While managing a restaurant could be fun, everything is a notch too slow.
Kairosoft are the champions of the Japanese simulation games. If you're looking for something specific in their catalogue, they likely already made it. This developer has created a format that works and will almost force you to play through their games out of habit. Cafeteria Nipponica is no different in those respects as it follows the task of building up a restaurant. You choose from various menus, and then you're off putting together your empire. Does it stand out from anything else the studio has done? Not really.
Honestly, the problem isn't the gameplay in itself. You, as the silent observer, will need to deck out your restaurant to make it better. The journey will see you placing tables, adding new menu items, and doing more small tasks to expand. You will need to keep the financial picture in check, too, but once the money starts rolling in, you can make plans any way you desire. It works quite soundly with buttons or the touchscreen. While I thought that Cafeteria Nipponica is good, it is unmistakingly like Kairosoft’s other simulation games.
Cafeteria Nipponica does do a few unique things to keep the action flowing. As you have to deal with customers directly, you get certain types coming through the door. They each require a different approach, and will force you to pay attention. In addition, you will have to improve your recipes and ensure that all types of customers can be served. This becomes critical towards the end of the experience as high profile people will enter and want to sit in your restaurant. It always kept me engaged, ensuring that I knew where the game was eventually heading.
For most of the play time, you will sit and wait around for events to occur. Cafeteria Nipponica is a slow burn, and you will start to feel it after while. Sometimes the game doesn't give you anything to do or shoot for, so you will be waiting to be served the next slice of gameplay. When the game does engage you, it clearly deserves a thumbs up for its various systems. When the title leaves you hanging, it feels like you're wasting time. There isn't a real inbetween there.
Cafeteria Nipponica is just fine. The game was able to pull me in multiple times, but also created way more dead air than I was good with. It does some unique things like improving recipes and concerning yourself with customers directly, but it follows that familiar template that Kairosoft managed to create.