It’s the smell, as Agent Smith points out in The Matrix. Though his point was an entirely different one, unrelated to baking or even to smells being pleasant, it’s Hugo Weaving’s delivery of that piece of dialogue that came to mind when I was sent the press release for Bakery Simulator.

It’s a simulation of a pastime that’s so satisfyingly, pleasingly tactile and sensual – in ways that can’t yet be replicated digitally – that I’m not sure how it’s going to measure up to the real thing. The same could be said of almost any game that recreates real world activities, of course, but I do believe that the sensory pleasure derived from baking – the touch, taste and smell of your creations, for example – is so intrinsic to the activity that removing them just means that the exercise would  lose all pleasure.

I don’t mean to sound negative before we’ve even given Bakery Simulator a chance, of course. There’s plenty of ‘Simulator’ games – and just plain ‘games’ in general, really – with concepts that shouldn’t work, but do; so why should Bakery Simulator be any different?

The key thing here is that, though baking is – of course – involved, the game is about much more than that. You’ll also need to manage the bakery and ensure the timely delivery of bread to customers, amongst other things; what sounds particularly interesting here is that players will be able to select the location of their bakery and even plan the appropriate use for the space within the building.

It sounds like there’s an awful lot of detail here and the developers, Live Motion Games, have even employed a consultant who has ten years of experience in the baking industry, in order to ensure the game has as high a level of authenticity as possible. You’ll be able to learn new recipes (with several dozen types of bread being available in the game), develop your bakery, buy (and use) specialised machinery and even conduct your own baking experiments, as well as making sure to run a profitable bakery in selling your presumably delicious digital bread.

One aspect I’m personally excited by is the fact that the featured recipes are based on actual, real life recipes. Will I be able to take the knowledge of these in-game recipes and apply them to baking actual bread in the real world? I certainly hope so – there’s nothing quite like baking bread. As Agent Smith puts it: It’s the smell.

Bakery Simulator releases in October 2019 for PC (Steam store page here) and in 2020 for PS4, Xbox One and Switch.

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