Direct your own story -- through baking

Need a little distraction to get through the day? Gather, collect, and customize your very own bakery in this FarmVille-esque game.

Bakery Story (iOS, Android) is a cute and simple interactive social networking game along the same lines as FarmVille. It's part of a series of "story" games made by the same studio (TeamLava), and just like FarmVille, it can become extremely addicting.

Look upon my works, and despair... at how much time I have.

(Credit: Screenshot by Tuong Nguyen/CNET)

In Bakery Story, players open their own bakery where they can create and sell an assortment of sweets, desserts, and beverages in exchange for money (coins). The process of creating a confection is nothing more than a few taps, after which the player must wait a certain amount of time before the item is ready. Every food or drink has a different timer attached to it, so players can plan their menu based on how much time they have available to play. For the impatient or the rich, this time-consuming process can be skipped with the aid of some real-life cash bought in-game in the form of diamonds. The types of food you're able to cook are based on your level! New recipes are unlocked each time you move up to another level. A never-ending flood of customers will always be around to buy and eat your baked goods, so make sure to plan your menu accordingly!

Since baking cakes and sweets is just a series of taps with your finger, the end goal of Bakery Story is not the process of making foods, but the joy found in customizing your own bakery. Indeed, the in-game store carries more decorations than functional implements. Chairs, tables, counters, colorful wallpapers, floor tiles, windows, cute wall decorations, potted plants, and more are all available to glamorize your store as much as possible. These items can get extremely pricey, but making money is not a big hassle in Bakery Story. If simply selling cakes isn't netting much profit, then there are in-game quests as well as achievements available to help pad your wallet.

The theme I'm going for is "Diabetes Paradise."

(Credit: Screenshot by Tuong Nguyen/CNET)

Of course, Bakery Story is a social networking game at its core. Those with a lot of friends stand to gain more than would someone playing individually. Once a day, friends can send each other food, or much needed supplies and materials for building better food machines -- all free of charge for both parties! There are also options to visit other bakeries and leave tips on their tables. Many of the game's quests and achievements center around making acquaintances and recruiting friends to join in on the fun!

Traded my first born to get this unicorn; worth it.

(Credit: Screenshot by Tuong Nguyen/CNET)

One negative thing we've noticed about Bakery Story is that there are a lot of pop-up ads that appear when the game is first launched. Being a free game, this is understandable from the publisher's point of view as a means of bringing in revenue. Another downside is that a lot of the items in the in-game store can be purchased only with diamonds (real-life cash). Although there are ways of obtaining diamonds through playing Bakery Story, they are extremely time consuming. We've gathered only around 15 diamonds after about week or so of playing, and 15 is not a lot when there are some appliances that cost 20. Despite this, Bakery Story is still a very fun app to have and play with friends. The best part is, it's free to download!

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