Ludum Dare 29 — April 25th-28th Weekend — Theme: Beneath the Surface

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Bistro Cafard

by VividReality - Jam Entry

Bistro Cafard is a restaurant simulator inspired by Papers Please and Cooking Mama, where you play chef Cafard. He aims to get 3 Michelin stars for his bistro. You have to cook meals with a special kind of ingredient. Without spoiling too much fun, we'll just say that underneath the surface, some things are not quite what it seems.

Run source in Love Framework, which works in Windows, Linux, and OS/X. Get it from

If you want to take a look inside the source and or content, rename the extension ".love" to ".zip" and open it in your favorite archive manager.

Genre: Strategy / Simulation

Q: Controls?
A: The game is played with the mouse, the only button you need is the left button. Also, you might want to start with clicking on the book in the bottom left. Don't worry, the game is paused when you have the book open.

Q: I placed all ingredients on the middle of the cutting board but nothing happens!
A: Are you sure that you either fried or boiled the ingredients where necessary? Notice the difference between "eggs" and "boiled eggs" for instance! The former needs to be used raw, the latter needs to be boiled first! Also, the hitbox of the cutting board is too small, we had a smaller cutting board in an earlier stage of the game, but we never edited the hitbox, please take this into account and check if the ingredients are really in the middle of the cutting board.

Q: How do I serve food?
A: Drag and drop the dish to the table where it is needed.

Q: Why aren't there more recipes/ingredients?
A: We had more content in mind, but we struggled with the deadline. If you like the concept, but want more content, follow the gamejolt profile as we will add more content in the post-compo version!

Q: Why is the garden scene so boring / Does it do anything at all?
A: We had a a more challenging scene in mind, but we had too many features to complete everything before the deadline, and we had to make priorities on what to make fun. The animals you shoot however, are added to your inventory in the refridgerator.

Q: What happens when the refridgerator says 0 for an item? I can still get it!
A: Maybe you notice that you have to pay for items that aren't in your refridgerator, and you don't have to pay for items that are in your inventory. So when an item has a value higher than 0, it's free.

Every question asked and covered in the FAQ will also be covered in the post-compo version in a tutorial or more descriptive introduction in the handbook. We're still thinking about the best approach for this.

Downloads and Links




mr_tag says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:27am

Nice graphics and sound. Hilarious twist. I was able to fry eggs, the rat and cook noodles. But i'm not able to prepare any meals. How do i compose the dishes?

VividReality says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:30am

You make the dishes by putting the ingredients together on the center of your cutting board. If you want to know what ingredients to use, try to take a look in the handbook to the left of your screen with the pointing green arrow! There should be more information there that might be of help, it includes an explanation on the game, and all recipes!

Enjoy :)

colludium says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:31am

Very polished graphics and game play.

Jeasonfire says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:39am

Little bit confusing but good graphics, music and sound effects. I played around but didn't get any meals done :( Main problem in that was that the font was really hard to read.

berareu says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 12:07pm

It took a while to figure out how it works but I can make all the dishes I want now! It's very graphic :)

Penguincat says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:20pm

Fun concept, though I don't recommend playing it while eating! The instructions could have been more verbose to explain the mechanics better, and the after-hours minigame doesn't have much to it beyond the initial humor so it could be made shorter, but otherwise it was very well put together. Nice work!

kbm says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:40pm

Really good graphics, I liked it a lot! Great idea for game mechanics, as well! Good job!

pancakecity says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:05pm

Oh god, the meat-gathering level after all the meals have been done... really funny!!! This game could get away with a faster pace. Great job!

VividReality says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:41pm

Thanks for all the nice comments :) We will make a post-ludum version taking in consideration all the tips we get :).

andymar says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:51pm

Impressive. Really good graphics, gameplay and concept. I used Love too!

andymar says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:10pm

Impressive. Really good graphics, gameplay, concept and music. And hey, I used Love too!

blahoink says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:18pm

pretty funny and messed up though i wish there was more to it.

TijmenTio says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:21pm

I can't seem to compose my dishes even when i fried and boiled everything that needs to be fried and boiled and put it in the middle of the cutting board.. But nice graphics, cool game!

RyotaRaven55 says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 9:01pm

This was a lot of fun to play! though a little confusing. Overall I really enjoyed playing it good job :D

josefnpat says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:36pm

Haha, this is fantastic! Great job guys!

Sometimes it was hard to place items on the board and get it to work, but otherwise solid!

I found I could also pre-prepare dishes. Perhaps have a limit to how many items you can have on the table?

Also, it might be nice to introduce new menu items every round!


JavadocMD says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 3:12am

A great twist on the classic restaurant formula. I like the hunting sequence idea! Execution could have been better as the gameplay was a bit confusing, but that's hard to fault with all this beautiful art.

VividReality says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 12:24pm

josefnpat: We experienced a severe case of Too Many Features. That's why we didn't have the time to complete everything, thus the garden scene is a bit boring, and the variaty in meals is low.

Nonetheless we felt like it was playable, and not to forget fun! We will work on the post-ludum version and add everything we wanted in this version :)

Solifuge says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 7:18pm

Hi, this is Vector from the Victory Garden team! (posting under Solifuge's account)

This is fun, with a nice twist in your night missions! Because of the font you used, I didn't actually notice the numbers showing my available stockpile going down in the fridge until the fourth day or so, so at first I was left wondering: "Why am I shooting these animals? I understand it from a narrative perspective, but not from a gameplay one."

Honestly, this is a brilliant execution of the theme, and a pretty good cooking game to boot. However, there's some stuff I think you could tune to make it a bit better:

1. Why not just have the ingredients gathered on the chopping block become a prepared meal, rather than needing to stack the items together? If there's a worry about incorrectly mixing the meal, well,

2. Most restaurant games have a convention where you can give plates to the wrong customer and waste your work--that might be an appropriate thing to consider.

3. I played for four days or so, with 100% approval rating after the first game, but the difficulty curve never really got tough, and there wasn't a need to cook the beef stroganoff at any point. My expectation was that I'd need to start preparing dishes and ingredients ahead of time in order to be able to serve customer needs, thus possibly making me waste ingredients in an attempt to plan--but the difficulty curve didn't do the thing, and I ended up getting bored in the end since it really wasn't getting any harder.

4. I expected that when my "meat" stores ran out I'd be unable to prepare a dish--instead I just bought cockroaches, apparently. Since I wasn't in any danger of running out of money at any point, this kind of undermined the hunting portion of the game.

Make a full version? I'd love the opportunity to steal vegetables from my neighbors' gardens. Choosing between that and hunting could keep the pacing fresh.

Mman says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 9:17pm

Good ideas, and it definitly fits the theme, though it may have put me off resteraunts for a bit.

teambrookvale says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 10:05am

Haha fun game! Art is cool and I like how it connects to the theme

KirbiKaka says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 10:25am

This game is awesome :DD! I absolutely love your take on the theme, despite how much I gag at the thought of a cockroach salad :b.

One issue I did have with the game was that it did seem to not take my stock into account? I used items despite having 0 in stock, and there didn't seem to be any cost or punishment to it, at least not one I could see.

The instructions were also a little unclear; it took me a while to figure out how to cook things and assemble them. The pacing might have been able to be tweaked a little better as well. Since the game doesn't increase in content, challenge, and difficulty, the game should probably be pretty short.

That said, I loved the graphics in the game. The gameplay itself is very smooth and fun. Also, I have to say that I doubly loved your game when I saw that men sat with men, while women sat with women. I don't know if the situation is necessarily a dating one, but it caught my attention and I appreciated it nonetheless :]! Awesome game!

VividReality says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 10:39am

@KirbiKaka: I added some of your questions to the fag. Thank for playing everyone :).

VividReality says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 10:45am

faq* ... what a weird typo. :(. Especially considering we're indeed feminists who did the idea of men and men / women and women on one table on purpose. Since we don't care about genders and have nothing against homosexuality :)

whilefun says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 1:08pm

This game has so much potential but I couldn't figure out how to finalize and serve the food :( Great music and graphics,and very funny! One feature to make it great: A tutorial/practice level so I can learn to cook and prove my skill before opening the restaurant.

Nichii says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 1:37pm

Nice game, I really wanted to play this game but, I don't know how to make create a 'meal'. I mean, I have followed the instruction well, but I have only created one meal so far! Only if there is indication of what I should do >.>

May 2, 2014 @ 8:15pm

Well it is quite hard to figure out how to cook a meal, but it is a really nie game! Very nice music & sounds! well done!

CiderPunk says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 10:07pm

very cool, has a lot of potential with some more varied recopies!

xdegtyarev says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 2:12pm

Really great game.

Shivur says ...
May 9, 2014 @ 1:31am

The best game I've played so far. All 5 stars.

foolmoron says ...
May 18, 2014 @ 9:10pm

AMAZING use of the theme. Great graphics, sound, humor, everything. I couldn't ever manage to make a carbonara though... I could make the others fine.

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