Lost Recipes (VR) Review

Lost Recipes (VR) Review 1
Lost Recipes (VR) Review 1

Lost Recipes is a return to form for Schell Games. Its history of making funducational games is boiled down to a refined taste. VR experiences from I Expect You to Die are chopped into satisfying bite-sized levels of cooking. Lost Recipe wants players to relax. Which accomplishes it enough in a short, but sweet serving of authentic foods.

Schell Games manages to keep Lost Recipes fun enough for players to own their kitchens. While silky smooth VR mechanics connect your hands to every object with (most) ease. Bowls, knives, mortars, pestels and pans carry lots of dexterity. Players can easily manipulate meats, herbs, dough and liquids naturally without question. VR opens up the cooking genre with direct immersion. Lost Recipes even lets players grab onto tables and adjust themselves for a comfy workspace. The game immediately connects with players in a highly accessible environment.

Lost Recipes (VR) Review

Lost Recipes only pulls players deeper across nine levels. Schell Games plays it a tad safe by focusing on three cultures (Greek, Chinese and Yucatan Mayan). But each is also detailed with their own kitchens. A sunny and stoic disposition was felt in Lost Recipe’s opening level in Ancient Greece. The game was enough to whisk me away through history with a neat detail in every kitchen. Its Mayan kitchen was the most unique in using its environment to help prepare dishes.

But how does the game fare with nine curated recipes? Schell Games does away with less levels, but bigger quality in each one. Early Greek renditions of Loukoumades are hardly lost in time with modern recipes. But new players are taken through each step with a clear separation of ingredients. This creates an authenticity in other recipes, like a traditional Chinese steamed fish. Players pour a carefully simmered blend of wine, soy and sesame (just as mom would). Mayan Xocolati brings players into an early chapter for hot chocolate. The recipe comes complete with crushing roasted cacao. Then adding the paste into a boiling mix of chilli and vanilla.

Lost Recipes (VR) Review

I felt connected to the Zhou Dynasty era setting in its Chinese recipes. Here, its indoor setting was brought to life by a unique ghost. Lost Recipes follows a loose storyline of serving these entities, grounded in history with fun facts. It’s a creative way of pointing players in the right direction. Players are welcomed by each ghost without any conflict or stress. As the Chinese ghost spoke in Cantonese and some Mandarin, I felt whisked back into my childhood. A few players might connect with Lost Recipes through the warm presence of each ghost. All remind us of someone in our own ways.

“That’s a certain effect Lost Recipes brings to VR as players work along each recipe.”

That’s a certain effect Lost Recipes brings to VR as players work along each recipe. Its ghosts neatly fill in an educational presence by explaining tools, terminology and the science of mixing different ingredients together. This is optional as players can blow through the step-by-step guide. The result turns each kitchen into a sandbox for meal ideas.

There isn’t really much of a bar for Lost Recipes to reach in VR cooking titles. Only because Schell Games redefines VR cooking by eliminating any wackiness. Players are working with real recipes that can serve as a handy guide for special dinners.

Lost Recipes (VR) Review

The physics in Lost Recipes is still a work in progress. There’s a slight satisfaction in cutting ingredients with a knife. Even if diced pork comes out in a programmed shape for perfect results every time. I appreciated details like using my knife to push veggies in a bowl. But I was disappointed in not having a direct touch with my VR hands. In other words, Lost Recipes doesn’t let you brush things away with your hands. Only grab and drop. The game would benefit from The Meta Quest 2’s hand tracking, which should have been included sooner than later.

Other gripes included jittery, two-dimensional animations with liquids. Along with a poor habit of selecting the wrong item (in close proximity to other things). These can be remedied with updates, but took away from my experience near launch. Lost Recipes attempts to feature replayability through a five-star system. Players can also read feedback from each ghost about adding too much or too little of anything. Missing textures on ingredients and other environmental objects were also spotted. Adding a few holes to what could have been a polished VR romp.

Lost Recipes (VR) Review 5

Lost Recipes is surprisingly light at under half a GB at launch. Schell Games impressively optimizes the game for Meta Quest 2. Despite the efficient size, it’s still one of the shortest games ever made by the studio for VR. The entire game can be beaten in just over an hour. Players taking their time can finish all nine recipes in two hours. Even at a reduced price, there’s still plenty of room for DLC dishes the game needs.

Players diving into Lost Recipes are in for a therapeutic session. Cooking feels less of a chore in VR. Schell Games keeps a tight focus on immersing players in three distinct cultures. Food is celebrated with respect to its source material. As we exclusively covered with the studio, players bring each dish to life from scratch. But ghosts guide players towards learning a real recipe that can be practised endlessly. Lost Recipes feels more like a proof of concept for where VR cooking sims can go. That’s if Schell Games doesn’t hold back on where it can go for real recipes and give players more time in the kitchen.