Play It: Papa's Taco Mia and Soul Brother

Today we have a restaurant simulator and a puzzle platformer to go through. Papa's Taco Mia is an online game where you win a taco restaurant in a taco eating contest. Without any additional staff, you have to take all the orders, grill all the meat, and assemble all of the taco orders. You have to keep the customers happy while they're waiting and please an ever-expanding range of tastes.

The mouse controls the entire game. You click on a customer to take their order. Then you drag their ticket to the line on top of the screen. Then you switch windows to the grill, where you fire, cut, and flip the ordered meat for the taco. Then you pull the meat off the fire and assemble the taco on the assembly screen. You have sauces, vegetables, beans, and cheeses to contend with. You shake the mouse back and forth over the taco to spread the desired topping in the correct order. They all fall at different rates which are hard to gauge after the first stage. You then wrap the taco, attach the order slip, and see how much you get paid.

The fun of Papa's Taco Mia is in the multi-tasking. You will reach a point where customers keep walking in before you can even start firing anything on the grill or assembling one taco. The longer the first customers wait, the worst your score is. But if the later customers wait on line too long, your score suffers as well. Burn the meat? Bad score. Spread the ingredients poorly? Bad score. Every mistake you make will hurt your performance. That's not even getting into the specialty customers who will never tip or grade you as well as the every day customers.

Papa's Taco Mia is one of the more engaging restaurant sims I've played in a few years. It's a more hands on approach in the Cooking Mama vein that adds difficulty with how much you are expected to do at once.

Soul Brother is an online puzzle platformer from Adult Swim. You play as a lost soul jumping from body to body. You need to kill yourself to free your soul into the nearest living thing to get around various obstacles.

You control your soul character with the left and right arrow keys. The down arrow lets you read signposts that explain various game features and the x button lets you jump. Each character has its own special ability. One character can fit in small spaces while another can hover and another can double jump. Which one you need in a given scenario is defined by your goal. Do you want to race to the finish or do you want to collect every item? It's not a straight forward decision, as sometimes the quick clear approach is much more challenging than taking the route needed to collect the gems and vice versa.

Soul Brother is a fun little puzzle platformer with a novel play mechanic. It's just different enough from other online games to make it seem fresh and new.