Who needs a diet when you can have your cake and eat it too?! Okay, so maybe you won’t be able to physically consume Cake Laboratory (please don’t bite your Nintendo Switch). But you can bet your sweet tooth you’ll stack those delicious baked goods higher than a type 2 diabetic’s blood pressure! But let’s find out if Cake Laboratory is baked to perfection, or if it leaves you with a tummy ache!
Developer: Square Heads Games
Hours Played: 2 hours // Review Copy Provided // Price: $2.99 USD
In my wildest dreams I’d never thought I’d be good at making cakes. I can’t bake, I’m not that patient, and more than likely half would be eaten before it’s done. But that’s okay! Cake Laboratory brings the fun of cake customization (and stacking), without having to even turn on the oven. What that means is not only is Cake Laboratory safer (since you won’t get burned), it’s a lot more stimulating for the kids too!
Cake Laboratory is an indie title boasting the ability to “build the highest cake in the world!” And they’re not wrong. You’ll play through 50 levels of cake-stacking suspense in hopes of earning the coveted 3-star rating. The more accurately you stack, the better the score! Working quickly is to your advantage as not dropping those baked beauties soon enough will quickly reduce your score as well. Between trying to be both fast and efficient it’s quite literally . . . a balancing act.
If you’ve ever had any skill in the stacker arcade game, then you’ll most likely excel here too! You know the one – the red lights move back and forth and you must slam that big red button to make them stop on top of each other? Well think of that but on a much simpler (and taller) scale. Cakes will vary in size and you must release them from your grip at the correct time in order to make then land perfectly on the one below it. Be careful – if you don’t stack them well enough, your teetering tower will topple!
Catering . . . to Your Audience
The actual act of stacking is overall pretty forgiving. This is by design as Cake Laboratory is meant to cater to a casual, or younger, audience. Even if your edible edifice does happen to fall, the game gives you the option to set them back up to size. It’s at the sacrifice of points off your progress bar, but it’s definitely a helpful tool. As long as you end with the progress bar full, you’ll be sure to pass with flying colors (three stars). That’s the goal anyway!
Speaking of goals, I would say the developers hit their goal of serving up a game that is both family-friendly and slightly addictive. It has lots of positive reinforcement in their messages with words like “Excellent!” or “Perfect!” popping up after successful stacks or creations. It’s bright, colorful, and very animated in nature. Sweet steeple aside, my favorite part had to be the cake customization feature though.
Cake Laboratory wouldn’t be fitting of its name unless you actually experimented! And you can – in the “lab”. Every so often you will unlock new cake stand slots. When you do, you can choose to create a custom cake that will be used in future levels as you stack. You’ll start with the actual cake base, and choose from different tier sizes. You’ll then choose the icing/ frosting. Once those are set, your last option is the topping. There are probably around one hundred different options to choose from! In other words, the possibilities are endless.
Icing on the Cake
As far as the structure of the game, and the premise, everything is very simple and intuitive. Despite having lots of décor options, it’s a relatively basic game. While this isn’t necessarily an issue (as I prefer a functional game to a broken mess), there are some simple suggestions I have to make:
Add more soundtracks and sound effects. After 50 levels, hearing the same/ similar tunes gets old. Also, consider increasing the pitch of the “perfect” stacks if/ when the player completes more than one in succession. Add this with visual effects and it would be awesome! This will make a huge difference in anticipation and build suspense while playing.
The arms should have options too! You see the same pair of gloved hands dropping each cake every time. What if you gave the option to customize this? Or even consider seasonal changes, such as Santa arms for Christmas, or monster arms for Halloween, etc. This seems to be a minor change that would add a small layer of fun and variety.
Change up the backdrop after a set of levels. I think a change in scenery would keep things fresh and new. Every five, or every ten levels even you could switch it up and it would help break up potential monotony.
Add a “challenge mode”. I’d love to see a mode that is a little tougher or offers other specific goals. Something like the arms’ speed increasing, or changing speeds randomly. Create a goal of trying to achieve a specific amount of perfect drops in a row, etc. You could even do random cake drops where until you let go the cake it is constantly changing what size/ style it is. I would love to see that.
In Good Taste
Overall, I think Cake Laboratory has a lot of potential for additional content. I don’t see it catching on as “the next big thing” as is, but I think it offers enough enjoyment to be suitable for kids. It’s a serviceable game at a very reasonable price point – and it runs flawlessly. I can’t criticize it for that. Will it satisfy the taste buds of the self-proclaimed “hardcore” audience? Not at all. Will it keep a smile on your kids’ faces as you take a road trip or try to relax at home? Definitely. It hits its target audience and does so with quality. And that, my friends, is the sweet and simple truth.
Thank you for taking the time to talk treats with me! I hope you found this review delicious and decadent. If you think it hit the sweet spot, please share it! Don’t forget to join Nindie Nexus in our official Discord and Subreddit. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel and throw us a like on Facebook. If you want to sweeten the deal, consider supporting us on Patreon of Ko-fi. Until next time!
Hey! Mikey here. Level 28 gamer. Professional by day and nerd by night. Lover of craft beverages and the iron temple. I’m a supporter of and advocate for Nindie Nexus. I dabble in a little bit of all things creative. My preferred game genres include RPG’s (of all variety), Action/ Adventure, Puzzle/ Platformers, and anything unique . . . Just miss me with those FPS and point and clicks though!
Feel free to contact for business inquiries at Mikey@NindieNexus.net!