burning everyone. Its a great way to make one minigame feel like it has five variants and keeps things fresh.
The second category of minigames are more skill based. These see you competing in your own lanes or non-combatively. You’ll be toasting marshmallows to perfection, squirting icing to cover cakes, balancing ice cream scoops on a cone and skewering chocolate in fondue. These add variety and are equally as fun. Personally, I’d like to have seen some more of this variety added. The devs have hinted they have more ideas for minigames and would be considering adding more games in the future so I can hope.
Where Cake Bash does innovate outside of its excellent theming and joyously colourful graphics and sound is in the flow of a game session. You’ll play an arena game, a skill game (often voting for part of the decision of what to play) and you are awarded points for coming 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th. The shopping for decorations then becomes its own mini gambling game too. You see, if you can buy three of the same decoration you get bonus points but everyone is shopping at the same time so its a little race. You also have cheaper options to buy from such as a bin and a vending machine. These may give you what you want but equally give you something mouldy which reduces your score. This means you may win the minigames but spend terribly and therefore perhaps not win the game. It is a nice twist.
I also want to shout out specifically the adorable comedy angle the games graphics bring. The cakes and environments are beautifully designed with detail and sheen. Then they have stick man arms and faces on which lend a hand drawn loveable rogue vibe to the whole thing. It is a great design decision that gives the game so much more charm and character. This kind of attention to detail spreads across the sound design too and the lighting effects. These cakes look so shiny, you’ll be hungry by the time you have finished.
Half the minigames and locations are locked on start up but after a couple of games, most of them are unlocked. Instead you’ll be focusing your attention on buying all the sweet goods in the store to fill out your collection and unlocking cake variants. You can then take these to both local and online match ups, with the online element working smoothly on launch. AI is very competent too although there doesn’t seem to be difficulty levels to go up against. They still provide a challenge when they attack en mass though and they are much better at toasting marshmallows than I ever will be!
Cake Bash is a pure delight to play. Full of charm, replayability and a very low barrier of skill needed to join in the fun, it deserves a place on the top tier of multiplayer party gaming. Put simply, its one of the finest party games of this generation.
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