Local multiplayer party games aren’t exactly new for the Nintendo Switch platform, and it’s slowly becoming my home for the genre. Mario Party is the obvious one, but games like Overcooked and Moving Out also feel right at home on Switch. Cake Bash joins that list, providing another incredibly fun party game with a unique visual twist. It’s not exactly a revolution, but Cake Bash‘s varied mini games and cute visual makeup cause it to stand out as another pillar of my party game library.
The premise is pretty simple — choose your cake type and take on up to three other buns in local party game modes. There’s a variety of cakes to choose from: delicious cupcakes, iced donuts, chocolate muffins, and more. Each cake type also has a selection of variants, unlocked by completing certain challenges in either of the game’s main modes. The unlock system adds some depth to the progression, providing a reason to continue cake-bashing all day long.
Baking & decorating
The main “Get Tasty” mode serves as the game’s campaign option. It’s all still multiplayer of course, but here you’ll play several rounds of mini games with the end goal of building the most decorative cake. The format is two rounds of bashing and a round of cake decorating in-between, using the coins you’ve earned during the mini game rounds. This is repeated over three stages until the final winner is decided, and players can vote on what mode and environment to play for each round. It’s a great format where the rounds flow well and the tension ramps up when the closing rounds are played out. I wish that each voting round had more than two options, but the ability to vote in general is a welcome addition.
Then there’s the “Recipe” mode, Cake Bash‘s free play option. Here, you simply choose your cake, your game mode, and decide which arena to battle on from the ones unlocked in Get Tasty mode. This is a solid option for quickly jumping into your favorite mini game, but the way they’re unlocked is somewhat unclear. From what I gather, modes and stages are unlocked in Recipe mode as soon as you’ve played them in Get Tasty mode. However, Get Tasty mode’s mini game choices are randomized, meaning you have no real control over what you’re unlocking. During my playtime, I often replayed the same two or three modes and stages over and over. This meant that while Get Tasty was a blast, Recipe mode fell flat as I needed to grind out the campaign to unlock enough options.
By the campfire
Of the modes that I played and unlocked, most of them were great fun. I particularly enjoyed the mini games that allowed each player to focus on their own task against the clock. For example, Campfire asks you to toast a marshmallow to perfection by holding it over a fire just long enough before it burns. You’re up against three opponents, but the focus on your own task prevents things from getting too chaotic.
Speaking of which, some of the more direct battle modes did get a little too hectic. Mini games like Cookie Bash, where you have to break a bunch of fortune cookies to earn points, quickly devolve into all-out boxing matches. While that sounds fun in theory, these modes can cause you to lose track of your on-screen cake, turning them into button mash-y affairs. I will say that this is helped somewhat by playing in docked mode, where the extra screen real estate is extremely beneficial.
Beyond these two main playlists, it’s all about building out your collection. You can check your overall game progress and what you have and haven’t unlocked. Again, how you unlock more mini games isn’t explicitly explained, but cake skin unlocks are. Usually, they require you to perform a certain mini game task, like toasting three perfect marshmallows in a single Campfire match. These challenges are supplementary to the cake-bashing experience, but they’ll provide some longevity once you’ve played all the mini games that Cake Bash has to offer.
It goes without saying that Cake Bash is best played in multiplayer. The game will autofill with bots if not, but battling it out against your friends is the way to go. I did try out online matchmaking, but pre-release matches were nonexistent and I reckon it’ll be tough after launch too. Cross-play would be a good option to make online a worthy feature in the future, but there are no current plans for it. Thankfully, private online lobbies are also easy to set up, if you’re looking to play with your friends from afar.
Cake Bash is sweet and tasty all-out multiplayer mayhem, even if it lacks a little depth. There’s enough variety in the mini games to keep you playing, especially in Get Tasty mode. However, we wish that unlocking mini games and stages in Recipe mode were more clearly laid out. Things can also get a little hectic and confusing on Nintendo Switch’s handheld display, with docked play definitely preferable. If you’re after another frantic and fun co-op party game, Cake Bash is a great addition to your Switch library.
A review code was provided by the publisher.