“Get the cheese…now the fry pan…omg it’s burning!!!”
Overcooked is a manic game brought to you by the mastermind developer Ghost Town Games, that has you cooking food in a race against the clock.
The game features two game modes: campaign where you progress through a pre-set storyline, and versus mode wherein you can play head to head with your friends (up to 4 players at once). Versus mode is initially locked until you unlock a versus mode within the campaign mode first. Further versus levels will come available as you continue to progress through the main storyline.
Unfortunately there is no online mode, which is a big missed opportunity to tap in on the current wave of online multiplayer experiences.
The game starts you out with the main prologue, which sets the story for the main campaign. You are introduced to the land of the Onion Kingdom, a prosperous land that is in imminent danger by a vicious beast that is on the prowl. Only the best cooks can prepare the most delightful of treats that can tame the beast…. and apparently you only can come up with a measly salad to offer. You play a bit while continuing to serve lacklustre dishes to the beast, which continues to enrage it. Luckily you are informed to escape certain destruction and you promptly jump into a teleporter that whisks you back in time to start your journey to become the best chef in the Onion Kingdom.
The first few levels serve as tutorials to get you used to the game, simple recipes with few requirements to prepare and ample amount of time is given to complete the edible tasks. Meat has to be cooked, vegetables have to be chopped, plates have to be placed out before assembly…. everything has to be built to order. Luckily with each order there is a recipe chart below it to show you what you need to make the dish. But watch out, as dirty dishes will return and you will need to put them into the dishwasher and then eventually return and retrieve clean dishes to use again. Or even more, watch out not to burn the food as cooking has a timer and you only have precious seconds for the alarm to sound before all the hard cooking is ruined…or even more….your kitchen become engulfed in flames….forcing you to extinguish it before you can continue food service.
As you progress in the game, the recipes get harder to build, the orders come in faster and random chaos gets out of hand.
A few levels in, hazards are introduced into the mix (because what kitchen is not without its issues). Levels can get complex and include such obstacles as moving floors, sliding tables, icy floors or even running between different kitchens across the screen.
It’s crazy to say that something that seems so frustrating can be so much fun at the same time.
The level requirements to complete a level are fairly simple. You score points for serving food in order of which the request came in, from left to right at the top of the screen. Each order has a timer bar that starts to degrade as time ticks past since the order was made…. giving you the incentive to move quick. If you are fast on the order, you will gain “tip” points for quick service. This is when having more than one hamburger on the grill or clean plate placed out is handy and part of planning your efficiency. Should you fail to serve up the order in time, you will be penalised and lose ten points from your overall score. The level continues until all the orders requested are fulfilled – either with food or failure.
Like most games, each level has a pre-set threshold score. Your performance earns you either one, two or three stars. And of course the ultimate goal in the game is to get three stars in every level in the game.
Completing a level will at that time unlock a versus level or a new chef (like a cat!) to allow you to change up the visual dynamics of your game. You can select the chef that you wish to play every time you load a new level, so try on a new skin and bring out the wild in your chef.
Very quickly into the game, I realized that it is handy to have a friend to play with, because each level involves the work of two separate chefs to complete all the required food orders, and if each chef is cared for by an individual player…. syncing and planning between players can be a trusty advantage. Of course, there is a disadvantage to multiplayer, wherein the difficulty as levels progress is ramped up a bit due to the of the advantage of two people playing. If you have no choice but to play single player, you luckily can modify the controller layout to better suit your comfortability You can either control one chef at a time and toggle between them using the LB/RB buttons, or use a split controller layout wherein the left side of the key pad is for one chef and the right is for the other. If you can master the second layout, you are a gaming God…. or just crazy good.
Overcooked most definitely is easier to play and enjoy with another person as its gameplay and gaming dynamics are designed around a local couch co-op play. While you scrape by with one star on a level on single player suddenly becomes a three star breeze with a friend.
Controls in Overcooked are simplistic, with only a few control buttons needed to complete the tasks. This makes it user friendly for gamers of all experience levels and even age levels.
The game is set to a cute colorful environment that is very appealing to the sense, fitted with a calming music in the background…. which is what everyone needs when the kitchen is hopping crazy.
In my opinion Overcooked is a fantastic game that keeps you drawn in to want to achieve the best score to get the three stars, but even more the game is so simple that it’s addictive. I mean how hard is making food anyhow?? The game draws on the need for on the spot quick decision making, but also swift strategizing and planning to be as efficient as possible. While it’s not a game I would recommend to be playing by yourself because it will become too difficult too fast, it is most definitely one that everyone must try.