Have you ever thought about what a Super Smash Bros and Mario Party fusion would look like? How about with a different assortment of cakes as main characters? No? Well, the creators at High Tea Frog thought this was a grand idea, and Cake Bash was born. This is a party game unlike anything else, and it is pure fun and silliness each and every round.
But does Cake Bash hit that sweet spot in the party game mix? Or are these cakes stale and destined for the garbage bin? Let’s pop these babies into the oven and find out! (Thanks to Chris Z, Chelly Beardsmore, and Peterdea for playing the game with me and helping with this review!)
Cake Bash is a treat. Yeah. I went there. This is such a cute game, and it is honestly difficult to not smile while playing. Everything from the title menu to the sweets themes to the constant use of bakery puns had us giggling as we beat the living sprinkles off one another.
The game is basically a Mario Party-like game where you play through an assortment of delicious mini games trying to earn the most coins that you then spend during the various Topping Shopping rounds to try and pretty up your cake to the request of a patron. Customers will request themes of gummy, chocolate, cute, and wedding, for example, and it is your mission to decorate yourself with the best toppings you can for that theme.
One thing that makes this incredibly similar to Mario Party is how easily someone from the back end can win the game on luck, which is a great element to have in a party game. Since the main goal of a game is to decorate yourself, winning all the mini games does not necessarily mean you will win the game. Buying the best toppings and combining each of the toppings is what is most important in the end game. For example, if you buy one Chocoheart, it is 10 points, but if you buy three Chocohearts over the course of a game, it will become a Chocoholic, which is worth 50 points. Getting those combos are the game changer.
But beware of the gacha game. It may be cheaper than buying toppings off the table, but you risk the chance of obtaining stinky cheese or rotten fish that needs to be disposed of for two coins or else you will lose lots of points in the end game.
Now, the other game I compared it to was Super Smash Bros, and that is because this is a combat game in the midst of a party game. The Bash rounds in Cake Bash (I mean, it is in the name) tasks players with beating each other up as you collect the most sprinkles, throw the most fruit into the pie, or open the most fortune cookies within the allotted time, just to name a few.
In combat, you are able to do a couple fun things: you can attack with a standard punch/kick; you can hold down Y for a powerful uppercut (A high risk/high reward move); and you can pick up items like lollipops to swing like bats or chocolate balls to throw like bombs. It is all cute fun, and it is hilarious seeing these adorable and delicious-looking cakes show aggressiveness as they whale each other.
Combining these two elements together is a chaotic and genuinely great time, and it is made even more fun by the inclusion of a story-esque approach of a customer asking for a very specific treat and watching everyone battle it out to be bought by that customer.
The mini games themselves are mixed and varied, but we all agreed that we wish there were more. That is not necessarily a negative criticism, but we love the game so much that we wish there were more things to do. Outside of the Bash rounds, Cake Bash boasts eight other mini games that are all fantastic and are usually the highlights of the rounds. Games like Fork Knife, a pun of Fortnite, tasks players with avoiding spearing forks and knives flying around the small cake you are standing on, and Wasp Attack sees you and your opponents swatting wasps flying by. These absurdly funny ideas are a blast, and they truly left us wanting more.
Another nice thing about the game is how accessible it is. My 9-year-old son joined a game with Chris Z, Peterdea, and me, and he was not only holding his own, but he was beating us. This is because the controls for the game are simplistic and easy to teach to new players. Some may be turned off by the basic controls, but for a party game, it is the perfect level that makes it fair for everyone.
The game’s online infrastructure during review time was amazing. I played games with people in California, Australia, and UK, and there was barely any lag if any at all. On top of that, CAKE BASH BOASTS AN INVITE BUTTON FOR YOUR FRIENDS. I know that is a basic feature outside of Nintendo consoles, but for the Switch, it was so refreshing to finally play matches with friends without having to jump through hoops. Matchcaking (Matchmaking) also works really well, and there are a lot of options for online play (e.g. 2 locally, 1 friend invite, and 1 from Matchcake).
The artstyle and characters are just plain awesome. I love the combination of realism and cartoony drawings that immediately set the tone. There are seven types of cakes to choose from, and you will initially have access to four skins for each dessert. During normal gameplay (And sometimes excellent gameplay), you will unlock even more skins (Two per dessert type), and I have to say, the names of each cake are a riot. They usually have rhyming patterns, but then you will come by Fancy, Pancy, Brancy, and Clyde (A lovely Pac Man reference) just to throw things off.
The music and sound effects throughout Cake Bash are bright and fun, matching the style and tone of the game perfectly. From the Looney Toon jumping sounds to the Kung Fu punch and kicks to the plopping of eggs and bird poop on a stage, everything about the game screams comedy and joy, and like I said earlier, it is hard not to smile while playing.
Probably the biggest complaint I have has to do with the nature of being a party game. You are able to play locally, play online, and with friends and randoms, but if none of those are available, Cake Bash does have bots… and boy are they tough. There were too many rounds where the bots were so on fire that it was impossible to catch up with them. Also, because of their AI nature, they buy toppings so quickly that it can actually be distracting.
Because of this, Cake Bash is absolutely at its best when played with actual players, especially with family and friends. Since the Switch is a hybrid device, it is hard to imagine a lot of people playing this game on the go with bots. Like Mario Party, this is a game that is best served in a particular way.
The game is fun, hilarious, and somewhat chaotic, and it makes for an experience all its own. Hopefully we will see a healthy stream of updates that add to the game and give players reason to keep coming back for more. It may not offer a whole lot to solo players, but for those looking for the next entertaining party game to play with friends and family, Cake Bash is warm right out of the oven, scrumptious, and ready to be devoured.
Cake Bash Review provided by NintendoLink
Review also available on OpenCritic
Developer: High Tea Frog
Publisher: Coatsink Software
Release Date: November 19, 2020
Price: $19.99, £17.99, €19.99
Game Size: 1.2 GB
Delicious graphics and characters
Tasty sounds and music
Mouthwatering mini games
Need more mini games and stages!
Not enjoyable solo
What's Your Reaction?
My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.