This cozy cooking platformer is so sweet that I went back for seconds of the demo

I was having such a good time with the demo for Magical Delicacy that I said “aw…” out loud when I realized I’d completed it. It’s a “Metroidvania-inspired wholesome cooking game” where you’re also a witch, because why not? You can play the hour-ish long demo yourself until February 12 as part of this week’s Steam Next Fest.

Magical Delicacy begins when young witch Flora arrives in the harbor town Grat with plans to strike out on her own and seek out some magical masters. The town secretary, a bespectacled old frog, bestows upon her a generous business loan at the low low price of no down payment or interest on an almost abandoned storefront. The previous tenant is still squatting there, so we agree to be roommates of course, and Flora is the kind of witch who knows how to brew up a good pot of stew, among other things, so she’s got a plan to make some cash for the repayment schedule on this place.

After a quick visit to the blacksmith to buy some new cooking stations, I can edit the layout of Flora’s store to add in my new cutting board and mortar and pestle stations, which will let me cook salads and desserts and other recipes purchased from a trader. I buy an initial set of ingredients to fulfill quick quest orders—something sweet for the catgirl princess and some meals for the local explorers—but I can also plant certain ingredients in my backyard to harvest. 

Although you don’t get the pleasure of manually crushing and stirring ingredients like in Potion Craft, the cooking system is pleasantly experimental. Some orders specify flavor profiles to include in a dish: spicy, salty, sweet, and so on, and it’s up to me to pick the ingredients that fulfill the recipe while also suiting the taste of my customer. I can go totally off book if I want as well, and though I’ll sometimes wind up with a failed meal, I may also luck myself into a new recipe without buying it. 

(Image credit: Skaule)

Magical Delicacy makes good on its metroidvania claims with a very vertical map full of little shortcuts and secrets. Though I’ve not unlocked any new movement skills yet, the stone markers around town look to be likely targets for some kind of grappling hook ability and doors with levers are sure to be unlockable shortcuts. 

All the while, Grat just scratches that particular itch for exploring a coastal town—stone structures adorned with greenery and charming terraces all around. The entire setting is peak cozy core with the densely detailed pixel art and musical theme of accordions, strings, and fluttering oboe melody.

I got so engrossed in exploring and experimenting that I didn’t realize I was walking into a story beat. Late one night Flora separately stumbles upon two members of opposing witch covens eager to pull her into their own schemes and after that, I get a message that I’ve completed the demo. I was able to keep playing, and totally did, but after just a snack of a couple cooking quests I’m very hungry for more.

Magical Delicacy hasn’t announced a specific release date but is planning to launch sometime in 2024. You can have a taste of the demo yourself on Steam during this week’s Next Fest.

PCGamer.com