The aroma of seasoned meat makes your stomach rumble, and you’ll soon find your restaurant packed with hungry diners. They ate their teeth into the succulent meat, wondering why they had never tasted anything like this before. Rumors of your establishment’s exotic tastes spread quickly, and you’ll soon have to expand your operations with more tables for guests and better slicing. This thriving eatery is attached to a quaint little tailor shop that acts as your meat supplier. Anyone who came in tasted a sharp blade, and their bodies were thrown into the basement, chopped up, and turned into a delicious steak or meat pie.
Devil tells the story of a serial killer seamstress and his loving chef wife, both of whom want to become rich at any cost. The game is unsettling and bloody – you’ll see brutal murders, dismemberment and witness moments of downright chilling story. Part Sweeney Todd and a cooking simulation, the Devil won me over with a story that asked “will they get caught?” and intense timer-based gameplay that constantly rewards you with new abilities and interactions. Developer Bad Vices Games created a dark and cool experience that helps contribute to development, so repetitive in-game interactions don’t feel like they’re welcome for too long.
The creepy cooking game plays out nicely, playing out like an old point and click adventure game where all you do is tell the characters where to go and what to get. Simplicity works, allowing Chef Hildred to take a slab of human flesh, mix it with other ingredients, and then pop it in the oven. Percival, the tailor, could sew clothes, killed people with his scissors, and had a penchant for gardening. With the touch of a button, you can freely switch control between these twisted souls.
The goal is to keep the clothing store and restaurant shelves stocked with items. When people enter either facility, a timer will appear above them and tick while waiting for the item they desire. The faster you give them to them, the more money they give you – an exchange that lights up all your movements, causing you to pay back quickly between the two to secure both Percival and Hildred both work hard. If you don’t get to them in time and they leave disgruntled, your reputation will suffer.
The playing process is divided into several days, each day no more than 10 minutes. This brief hustle and bustle feels just right with an upbeat tempo. None of the hand-to-hand killing missions require a lot of work and they’re all time-based. You don’t want any second of the day wasted. The goal is to save maximum time and figure out how to juggle tasks to take care of every guest. It’s a fun and chaotic dance of cooking and sewing.
At the end of the business day, you lock the door of the shop and it’s time to spend your hard earned money on useful upgrades. You can improve your meat grinder to provide more meat, add more mannequins to sell clothes, and grow new vegetables in the greenhouse. You can also indulge in things like alcohol that soothes the nerves of waiting shoppers, hire assistant waitresses, and even adopt a cat and mouse (which you can turn into a treat).
Most upgrades result in more coins per sale and an increase in overall difficulty – a nice design that increases the tension as well as the reward. For example, adding more ingredients will result in a dish that is more expensive and takes longer to prepare. Adding tables for everyone to sit in creates a backlog of orders that you have to scramble to serve – a fun process that helps time fly.
As simple as moving the cursor, some frustration comes from its precision and timing that can be linked to the next action. Periodically, I would come across moments where I would click on the piece of meat I wanted to serve and then the workstation to put it in. Instead of the meat, Hildred would go to the workstation and get the plate. Just a 15-second mistake is enough to create chaos.
As all the cooking and sewing madness unfolds, you periodically receive letters from a mysterious person named “J.”. He knows what you’re doing and is a huge fan of you. His interest in you becomes more and more unsettling with each material you read. The game’s ending leaves much to be desired, but the narrative journey that builds up is fun to follow and helps me understand the twists and turns, impressed by how carefully it is constructed and details like.
Gore can be too extreme and nauseating at times, but the kind animations, beautiful restaurant, and engaging story kept me going until the very end. The Devil is unlike anything out there, and it won’t be for everyone, but there’s no denying it’s an experience that’s uniquely crafted and strangely enjoyable.