When I was handed the review code for Overcooked I knew nothing about the title other than that the PlayStation blog had posted a pun-filled preview for it. However, even after a quick ten minutes of playing the game at work, I had a craving for seconds.
A cute and clever game, Overcooked?s plot has the player attempting to save the world from the ultimate evil?by cooking. By rapidly prepping, cooking, baking, and serving up orders, the player earns points tallied to receive a star ranking. Failing to properly serve a dish before the timer runs out, however, imposes a penalty.
While this may sound very simple, developer Ghost Town Games has packed the tiny title with an insane amount of thought. Not only does the game elevate in difficulty at the perfect rate, but humor is packed into it. I was constantly amused by small touches put in the game, like the hilarious sidekick to the Onion King (oh yeah, he?s a thing) Kevin the dog. All of this together made the game a go-to in my household over the past week.
So, let?s dig further into why I think Overcooked is such a success. First off, the simple to understand, difficult to master game style will always resonate with me. The star-ranking system gives players something to aim for, and a way to measure their progression towards perfection in the kitchen. A quick playthrough of a level will help you become familiar with its unique challenge?perhaps you?re dealing with a slippery ice floor in the game?s southern region, or dealing with a new recipe like sausage pizza. My favorite level featured three food trucks, and had me throwing food from one onto the others in a frenzy, before leaping back onto the correct truck to cook the orders. It felt like the perfect merging of Lethal Weapon and Hell?s Kitchen.
After becoming comfortable, it was time to learn the finesse of the game. When playing cooperative multiplayer, a lot of this time is spent figuring out how to maximize your time. Instead of running it to the stovetop, is it worth it to have the second chef rotate pots while you cut up all the ingredients? (Yes, yes it is). If you?re playing single-player, it?s all about optimizing the two chefs under your control.
Overcooked gives to options to single players?you can control two chefs (which you swap between with the click of a button), or you can control them both at the same time using both joysticks on the controller. Personally, I couldn?t wrap my head around controlling them together, so I used the toggle, with quite a bit of success.
Depending on whether you?re in single or multiplayer, Overcooked will also adjust the amount of points needed to obtain different star rankings. I had a lot of fun trying to achieve three stars on all the levels with my wife over the past week, and so far the only one we haven?t been able to complete as a team has been the final level. There, all of our skills and communication have been put to the test, as well as the strength of our marriage. However, our therapist also believes that I meant to put the mushrooms in the soup-pot, not on the pizza.
One of the only oddities I found in the game came from the title?s soundtrack. While the majority of the game is cute and frantic, the music that plays over the game?s map dampens the experience slightly. It?s not a bad track, it?s just a poor choice for Overcooked.
Unlockables in the game include new competitive multiplayer maps as well as new chefs. My favorite chef was one with orcish bottom teeth?while I know it?s not true, I can?t help but feel that he was better at making fish and chips than the others. My fallback guy was a chef that I dubbed ?Wheelchair Raccoon.? Why? Because he was a raccoon in a wheelchair. Despite the issues he most likely had with the Health Inspector, he was a beast in the kitchen.
Overall, I found Overcooked to be a very fun game with a decent amount of replayability. The game really excels in party situations or couch co-op, but is fun enough to warrant a single-player experience as well. While it could be argued that the game would have benefited from network play, I can?t help but feel that something special would be lost if you couldn?t directly yell at the person who forgot to wash the dishes.
|Developer: Ghost Town Games ? Publisher: Team17 ? ESRB: E – Everyone ? Release Date: 08.03.16|
A clever game that taps into your inner perfectionist, Overcooked is a delicious treat that plays great and is low on carbs.
|The Good||A fun title that taps into the desire to get a perfect score.|
|The Bad||Soundtrack doesn?t fit with the rest of the game.|
|The Ugly||The chef with the box for a head, obviously|
|Overcooked is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox One. Review code was provided by Team17 for the benefit of this review. EGM reviews games on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 5.0 being average.|