Squid, asparagus, and candy cane sushi coming right up!
Toca Kitchen Sushi
Credit: Toca Boca

If you have a kid, or have friends with kids, or have even stood in the general vicinity of a kid lately, you probably have at least a passing familiarity with Toca Boca games. The Swedish company designs bright, addictive, child-friendly apps for tablets and smartphones, with a focus on open-ended play (popular titles include Toca Hair Salon, where users cut and style characters' hair using various tools, and Toca Store, where players can set up their own shops). And this week, Toca Kitchen Sushi—the latest (and one of the cutest) in the range—arrives in the App Store and on Google Play.

OK, so, technically, the $3.99 game is designed for 6-to-9-year-olds. But it's actually quite fun and relaxing, even if you're not in the, uh, target age range. Basically, you're the chef at a busy seaside sushi restaurant. Customers come in, and you decide what to serve them. And by customers I don't necessarily mean human customers. One of the first characters to walk through my door was a cat. I made him salmon and avocado rolls. He seemd fine with them. The next customer took a picture of my shrimp and jalapeno sushi, which was the exact kind of validation I was looking for.

You toggle between a few stations during the sushi-making process. First, a behind-the-counter view of your ingredients—which include your standard seafood, rice, and veggies, as well as unconventional items like sausages and candy canes—then, a prep area where you can chop, sauté, and hand-roll to your heart's content. There's even a little rice cooker and a garnish area where you can plate your creations with wasabi and soy sauce. But the best part of the kitchen has to be the section where you can accessorize your sushi (or your ingredients). What's better than a fish wearing a tiny pair of glasses, or a jaunty little hat? Nothing, that's what.