Ahh, the sweet smell of a freshly cooked meal, oh wait is that smoke? That phrase summarizes well enough my experience with Overcooked. Ghost Town Game’s latest entry in the indie gaming world is a super stressful game about preparing meals, maneuvering in some of the worst planned kitchens in the world and even dealing with environmental hazards! Join our little chefs on their quest to save the world from an insatiable spaghetti-beast.
Our story begins in the “present” day, where the Apocalypse is already taking place. Atop a building stand our chefs and their Onion King. The King orders the chefs to do their best to provide enough food to meet the monster’s demands. However, the chefs are a little inexperienced (and by little I mean a lot) and cannot even cooperate effectively and the beast doesn’t get satisfied. The King realizes that it is futile to try, so before it is too late he takes the chefs and travel via a portal through time, back a few decades. He then instructs the chefs to journey across the world (and beyond) in order to hone their cooking as well as their cooperation skills, so when the decisive moment arrives again they will be ready to face to challenge.
Each level is a cooking challenge, where the player must read orders and prepare the right meal for each order. Sounds simple right? Like your average Flash based, cooking game you will find on various gaming sites on the web, right? No. These games don’t put you through the hassle of rising landscapes and lava floored kitchens. There is also a level where you cook on a galley, where the cooking tables slide each time the ship turns and you have to go all the way around to reach your ingredients or take the patties off the pan before they burn. Imagine Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares without Ramsay (well that would be cool I think).
Each meal is prepared in its own unique way, but most recipes have some basic similarities like the need for the chopping of the ingredients before the actual cooking takes place (duh). The soups are the easiest meals, requiring only chopping and throwing the ingredients in the pot, just don’t forget to remove them from the stove when ready or above all else you will have to deal with fires, really bad stuff. Other recipes like hamburgers require you to take note which ingredients you need to include in each order and which to leave out. Well, to be absolutely honest, the levels themselves and the recipes are not what really makes the game difficult and fun. It is the need for cooperation, either by controlling effectively two chefs in single player, or effective cross team communication for teams spanning two to four players. While I only had the chance to enjoy the game in its single player mode, I can say that single and multiplayer experiences would be two totally different hells.
In single player the problem is that at any given time you can only control one chef while the other will be either waiting idly or will be doing a task you have given him before. You have to be quick and assign tasks to the chefs quickly as they tend to complete them before you know it. One should be chopping and the other should be washing dishes or putting together the hamburgers. Things get funny when the level gets separated in situations where the kitchen is placed in two tracks on the move or when the tectonic plates move up and down right in the middle of your cooking area. Don’t worry though, it gets easier with practice, I know.
As for multiplayer, due to my lack of experience I’d imagine that a gameplay session for two to four players would involve shouting, controller smashing and broken friendships or marriages. Since there is no defined “leader” figure in the actual game, unless a player takes the role of the co-ordinator, providing the rest with a plan, I believe that nothing special could be achieved. All in all however, I firmly believe that Overcooked is tailored best for multiplayer playthroughs, because while there is a single player mode, it just feels too much for a single pair of hands and a single brain. I believe it would be best if the player controlled one chef and the AI the other. Nonetheless, Overcooked is still one of the best made games I’ve ever tried!
Overcooked can be found on Steam for 15,99€. Additionally there is a DLC package that can be purchased for 4,99€ which offers some additional exotic themed, campaign levels. You can also get a bundle containing both for 20,99€. The game is also available on PlayStation Store and Microsoft Store for $16.99.
Overcooked is a cooking and stress management game about two chefs trying to improve their cooking skills in order to save the world. It provides a great variety of challenges which will test the limits of the single players and the friendships of those you dare to try the multiplayer mode!
+ Very challenging.
+ Great variety in gameplay mechanics.
– The single player experience could be better.
– Dimtris “Onel” Zarachanis