Rolling Hills review – A cosy Diner Dash-like for sushi lovers

Rolling Hills is a pleasant restaurant sim with light gameplay, but warm vibes.
rolling hills game pc review

Rolling Hills is not a difficult game. It’s not a complex game. Really, it’s the antithesis of modern restaurant sims, which so often prioritise frantic dish creation and rapid meal service – to the point where serving customers is, like in real life, incredibly stressful. While Rolling Hills is a restaurant sim, it takes a more wholesome, cosy approach, with dishes being easy to craft, and customers far more reasonable on their gastronomic journey. It all adds to a breezy, lovely restaurant sim with light-hearted, warm vibes.

In Rolling Hills, you are a sushi-loving robot with a hat, looking to make a home in the titular town of Rolling Hills. You’ll enter town as a stranger, and spend hours befriending staff in the local shops and cafes, gathering their support in your quest to run the best sushi restaurant in the region.

Rolling Hills borrows a lot from Diner Dash in its management gameplay. You actually spend time out of your shop boosting your dishes with new ingredients bought from the local supermarket, and then that prep comes in handy once you open your shop. A conveyor belt delivers complete sushi dishes with every button press, and you’ll then grab these dishes and deliver them to customers.

Screenshot: GamesHub

Some customers want sushi that’s two-star, and above. Some want sweet sushi, some want fish sushi. You’ll need to wait for them to sit down and make their minds, and then spend your time grabbing sushi meals from the conveyor belt. Between dish requests, you’ll help customers to stay awake (by beeping at them), avoid camera flashes (which can stun you), and making sure to keep clean tables.

At first, this process is overly manageable – but as you earn more coins, you’ll be able to add new tables to your restaurant, and expand your restaurant significantly. That adds complexity, but it is controlled – so you can choose how much to handle with each day. Maximise your restaurant space, and you can make ample cash by day, but feel ultra-stressed in managing your customers. Or, you can take it easy and only have a handful of easily-accessible tables to wait. It’s up to you.

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Gameplay largely revolves around this ‘upgrading meals and serving dishes’ style gameplay, with each day allowing you to perfect your Diner Dash-like skills. But there are quests that will shake up the foundations of your adventure, with characters presenting new challenges and opportunities as your restaurant levels up.

Visit the local furniture shop, and you’ll be able to upgrade your place settings, colours, and size of your restaurant, while also getting to know the intimidating local owner. Chatting with each member of town brings some kind of reward – the fuzzy feeling of being close, and the opportunity to build up your sushi restaurant further.

Screenshot: GamesHub

You’ll also quickly unlock daily challenges and rewards in town, with these allowing you to dress up Sushi Bot, unlock new recipes, and nab new decorations that boost satisfaction and cash spent in your restaurant. These features are all neat touches, and help to keep Rolling Hills mostly feeling fresh with every new dawn.

That said, the game is best played in short and sweet bursts, as gameplay does lack depth that would otherwise make it feel moreish. You can spend your time wandering the town of Rolling Hills, but it’s a fairly empty world beyond its main locations – the sushi restaurant, supermarket, furniture store, and cafe. Dozens of folks wander the streets, but many of them can’t be interacted with. Those that are interactable usually have generic sound bites.

Primarily, you’ll have the best time in Rolling Hills running your restaurant day-to-day, making sure your customers are satisfied, and then turning those profits into cool, fun decorations to make your working space come alive. Hours into gameplay, you will hit a wall – as repetition does set in eventually – but those early hours with Rolling Hills really are a joy.

On the pure charm of Sushi Bot, and his tiny little reactions, Rolling Hills is bright and breezy to play. For those familiar with Diner Dash, there is also elements of nostalgia in the sushi delivery process. A sense of repetition and a slower pace does mean Rolling Hills isn’t particularly gripping or challenging after hours of gameplay – but regardless, there’s plenty of fun and comfort to be found in this light-hearted sim.

Three stars: ★★★

Rolling Hills
PC, Xbox One
Developer: Catch & Release
Publisher: Humble Games
Release Date: 4 June 2024

A PC code was provided for the purposes of this review. GamesHub reviews are rated on a five-point scale.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.