Little Dragons Cafe is out today on Nintendo Switch, bringing an adorable blend of Harvest Moon-style sim mechanics into the pot with dragon-raising and rhythm games. Though the premise of the game is fairly simple, there are quite a few pots and pans to juggle in the early stages of the game, and it can be a bit overwhelming once the game opens up and lets you proceed on your own.

Little Dragons Cafe review: Raising a dragon isn't as exciting as it sounds

Here are some basic tips and strategies to help you get started in Little Dragons Cafe:

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Collect recipes whenever you can

In the early stages of the game, your primary goal should be to collect recipes. You'll still need to grab ingredients along the way, but early, key story beats are gated behind you being able to cook certain recipes. Take time to explore all around the outside of your house as soon as you can, and when the path down the road opens up, head out that way and poke your nose everywhere for recipes. Most early, required recipes are right on the edge of the road and are easy to see. If you're missing a piece, you may just have overlooked it.

Worry about high-quality food later. For the first few hours, the game follows a predictable cycle: find a new recipe, piece it together, cook it, add it to the menu, witness story event, unlock more areas to explore, repeat.

Don't neglect your cafe

Exploration is important, but don't neglect your cafe. Once all of your staff are in place, you'll need to occasionally manage their activities to make sure things continue to run smoothly. Once you're no longer getting a cutscene at the start of every day, a good way to tackle things is to leave your house first thing to gather ingredients from nearby bushes, trees, and stumps.

Around noon, return and help them tackle the lunch rush. Once things slow down, make sure the staff is motivated by talking to them, then head out to explore. If you just need ingredients, get what you need and come back for dinner. If you're off and away for recipes, stay out as late as you want.

Remember, you can always return to the cafe with the push of a button, so don't worry about straying too far!

Tending to your cafe will reward you with recipes from regulars. Try to talk to them before they leave, as some will give free ingredients, as well. Your staff will handle most of the busy work, so the best thing you can do is talk to your helpers when they lose motivation and talk to customers once they have their food and are satisfied.

Remember to feed your dragon!

You can pet your dragon to raise its stamina, but don't forget to feed it as well. Feeding your dragon will cause it to change color as it grows and evolves. Here are some early game items that you can feed your dragon to change its color:

  • Red: Steak Bowls
  • Blue: Fried Fish
  • Green: Bagna Cuda

Once your dragon is already red or blue, you can feed it the opposite color of items to get it to turn purple. More foods can change its color, just check the colors by inspecting the food from the menu.

Ingredients are near at hand

Don't feel you need to range far and wide for basic ingredients. Your garden and fish nursery will provide you with much of what you need early on, in addition to what the bushes and stumps outside your house can give. Pretty much everything you need to make basic dishes is only a few seconds walk away.

If you're worried about making low-quality food, don't worry. Fertilize with dragon manure to get better ingredients, and cook away! You can also improve your food quality by practicing the rhythm game involved in cooking repeatedly. The more "Excellents" you get, the better food you'll make. Several dishes use the same "songs" and tempos, so if you get good at one dish, those skills may pay off with another.

Stuck?

Is the story not progressing? Usually, it's because you're missing a recipe. Make sure every recipe you own has been made and added to the menu. If that doesn't help, spend a day around the cafe and speak to every customer and character in the building. Finally, try heading out to explore the most recent area that opened, and make sure you're using your dragon.

As your dragon grows, it can use its abilities to explore new areas in different ways. Small dragons can crawl into holes, while bigger dragons can remove other obstacles for you. If you only have three pieces of a recipe, you probably just overlooked a fourth piece you need to progress.

Any questions?

Are you stuck on Little Dragons Cafe? Let me know in the comments, and I'll help you out!

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