The word "Charumera" reminds Japanese of one of instant ramen brand. It is the representative product of Myojo Foods. But Charumera originally is not a name of instant ramen. Charumera is the name of a kind of flute brought in Japan almost 400 years ago from Portugal. It is cone shaped with double reeds. The name of charumera is believed to have been corrupted from a Portuguese word Charamela meaning "reed." Charumera was used by soba yatai (Yonaki-soba) originally around 150 years ago, then after several decades ramen yatai started using it. The melody of "Do-Re-Mi-Re-Do,Do-Re-Mi-Re-Do-Re" is strongly associated with Ramen yatai in Japanese's mind.
In this Playstation game the player takes the role of a wandering ramen yatai wheeling your cart of yummy ramen dishes around a quaint little city, hoping to strike upon that combination of taste, customers and timing which will make your fortune while trying to avoid being hassled by The Man or little children.
Or something like that. Basically you wheel around the lovely little locations that change with time of day (your selling hours are from 3pm to 12am), blowing your charumera flute when you think you've found a good spot based on the neighborhood and bystanders. A crowd, large or small, gathers, and you can see what they think of your dish in little icons above their heads. You can have a dozen or so recipes on tap at a time and you'll find that even though a new recipe may be a hit at first, soon people will get sick of it and start complaining, and business will suffer.
Every now and then you meet someone who strikes up a conversation and takes a more critical approach to the ramen tasting. I'm not really sure what these signify, though once a fat businessman seemed really happy with my recipe (he slurped a lot) and took me to another guy in a suit and I could read the word "sponsor" in katakana, uh and then they left and I dunno what difference it made. I don't know what to do with the money I earn yet. At the right time of day you'll find shops selling particular ingredients, though they don't actually seem to charge you money for unlocking the ingredient in your cookbook.
The flute music and storybook graphics convey a charming atmosphere and just messing around with your ingredients to compose a tasty-looking bowl of ramen is pretty fun (don't play on an empty stomach). So, that's about all I can make out so far. Once I figure out what money does, or what these people do aside from sometimes forcing me to quit selling for the day, maybe I'll be a bit closer to ramen mastery.
- Third person perspectives.
- 2D graphics
- Cartoon graphics
- Ramen seller theme.