Kitchen Scramble App: Pittsburger (Part 1)

Kitchen Scramble is a game that was originally created by Playdom.  Long story short, Playdom decided on April 20, 2014, to make Kitchen Scramble unavailable on their website.  I hadn’t gotten too far through the game, so this was disappointing.

Sometime after that, RockYou bought Kitchen Scramble.  You can download the Kitchen Scramble app for free.  The RockYou version greatly limits the amount of assistance that players can give to one another (in comparison to how easy that was when the game was on the Playdom website.)

I decided to give Kitchen Scramble another try, with the same goal as before: to get 3 stars in every level.

The RockYou version of Kitchen Scramble looks and feels a lot like the original Playdom version of the game. Players start out in Pittsburger.  The game is a “time management” game.  Your character runs a food truck and serves virtual food to customers.

This is what the loading screen looks like.

The start of the game functions like a tutorial.  Players can easily follow along and learn how to play the game.  There is a little bit of story line to this game that is presented as the game goes on.

Chef Crisp: Welcome to your new food truck, Pepper! Bringing fresh, healthy food to people around the world is a wonderful dream.  I see a marvelous future ahead of you.

Right away, the player learns that her character is named Pepper, and that Pepper is the owner of a food truck.  If I remember correctly, the Playdom version of Kitchen Scramble started with a story that set up a rivalry between Pepper (who uses fresh food) and another character that uses unhealthy ingredients.  That little story has does not appear in the app version.

Pepper: Thanks, Chef Crisp!  I couldn’t have done it without your help!  I’m ready to get started.

The first thing that players learn is how to cook a simple recipe.  Each town has a set of unique recipes.  (Some towns have a combination of recipes from other towns).

Chef Crisp: Here’s your first customer.  Looks like he wants a fried egg.

Chef Crisp: First, you’re going to need an egg.

Players must get an egg from the refrigerator.  Next, place the egg into the frying pan and let it cook.  Make sure to remove it before it burns.  Give the finished food to the customer who asked for it.  This is basically the process involved in making recipes in Kitchen Scramble (but some recipes require several ingredients and some extra steps.)

Chef Crisp: Nicely done!  Now you can collect payment.  Fast service results in more coins!

Players need coins because they are required to purchase appliances and other kitchen items when they first arrive in a new town.  It is also possible to use coins to purchase some (but not all) premium items.  Food made with premium items results in more coins than if the same item was made with regular ingredients.

 Chef Crisp: The Roadmap will help guide you in your quest to become the ultimate chef.

This is a fancy way of saying that a player must work their way through each level before they can move ahead to the next one.  Players must get at least 1 star in a level in order to pass.  You can play any level as many times as you want to – until you run out of Supplies.  I like to try and earn 3 stars in every level.

Chef Crisp: Ready to start the next shift?

I had completed Level 1, and was ready to start Level 2.  The tutorial continues into Level 2 of Pittsburger.

Chef Crisp: Looks like we need an oven for some new recipes!

OvenLow-voltage electric oven.  It gets the job done…eventually.

Here is the first example of Kitchen Scramble requiring players to purchase an appliance in order to continue to make progress in the game.  The required appliances cost a certain amount of gold.  If you don’t have enough gold – you can’t advance.  (If you do not have enough gold to buy the required item, play the previous levels, over and over again, until you earn enough gold to buy it.)

There are also better appliances that cost Kitchen Cash.  Players are not required to buy them, but they would probably help more than the appliances that can be purchased with in-game coins.  The Kitchen Cash is a currency that players can buy with real-world money.

Chef Crisp: In the market, we can get new appliances and upgrades.  Let’s pick up a new oven.

As you can see, the required oven costs 50 gold.  It is an amount that players are able to earn by playing through Level 1 of Kitchen Scramble.

Chef Crisp: You can get a jump on the first customer by frying an egg.  You know the steps.

Players are encouraged to start making a fried egg, because the customer in Level 1 wants one.  Making a food before the customers arrive is a gamble.  If the right customer appears, then you can just give that customer the food.  If a customer asks for something else – then you might have to wait for the food you started cooking to finish before starting on what that customer wanted.

Chef Crisp: That student wants a baked potato.

The baked potato recipe requires an oven.  This is why players were required to buy the oven before starting Level 2.  The oven is used to make plenty of other recipes, too.

Chef Crisp: Tap the recipe book to see the recipe steps.

If you didn’t play Kitchen Scramble when it was on the Playdom website, then you don’t know how to make the baked potato.  Some recipes are obvious, and match up with how you would make it in the real world.  Other recipes are not so intuitive.

The purpose of this part of the tutorial is to teach the player that he or she can take a look at the recipe book whenever they get stuck and can’t remember how to make a certain recipe.

It is also possible to practice recipes before starting a level (so you can get the hang of newly added recipes).  Fun fact: If you practice a recipe – the student will be your customer – no matter what that recipe happens to be.

Chef Crisp: First, a potato will be required.  

The above screenshot shows what the recipe book looks like when you open it.  Off to the side is a column of recipes that customers might ask for in whatever Level you happen to be on.  It won’t show you recipes that customers aren’t going to ask for.

As you can see the potato goes into the oven.  Then you wait.  When it is finished, it comes out looking like a fully dressed baked potato.  Give that to the customer who asked for it.

I earned 3 stars on Pittsburger Level 2.  Players can earn Kitchen Cash by completing this level.  Players get one Token for each star they earn in a particular Level.  (You will need those Tokens later).

Pepper: Check out these gorgeous organic veggies!  Fresh from Pittsburger Farms!

Chef Crisp: Cooking with local ingredients is key.  In fact, I heard a local reporter is doing a story about that.  Keep an eye out for her!

Before you can start Level 3, a pop-up appears that tells players to connect with Facebook for a bonus.  The bonus is 500 coins.  I do not use Facebook (because I don’t like it) so I clicked the “No Thanks” button.  I have no idea what happens if players decide to Log In to Facebook to get the bonus.

Players are required to buy a Chop Board from the in-game Kitchen Scramble Market before they can play Level 3.  It can be purchased with coins.  I don’t remember how many coins it costs.

Chop Board – It slices, it dices!

I earned 3 stars in Pittsburger Level 3.  I got 3 Tokens and 3 premium baked potatoes.

Chef Crisp: You’re cookin’ now! Ready to learn something new?

 Chef Crisp: These are your premium ingredients.  They’ll make your dishes earn more coins.

Chef Crisp: Let’s use the premium potato.

Chef Crisp: Great! Now let’s cook!

Every Level in Kitchen Scramble costs 10 Supplies.  That means each time you want to play a Level, you use up 10 Supplies.  What happens when you run out of Supplies?  You have to stop playing and wait for the Supplies to automatically replenish.  My best guess is that the Supplies replenish in about an hour or so.

Pepper: Our premium potato is glistening!  I can’t wait to try it out!

Pepper’s bizarre comment is referring to how the game indicates that an ingredient is premium.  At the start of each level, the game highlights the premium ingredients by putting them in the center of the screen.  If I remember correctly, the premium ingredients get sparkly.

Chef Crisp: Any potato dishes you make will receive bonus coins.  Good luck!

The point of this part of the tutorial is to encourage players to use premium ingredients as often as they can.  There are several ways to get them.  You sometimes can earn them by completing a level for the first time.  Some premium ingredients can be purchased with coins.  When I started playing the Kitchen Scramble app, it was possible to ask other players to send you premium ingredients (and to send some back to them).

I think there are some premium ingredients that can be purchased with Kitchen Cash, too.

Chef Crisp: You earned some extra coins on those potato dishes.  Don’t be shy about using premium ingredients, they can really help!

I have noticed that using premium ingredients causes customers to pay more than usual for a food.  Usually, they leave you a few coins.  If the food had premium ingredients, they leave you a large stack of coins.  It does help.

That being said, encouraging the players to purchase premium ingredients is one way that RockYou can make money off the Kitchen Scramble app.  Some ingredients require in-game purchases that, long story short, require players to spend real-world money on in-game items.  So far, I haven’t felt the need to do that.

I earned 3 stars in Pittsburger Level 4.  I got 10 Supplies and 3 Tokens.

PotThe plainest pot offered.  Slow and steady.

Players are required to purchase a Pot before they can move on to Level 5.  This is the third item that players have to buy in Pittsburger.  Fortunately, this item costs gold.  By this point, players should have enough gold to buy it.

I earned 3 stars in Pittsburger Level 5.  I got 30 Supplies and 3 Tokens.

Chef Crisp: You’ve unlocked Practice Mode!  Just in time, these recipes are getting pretty hard!

Chef Crisp: Let’s try practicing the newest recipe now.

Chef Crisp: You can practice old or new recipes.  Follow the recipe in the recipe book to practice making Home Fries!

The player doesn’t unlock Practice Mode until right before Level 6.  The tutorial already explained the basics about how to use Practice Mode.  I think this part is trying to let players know that they can pick from several recipes when they open the recipe book.  No matter which one you select, the student will be your customer in Practice Mode.

Great!  You made: Home Fries

I earned 3 stars in Pittsburger Level 6.  I got 3 premium eggs and 3 Tokens.

Reporter:  Well,  I’m happy to report that your food is much fresher than your competition at the Capers Cuisine Truck.

Pepper:  Candace is known for her speed, not quality.

Reporter: I’ll say.  The number of upset stomachs reported in Pittsburger has increased since the arrival of Candace’s food truck.

Pepper:  Hmm, could be a case of pre-cooked food loaded with preservatives…

Kitchen Scramble emphasizes that people should eat healthy foods, including fresh vegetables.  Earlier, Pepper was showing Chef Crisp fresh vegetables from Pittsburger Farms.  Now, Pepper’s rival food truck owner, Candace, is making people sick by serving them pre-cooked (hint: not fresh) food that is “loaded with preservatives.”

This view is better than if Kitchen Scramble was extolling the virtues of salty, pre-cooked, fast food, I suppose.  It doesn’t leave room for a fast food chain to push it’s logo into the game.

MixerA standard mixer and food processor, slow but functional.

Players are required to purchase a Mixer before they can start Level 7.  It is the fourth item that players are required to buy.  When I got to this point in the game, I was starting to become leery of the required purchases.  So far, all of the required items could be purchases with in-game gold.  I worried that eventually the required purchase would cost real-world money.

I took this screenshot right as I was finishing Level 7.  You can see the four required purchases in the food truck: oven, chop board, pot, and mixer.  The food truck is getting full!

I earned 3 stars in Pittsburger Level 7.  I got 10 Supplies and 3 Tokens.

The Reporter wants a salad…. this time.

I earned 3 stars in Pittsburger Level 8.  I got 3 premium hamburger patties and 3 Tokens.

Chef Crisp: Cooking like the can be tough, but maybe I can help with that.  Check here to watch some videos!

Chef Crisp: You can watch videos for fantastic rewards!

Chef Crisp: Make sure to complete the whole video so that you get your prize!  Go ahead and try one now.  I’ll even through in extra bonus cash.

I recommend that you watch videos for “fantastic rewards” when you get the opportunity.  All you have to do is sit through a short video ad – and then you get a prize.  The screenshot above shows the variety of potential prizes that you could get.  This is one of the ways Kitchen Scramble delivers ads to players.

Congratulations!  You got 1 Kitchen Cash.

Work Board – A reliable combine board.

This is the fifth item that players are required to purchase in Kitchen Scramble – and we aren’t even halfway through the first town yet!  Each required item can be purchased for gold.  So far, I have had more than enough gold to pay for the required items.

I earned 3 stars in Level 9 of Pittsburger.  I got 2 fire extinguishers and 3 Tokens.

Chef Crisp: Great work, Pepper!  Look at all these rewards you’ve been getting!

Chef Crisp: Have you noticed these star tokens?  You earn them whenever you achieve a new star mastery on any level.

Pepper: I have a feeling you’ll tell me what I can use these for very soon!

Chef Crisp: Correct!  Looks like we’ve arrived at a token gate!

Pepper: Ah! So token gates accept star tokens!

Chef Crisp: Yep!  And not only can you earn star tokens for star mastery, you can earn them through location goals!

Chef Crisp: Tap on Tasks to open the location goals!

Chef Crisp: Accomplish any of these goals in Pittsburger and earn some extra star tokens.

Chef Crisp: The more star tokens you get, the more cooking you’ll be able to do!

By the time I reached this point in Kitchen Scramble, I had earned 3 stars in every Level of Pittsburger (Levels 1-9).  I had also started on some of the Location Goals.  To earn them, you just keep playing until you complete all three tasks.  I like to finish the Location Goals before moving to a new town.

The majority of the tutorial portion of Kitchen Scramble ends by the time players complete the first half of Pittsburger.  There are some quick tutorials in upcoming towns that explain how to do something new.  If you played Kitchen Scramble this far – you have a pretty good idea of how the game works and what you need to do.

There is a second part of Pittsburger after the Token Gate.  I will put details about the second half of Pittsburger in my next Kitchen Scramble blog.

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