Zach Wilkerson
E3 2019: Empress: Tales of the Heart and Yokai Kitchen Preview
Hands-on with two promising mobile titles from FriendTimes.
06.16.19 - 2:20 AM

At the mobile developer FriendTimes booth at E3, we demoed two mobile titles with incredible graphical presentations that go well beyond what we normally see on a phone and some impressive gameplay mechanics — Empress: Tales of the Heart and Yokai Kitchen. While we didn't get to spend much time with either title, our initial impression is that both games have promise, especially for those who are attracted to mobile games.

Empress: Tales of the Heart Screenshot

Empress: Tales of the Heart is a historical fantasy social game. In the game, you play as a woman who aims to work her way to becoming the Empress of her country. To do so, there are fashion, social, and combat mechanics at play. While many mobile titles take pride in their wide cast of characters, battle systems, gacha mechanics, and worlds, Empress would rather emphasize its detailed 3D world, focus on fashion and style, and have its players socialize in beautiful ancient palaces rather than fight. That's not to say the game is without classic RPG combat, but the developers wanted to cater to players who enjoy more social gaming instead. Perhaps one of the other most notable features is how impressive the graphics are; loading times are fast, character models are beautifully detailed, and the fashion is incredibly varied and intricately designed. Empress: Tales of the Heart was first released in Malaysia, and there are plans to bring the game over to the West at some point, but no date has been confirmed as of writing.

Yokai Kitchen Screenshot

Second, we spent some time with Yokai Kitchen, a card-based kitchen simulation game coming West in the fall of 2019 where the goal is to build the best restaurant you can. We first spent some time looking at how to set up and manage your kitchen. You choose different chefs with different specialties, and try to match them to what your customers like to eat. You also make money via tips from your customers and gather other loot in the process. In order to gather materials for your kitchen, you have to go out and farm them in a few different ways. When we entered a few areas, we were set up on a randomly generated grid. As we explored the grid, we would sometimes get loot boxes, and other times enter combat where we fought alongside characters you can recruit throughout the game. The look of the game is completely adorable, and if you're into mobile titles, this seems like it will be worth a try.

Empress: Tales of the Heart and Yokai Kitchen were both pleasant surprises that seem to go beyond the ambitions normally found in mobile titles. Keep an eye on RPGFan for more coverage of Yokai Kitchen in the build-up up to its release this fall, and for news about when Empress: Tales of the Heart will be released in the West!

By Zach Wilkerson and Steph Sybydlo