How do you sell a cooking game to someone to try out? By telling them it’s one of the most chaotic, laugh-a-minute, noisiest multi-player games around.
Ghost Town Games “Overcooked” features up to four chefs, all “working together” to fulfil a list of orders before the time runs out. So, why the double speech marks? Well, because if you get it right, your team of chefs can make the kitchen look like the most well-practiced dance routine, completing order after order. On the other hand, it can look like a bunch of kids all chasing a football round a field, no-one really knowing what they’re doing.
“Overcooked” features a single player campaign, starting out in Onion Town, under attack from a massive spaghetti monster. The tutorial level eases you in, showing you how to pick food items, prepare them, cook them and serve them. However, it’s very clear that you can’t work quickly enough to satisfy the monster’s huge appetite, so you are transported back in time to learn how to become a master chef.
You start out with two chefs in the kitchen. You control them individually on keyboard or controller. A simple button press switches between the chefs, so multi-tasking becomes essential to success. You gather food ingredients and prepare them at various work stations, cook them, plate them and serve them. I found this very tricky, setting each chef to a task so as not to waste any precious time. Each section of the work tops in the kitchen is a separate square, and I often found myself dropping items on the wrong segment, wasting valuable seconds picking it up again and re-placing it. I’m told that this is by design, to add to the pressure. You do, at least, feel that with practice, you can get better, and you can earn more tips and work towards those three stars. It felt rewarding, knowing that I kept improving, but it was hard work.
As you progress through the levels, the difficulty curve ramps up at a steep rate. Throw obstacles into the kitchen, for example, working on a rocking ship where the layout of the kitchen is constantly changing. The orders become more difficult, requiring a mixture of different ingredients. We even had rats stealing our chopped vegetables before we’d had a chance to cook them. It all adds to the mayhem…and laughs.
Where Overcooked really enters into its own is multiplayer. This is where the most laughs are to be had…And most fallings out! I’ve played this game with two of us, and we worked really great together, communicating well, completing orders quickly. So we got three stars consistently, which felt very good. Then I’ve also played it with three friends, and it’s descended into scenes that make Gordon Ramsey sound normal. You all start out with the best-laid plans, assigning roles to each chef, starting out nice and calm. But then the orders pile up, no-one was assigned to washing plates.
The rats start appearing, and the soup is about to burn. You’ve got 30 seconds left on the timer and still need to complete four more orders to earn three stars…So you can imagine the mayhem! “Overcooked” is one of the funniest, laugh-a-minute, couch co-op games I’ve played in a long time. You know it’s a good game where everyone agrees “just one more go”, “we can nail it this time”!
There is also a versus mode, with teams controlling one side of a kitchen each, all trying to complete as many orders as possible. Again, this is great fun but not quite as fulfilling as the full co-op mode. The game’s presentation is very simple. The controls are basic (which is essential!) and the graphics are cartoony and fun. As it all adds to the charm of the game, and it works, because the time has clearly been put into making the game mechanics work and the amounts of fun to be had throughout.
So, get a few mates round, grab your controllers and watch the hours tick away as you try to become the master chefs of the universe…..well, of Onion Town anyway.
+ Massive amounts of fun, especially in multiplayer
+ Simple to pick up and play
+ Highly original
+ Fun, cartoony graphics with slick animations
– Learning curve is quite steep
– Can get difficult quite quickly
– Lack of precision can be frustrating
Replay value: 5/5
Ghost Town Games Overcooked is an excellent co-op cooking simulation experience, and the more players who join in with you, the more fun you will have. In the matter of fact, “Overcooked” is one of the funniest, laugh-a-minute, couch co-op games that I’ve played in a long time.
Developer: Ghost Town Games
Genre: Simulation/Action/Local Multiplayer
Release date: 2016-08-03
Spent time: 20 Hours
Average grade internationally: 81% Metacritic.com
PEGI age rating: 3+
Install Size: 750MB
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