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Overcooked Review: Keep On Cooking

/ Nov 1st, 2016 No Comments

Overcooked Review

How many cooks are too many? Overcooked seeks to answer that question via cooperative multiplayer that requires task delegation.

In Overcooked the world has met with an apocalyptic future and cooking is the only way to save what little life remains.

Players control one of several cooks and must prepare, cook, serve and clean a series of meals. All of this is timed of course, meaning coordination and speed are the keys.

The Ever Hungry

A cataclysm event has plunged the world into chaos, leaving the Onion King with few choices. The king is a stout living onion who informs players in Overcooked’s prologue that feeding an insatiable beast is the only way to save the world.

No matter how well players handle the opening level, they are not quite up to the task, and must travel back in time with the Onion King in order to improve their culinary skills.
 

Overcooked

Don’t let the madness set in. DON’T LET IT SET IN!

Overcooked takes place across time, where players must learn a variety of recipes and coordination skills required to defeat the beast back at home.

This time-traveling scenario gives Overcooked an excuse to take players literally anywhere, setting up some unique situations, but that is the only thing the plot is for. The story serves as a way to see different locales and set up different gameplay mechanics, but the game’s odd humor shines through.

Too Many Cooks

In each level, there are several stations for creating meals. Recipes appear in the top right corner of the screen along with a timer. Players must put together meals before the timer runs down in order to complete each level.

This process involves collecting and preparing ingredients, mixing them together to form different meals, serving the meal and cleaning off the plate following consumption. Every recipe is unique in the preparation aspect, and this is where Overcooked gets challenging.

Players must balance how they prepare the different food items. For instance, tomatoes need to be chopped, but potatoes need to be boiled. Chopping can be done at any time, but anything that needs to be cooked needs to be done in an efficient manner and has a chance to be burned.

If two ingredients are combined incorrectly, there’s no going back. Salads require two heads of lettuce, or sometimes a tomato and lettuce. If the wrong combo is served, customers will refuse it flat out. The order can still be fulfilled, but by this point, too much time has likely been lost.
 

Overcooked

Alright, who did it? Just fess up.

Up to four players can engage in Overcooked’s madness, and this can be much more fun than playing solo. Having more players requires more teamwork. Delegating tasks is key, as is working around each level’s unique surprises.

For example, one level takes place on a moving pirate ship where tables shift with the waves. Changing with the level is the only way to win each round, but in the heat of cooking it’s not always easy to juggle these challenges with all the other cooking tasks.

Accoutrement

Multiplayer is where Overcooked shines. In single player, one player controls two cooks, making it very difficult. The game uses a simple two-button system to interact with objects, but it is not the controls that make Overcooked tough. Coordinating two tasks at the same time is incredibly challenging, especially with the game’s timer. This high difficulty makes it nearly impossible to complete the game solo.

There is also a very strange way to play called “couple’s mode.” In this game mode, two players use one controller to play Overcooked, with each half of the controller assigned to one of the two cooks. In this scenario, only two controllers are needed to control all four cooks.

These varying ways to play make for a rewarding experience.

Dinner is Served

Overcooked’s sound and graphics perfectly present the game’s wacky tone. The stylized, cartoonish graphics feature big faces and bubbly visuals. Watching the little cooks scramble back and forth is endearing to watch. However, Overcooked sometimes feels bare bones and leaves some levels feeling sparse.
 

Overcooked

Competitive cooking cars. What a time to be alive.

The game’s music perfectly captures both the game’s overall tone and a specific mood for each level. Melodies, including everything from elevator music for restaurants and pirate shanties, hasten as the timer for each level counts down.

The music and graphics keep the game light and cute, serving as a contrast to the challenge of gameplay and the constant race against the clock.

Overall

Overcooked is the quintessential party game. Its mechanics are not overly complex and the its tone is fun.

It slowly eases players into increasingly difficult challenges, giving the game a gradual slope. The presentation is quirky and beautiful.

Overcooked was reviewed on Xbox One using a code for the game provided by the publisher.

 

Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.

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OVERCOOKED REVIEW: KEEP ON COOKING

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall85%

GAMEPLAY9

Overcooked offers a single-player experience is overly challenging, but multiplayer makes up for it.

GRAPHICS8

Cartoonish graphics mix well with the cutesy art style to create a loveable look for Overcooked.

SOUND9

Stylized music for a variety of zones creates a true auditory experience. If ears could eat, they would never go hungry.

STORY8

For a silly co-op puzzle game, Overcooked puts some serious fun into its plot via a post-apocalyptic tale of cooking.

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