Review: Cupcake Academy

Designer: Erwan Morin
Artist: Simon Douchy
Publisher: Blue Orange Games
Category: Puzzle Game, Cooperative Game
Players: 2-4

Cupcake Academy is a cooperative logic game for families. In this game, players work together in real time, arranging nested cups to fulfill objectives as a group. It is a very fun game, especially for fans of puzzles.

Review

It’s no secret that I love puzzle games – I must have said that at least a dozen times on this site. Cupcake Academy is a new one from Blue Orange, but unlike the majority of games in this genre, where players race to solve a puzzle first, this one has players working collaboratively to solve a puzzle together.

To begin, each player receives three tiles and a set of five colored cups that fit together like Russian nesting dolls.

The goal of the game is to fulfill objectives, which are shown on circular cards in the central display.

A game set up for three players.

Each card depicts a specific board-state that players must work together to create. They do this by moving and arranging cups so that their tableaus look like the illustration on the current card.

Below is an example of a completed objective:

(Note that some of the cups had to change hands to solve this puzzle.)

There is no restriction for which tiles the cups must be on. As long as each player has the correct cups showing somewhere in his/her tableau, an objective can be considered complete.

Players simultaneously move cups around on their tiles, but each person can only move one cup at a time. In the center is a neutral tile, which all players can use to pick up or place cups. It also allows players to indirectly “pass” cups to each other, since one person can place a cup in the center and another can pick it up.

The game is played in real-time, and the goal is simply to complete as many objective cards as possible within a seven-minute time limit. If players can fulfill all the objective cards within the time allotted, they win!


love Cupcake Academy. This game encapsulates everything Blue Orange excels at: it’s lightning fast, simple to learn, accessible for kids, fun for adults, and it has a great tactile quality. It offers a very fun challenge, and its cooperative gameplay distinguishes it from most real-time puzzle games.

The only potential issue I found with this game is that one person can hinder the team’s progress, which can make him/her feel responsible if the players lose. Of course, this game is lighthearted and should not be taken too seriously, but it certainly helps if all players have comparable puzzle-solving skills.

Bottom line, Cupcake Academy is excellent. It is easily in my top 5 Blue Orange games to date, and I highly recommend for families and fans of puzzle games.

A review copy was provided by Blue Orange Games.

The Bottom Line

Cupcake Academy is great fun. Highly recommended.

 

9