Developer: Ghost Town Games
Publisher(s): Team 17
Platform(s): Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (reviewed)
Overcooked is a new 1-4 player co-op based cooking game. I spent a few hours this past week sitting down with a few friends to tear through this hectic adventure in fine dining. If you ask me, I should be able to put down three staring all Overcooked levels on my resume now. While it won’t bring much to the table for a solo player, and I can’t stress this enough, If you don’t have at the very least one other person to play with, this game is not worth your time. Overcooked has an unmistakable charm in being one of those couch co-op games you don’t get very often anymore. Let’s get into what it’s all about.
Overcooked begins as so many culinary adventures do, with the end of the world. An evil food beast is destroying the world and the Onion King and his dog Kevin need your help. It doesn’t take him long to realize your skills at running a kitchen aren’t enough to satiate the beast’s hunger. So, he does what anyone in his position would. He transports you all back to 1993 giving you 23 years to travel the world and hone your chef skills.
The game drops you on a world map where you drive from kitchen to kitchen, broken down by world. Overcooked has a total of six worlds each consisting of somewhere between four to six levels. The campaign itself isn’t terribly long. My group finished it in two sittings totaling at roughly five hours of gameplay. As you work your way through the campaign, however, you’ll unlock a slew of new cooks to play as well as stages for the addicting competitive mode, but we’ll get into that later.
Gameplay is all about cooperation and your ability to designate roles. Orders come in, and meals have to be prepared. The game starts off with simple recipes, chop some onions and throw them in a pot to make onion soup, put said soup on a dish and serve it to the customer. The further you progress the more difficult it becomes and the more you realize multiple players will have to manage multiple tasks. One player may have to pass ingredients over a counter while also making sure the plates are getting cleaned. An especially difficult stage takes place on a space station and has the players forced to send a room containing burrito ingredients back in forth between two kitchens via a switch.
Overcooked also features some quirky, fun level design. The early levels of world one start you in some basic kitchens but before you know it you’ll be cooking on the deck of a pirate ship, on an iceberg and even the surface of a star. Every kind of level has it’s own little shake up to the gameplay. For example one level, taking place on the deck of a pirate ship, causes tables to change positions as the ship rocks sometimes forcing players to switch roles on a dime.
Beyond the full on cooperative play, Overcooked also features a competitive versus mode. In this mode, players engage in two on two battles in separate vs. stages. Each team is preparing entirely different orders, but that won’t stop you from occasionally stealing ingredients in an attempt to slow your rivals down. The real meat of the game lies in this mode. After finishing the campaign, I can’t see myself going back to that cooperative mode, but I’m fairly sure I’ll get a few more hours out of the versus mode this upcoming weekend.
Overcooked is a charming, adorably designed look back at what made couch c0-op games great. A reminder that I’ve missed those nights of yelling across my coffee table to friends to “JUST CHOP SOME DAMN ONIONS!”. Local gameplay is great, I’d even argue better than online in most cases, though I do think this game suffers for not including it. I’d probably squeeze a few more hours out of it if I didn’t require so much effort to get four friends together. If you’ve got $15 to spare and a group to play with you can pick up Overcooked now on Steam, PSN, and the Xbox marketplace.
Score: 7 out of 10
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