Bakery Simulator


Bakery Simulator: A Mixed Bag (uette) of Fun and Pain (but not Au Chocolat)


The strangely enjoyable Electrician Simulator attracted me to Bakery Simulator, a game that tries to capture the essence of a baker's job, offering players a chance to run their own virtual bakery. The game starts promisingly, with a blank slate allowing for creativity and growth. Players can feel the initial delight of measuring ingredients, mixing dough, and baking bread to perfection. The game’s tutorial is helpful, and the ability to pin recipes to the screen is a nice touch, making the baking process straightforward and accessible. Adding spices that aren't in the recipe can earn you a bonus, but the wrong spice can cost you a penalty, so don't get too weird or adventurous.

However, the game quickly reveals its limitations. The mini-games, which include tasks like cutting dough into portions and matching shapes to simulate kneading the dough, are more tedious than entertaining. They lack the fun factor that could have made them a key part of the gameplay, and require more patience than actual skill, with some controls that can be frustrating. 

Visually the game is smooth enough but some textures seem to be missing from certain machines (the Rounder Divider, Flour Silo, Liquids Dispenser and the Doughnut Machine) which, while not affecting their functionality, spoils the overall look and the overall experience feels lacklustre. Despite a quick update search and re-install, these textures were still absent on our Xbox Series X and S and later we even found one of the customisable floor textures to be missing! The ability to redesign the layout of your bakery would have been a nice touch, but changing the wall and floor textures and the design of some fixtures are the only options.

Some beautifully baked pretzels!

The variety of baked goods is also initially underwhelming, with a menu that doesn’t venture far beyond basic buns, loaves and baguettes. This simplicity might appeal to some, but it doesn’t do much to keep the gameplay engaging. You have to slog away for some time to unlock new varieties as the level progression system introduces new elements as you advance, but the addition of muffins or doughnuts does little to change the repetitive nature, and the automation of tasks eventually leaves players with little to do other than take on more and more orders every day. I actually used to work in a service industry and visited several different bakeries, and some NPC staff would have been a good idea, my bakery is the loneliest one I've ever seen.

All the spices...

Progression also unlocks bigger and better bakeries and room for new equipment, like an industrial liquid dispenser, mixer and oven. It's disappointing that the "Create New” profile option is greyed out, because it would have been nice to have an experimental profile to mess around on. It would have been interesting to see if taking out a loan in order to advance (buy better equipment) more quickly was a good idea without committing your main profile and what was probably a lot of hard work to a financial gamble/experiment. A loan will definitely help you out if you run low on funds, but much like real life, unless you intend to do a bunk then you should pay it back ASAP. After initial help, tutorials also disappear altogether, so having a second profile to practise recipes and new machines’ functions with, would have been helpful too… 

We made the delivery driving fun by drifting around the corners...

One aspect of the game that could have added an interesting dimension is the delivery system. Unfortunately, the driving mechanics are poorly executed, with a top-down perspective that doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the game’s first-person viewpoint. I wondered why it didn't have the third-person "chase" camera that the PC version has, but seeing how that runs I now know why they removed it. The cityscape is rather lifeless apart from a few cars and cops causing annoying roadblocks–I'm not sure who thought they were a good idea but I'll bet Kevin Magnussen is their favourite F1 driver. 

The driving itself is rather unenjoyable, with twitchy steering and the worst brakes I've ever come across in all my years of playing driving games. The left trigger slows you down but is also reverse, so using the brakes makes sense when trying to stop accurately on the delivery points. I did, however, discover that the brakes (mapped to the 'B' button) are in fact a handbrake, and induce a pleasing slide if tapped while turning and hairy handbrake turns if required… This was a bit of a game changer as suddenly drifting the Bakery delivery van around corners like "Vincent Turetto finally got an honest job" was great fun–for a while at least.  If you hate the driving you can pay to have your products delivered but initially they're not 100% reliable and cost you more than just a delivery charge.

In conclusion, Bakery Simulator is a game that might attract those who enjoy a laid-back, uncomplicated gaming experience. However, for players seeking a rich and engaging simulation, it may fall short. The game’s blandness and lack of variety, coupled with frustrating controls, glitchy machines (I managed to get the oven's trolley jammed inside it!) and extremely repetitive gameplay, make it a less-than-ideal choice for fans of the simulation genre, and the profession/occupation sub-genre in particular. This sort of sim obviously originated on PC and is optimised for mouse control, so some manoeuvres are always going to be a struggle with a controller.

This review is based on input and various critiques and player feedback from Gamecell staff and friends, so it provides a balanced overview of what you can expect from Bakery Simulator. Whether it’s the right game for you will depend on what you’re looking for in a simulation experience, and how “serious" you want your simulations to be. Somehow Bakery Simulator managed to entertain, amuse, frustrate and bore me in equal measure. The ability to “throw stuff” when in a hurry is fun and probably a realistic action for a lot of people (think: Gordon Ramsay). I have no idea who tidies and cleans the place up at the end of every day, but they do a cracking job!

The price for Bakery Simulator is only £14.24, and that's not a lot of dough, but oh those missing textures, glitchy machines and fiddly controls...

Many thanks to Gaming Factory and PressEngine for the review code.