Battle Chef Brigade is fantasy Iron Chef

Chef, please!

 Battle Chef Brigade so expertly (one might say, tastefully) blends a number of sensibilities: cooking by way of match-3 puzzling, combat and loot-gathering by way of  Vanillaware brawler, and an anime-by-way-of Adult Swim aesthetic.

In the Pax demo set before me this afternoon, I took charge of Mika, a young lady who wants to be a total badass cook a la Iron Chef. So, in order to make her dreams come true, I ran around beautiful, stylized 2D arenas, beating the crap out of animate plant life and animals that, when beaten, yielded tasty "ingredients."

Inside my house/restaurant, I threw the goods into a giant pot, stirred it up with some match-3 puzzling (different ingredients come with different gem arrangements), and cooked the dish. Naturally, once you get outside of the training area, you get to challenge other, more experienced chefs in duels that rival the pageantry and drama of actual cooking competition shows.

And all of it comes in a delightful American Anime package. "It's fantasy Iron Chef, " Programmer Ben Perez told me. "We took the peanut butter and chocolate of cooking sims and brawlers and put them together." In putting those great tastes together, Perez mentioned that "Odin Sphere and Guardian Heroes -- the older Saturn game -- were big influences." He also noted that the match 3 cooking was born from the fact that "real cooking is hard, and not that fun sometimes!"

Cooking Mama might be pissed, but I tend to agree.