Move over Cooking Mama and Diner Dash, Overcooked is a new game which will have you second guessing what it means to play culinary games altogether. In a stress-fueled, changing kitchen environment, players must work together in order to truly master the kitchen and make it out on top.
Overcooked starts off with introducing players to its seemingly simple plotline. Rather than having the typical “moving to the big city” or “taking over your aunt’s diner” backstory, Overcooked is much more silly and works perfectly with the game’s quirky style. Tasked with defeating a giant spaghetti monster, you and your culinary companions must master different kitchens and cooking scenarios to save the world from pasta overload.
Similar to most culinary games, players will excel through levels where the kitchens, recipes, and overall method of cooperation will become progressively more difficult. Starting off at level one, you and your kitchen mates must put together simple recipes which include dicing, frying, boiling, and other actions to prepare and serve food. For example; in order to build a burger, one player will have to chop the tomatoes and lettuce and then bring the items to the burger cook. The burger cook will then fry the meat, put all the ingredients together, and then send it off for consumption (and probably wash a few dishes here and there).
Although Overcooked has a gameplay style that sounds simple, the kitchens will change and the environments will manipulate in different ways as you level up. Countertops may slide around the room or the ground will separate into different levels, which ultimately forces the players to time their actions and work hand-in-hand to succeed. What was once a seemingly manageable task, becomes extremely difficult to overcome — something no cooking game has really done before.
Not only is Overcooked just downright fun to play, it’s immersive as well — depending on how you play, of course. While I was playing one of the burger levels, my kitchen mate and I developed nicknames for burgers. We called the bun-and-meat-only burgers “meatheads,” the bun-and-lettuce-only burgers “grassheads,” and the complete burgers “full houses.” These are methods you will need to develop if you want to be as efficient as possible! As my mate brought out the ingredients to chop, I had to prepare the plates so we were often screaming at each other saying things like “ONE MEATHEAD. I NEED ONE MEATHEAD. MEATS IN THE FRYER. LET’S PREP THE GRASSHEAD. I NEED ONE GRASSHEAD. FULL HOUSE IS ALMOST DONE,” and other kitchen exchanges too vulgar to mention.
Another aspect of play that I have never experienced in a culinary game before was the specialization of labor. Rather than have everyone try to accomplish a variety of tasks, you find that some players are better suited when it comes to cooking and prepping, while some players are better at chopping and washing dishes. This aspect of “letting everyone do what they do best” was something I have never really encountered in a cooking game, or any life simulator-style game, for that matter. Specialization and efficiency — who would’ve thought?
Although earning a full three stars proved to be super difficult (almost bringing us to murder each other at times), it felt extremely rewarding when we reached the highest level together. Once you earn extra characters and different rewards, you forget negative experiences like … being so angry with your cooking companion for not passing you the lettuce in time, so you literally run up to them in their chair and playfully choke them to death. Yes — it happens.
For those who don’t play well with others, Overcooked can be played in single player mode, but it is definitely not how the game was intended to be played. Rather than have someone working with you to make the kitchen run smoothly, single players will have to shift in-between characters which makes ultimate efficiency almost impossible. Even after putting hours into it and mastering most of the game, I still couldn’t play single player and manage to produce even half as much as I did when I had a partner playing with me.
All-in-all, there isn’t much to be said about Overcooked aside from the fact that it is an ingenious, well-thought, yet completely simple cooking game. If you enjoy working with others to accomplish a goal and love fast paced style games, Overcooked is just for you. If you choose to incorporate real-life role play into it like we did, than you may have an even better time. Either way, be sure to check out Overcooked on Steam for just $16.99. Trust me, it’s worth it!
This review of Overcooked is based on a review copy for PC which was provided by the developer.