I can’t remember the last time I finished a video game. I’ve had my Nintendo Switch Lite for two years now, and it’s riddled with a number of titles I’ve abandoned for one reason or another. I often scroll through the Nintendo eShop, watching dozens of trailers in search of a game that might hook my ADHD brain, but nothing ever feels quite tantalizing. And now I feel guilty that my Switch sees most of its days tucked away in a drawer.
As a kid, I was always into simulation-style games (The Sims, Mall Tycoon, and Nintendogs, to name a few) and that has carried over into my adulthood. I’ve long struggled to find a game that scratches this itch though—devoid of side quests, intense customization, multiple storylines, and tough levels. That is, until a couple of months ago, when a TikTok video about “cozy Nintendo Switch games” appeared on my For You page.
Among the list was Lemon Cake—a bakery-management game where the main goal is to repair a bakery by learning recipes, baking treats, decorating the space, and serving customers. That’s all there is to it, but I was entranced the minute I downloaded it. Between the straightforward storyline, easy gameplay, calming background music, and adorable graphics, I finally found what I’d been searching for—a game that’s more soothing than overstimulating. I actually finished it.
A Relaxing Restoration
What drew me to Lemon Cake was that it felt like a mixture of Stardew Valley, Cooking Mama, and Diner Dash in one—but more subdued. Rather than reviving a farm and completing quests throughout the village, your only responsibility is restoring a rundown bakery. Instead of chopping, slicing, cooking, and plating meals, you just throw some ingredients into a bowl and bake them in the oven. With only two tables to serve and clean up after, the game rarely gets too hectic.
There’s a fair amount of direction too. You’re graced with the presence of Miss Bonbon—the (somewhat) friendly ghost you’ve inherited the bakery from—who helps guide you toward getting the business fully up and running. She eventually becomes your assistant, helping serve coffee to customers and move pastries from the kitchen to the display window.