Enthralling cooking sim with an interesting hook, excellent gameplay loop, and quality progression system, but lacks polish.
Ravenous Devils follows the story of Percival and Hildred, an ordinary couple with a dark past and malevolent inclinations. After a string of unfortunate incidents with their previous business endeavors, Ravenous Devils opens with the couple starting anew with a new town and a new business, but with the same old business plan: murder their way to the top.
Percival is a man of many talents – tailoring, gardening, and murdering. From the top floor of their shared building, Percival runs the tailor shop and operates the greenhouse. He murders their clientele, strips the body of their garments, and either throws the bodies down a chute to his wife’s butcher shop or grinds them into fertilizer for their crops. He then beautifully re-tailors all the garments and resells them in his shop for a hefty premium.
Hildred is a woman of focus, commitment, and sheer will. With an ever-expanding recipe book and unlockable access to her very own huggable cat, she cleaves her way through the mountain of corpses and serves up fresh meat pies on the daily. The customers never stop, but neither does her cleaver.
The gameplay is nonstop, unrelenting action resembling Overcooked
Whereas in Overcooked, multiple players control individual characters to fulfill all the diverse roles needed in the kitchen, Ravenous Devils bring it to the next level by having an individual player control multiple characters.
Both Percival and Hildred have a set of unique jobs and responsibilities that they are unable to directly assist each other in, as they are restricted to their own portion of their shared business. The player must juggle resource management (murdering for bodies and cloth) with production (producing clothes and meals), along with all the other small tasks required in the day-to-day operation of their business.
A day’s work for Percival includes murdering, cleaning, tailoring, setting up displays, and eventually all the greenhouse tasks. Hildred runs the kitchen and the storefront for her eatery. In the kitchen, she does all the butchering and cooking onsite, selecting from a variety of butchering techniques to produce the various cuts of meat that are necessary for the wide selection of dishes to be put up for display. At some point, the shop will have a dining room for which Hildred must wait tables, cook the dishes, and serve within a timely manner. As the shop grows in reputation and capability, so too does the difficulty of juggling all the tasks, and in the end, it was quite the enjoyable challenge to manage the fully upgraded business.
Simple at the start, with an unexpectedly deep and satisfying progression system
Being newcomers to the town, Percival and Hildred’s business starts out small. Little display space for their goods, no dining area, few butchering tools, and a very limited menu. At the end of every day, there is a simple report documenting the day’s profit, customer satisfaction, and the shop’s reputation. The profit can be spent on upgrades that improve the store, their individual working capability, and aesthetics.
However, it’s important to note that while the upgrades are all straightforward improvements to the store, they all have different impacts on the workflow of our two protagonists, as well as how to manage resources. One notable section of upgrades is the addition of vegetables to the menu, such as onions or potatoes. Having a wider selection of ingredients increases the quality of available recipes, but the greenhouse adds an extra layer of responsibility to Percival, who would otherwise just be relegated to stabbing and stitching duties. Additionally, greenhouse crops require fertilizer, which is made from the dead bodies that Hildred needs to chop up into meat pies.
A little too short and missing some polish to become a truly complete game
While the gameplay and core identity of Ravenous Devils is fairly strong, there are just a few aspects that feel a bit lacking.
Certain elements of the UI definitely could have used a lot more polish. The recipe book is very well designed and full of character, but the graphics for it were extremely low res. Many menu options and buttons looked clean but very simplistic.
While the overall writing was decent, the story in Ravenous Devils felt a bit too straightforward and perhaps reached its conclusion a little too quickly. It’s padded a bit with some interesting side stories and characters but ultimately left me wishing for just a bit more. The writing style also contains some very inconsistent grammar. Whether it may or may not have been a stylistic choice to portray their speech in a certain manner, it just gives off the appearance of being sloppy.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
The developer, Bad Vice Games, has announced their intention to continue supporting Ravenous Devils for the time being. An Endless mode is on the way that will see Percival and Hildred free to continue to slay and cook indefinitely. There will also be added additional localization. The game currently supports English, Italian, Simplified Chinese, and Russian, and will soon, be adding Spanish, French, Korean, Japanese, and Turkish.