Who’s up for seconds? If you can get served...
“Please sir, can we have some more?” we asked after Ghost Town Games’ first serving of chaotic kitchen capers. Thankfully, unlike in Oliver Twist, they’re a generous sort, and have given us a huge extra dollop of cooperative chopping and baking with sequel Overcooked 2.
This time, the Onion King has accidentally raised the ‘un bread’ after reading through an otherworldly recipe book and they’re starting to devour everything. You’ll have to travel to hone your skills as an expert chef in multiple kitchens in order to vanquish these yeasty fiends. It’s all very silly and stuffed with overbaked puns, but it’s a cute set-up to start you on your new culinary tour. At first you’ll be chopping salads in simple kitchens, but eventually you’ll be juggling baking several kinds of cake in a stage full of conveyer belts and other hazards. It’s utter chaos, but delightful all the same.
The levels are even more varied than the first game, increasing in difficulty as the game progresses. From kitchen rafts where you have to chuck ingredients across to each other, to mines full of karts that change up where kitchen elements are. Our favorite is the hot-air balloon caught in a storm that sees you serving simple salads until it finally plummets into a sushi shop with an entirely new layout and new requests for maki rolls. That sudden change forces you to mix up your approach as you adjust to the new dishes you’re expected to make, and results in some fun challenges.
However, some of the recipes get quite complicated, especially if you’re on a level that uses mixers to beat things together for cakes. You have to throw quite a few things into them before chucking them in the oven to bake, but while most ingredients can be thrown straight in, you inexplicably need to chop up honey to put in them, which feels weirdly out of place for something that you usually get in liquid form. Steaming dumplings also feels a little odd, as you chuck flour straight in the mixer with your meat or fish, which doesn’t sound very tasty to us. They’re minor complaints, and it makes sense to do them this way from a gameplay simplicity perspective, but it does throw you off slightly when the cooking process doesn’t always feel natural.
To balance out some of the more complicated dishes the requirements to reach certain star ratings have been lowered, and the stars needed to unlock later levels are also lower. So while it may be something of a struggle to get out much seafood pasta it won’t hamper your ability to unlock levels and see the rest of the story. It does feel a little offbalance though. In the first game the challenge came in perfecting your skills over time, sometimes revisiting older levels with improved skills to get more stars to unlock levels, but here it’s weighted more toward trying to get
“A solid second serving of one of the best co-op games currently available”
a decent handle on the recipes in the first place.
While Overcooked 2 is best served with others, you can play it solo. You’ll have two chefs to control that you swap between with a button press, so while you set one chef to chopping meat, the other can boil pasta or clean plates to serve up on. It’s a little tricky splitting your thought process in two different directions, but it’s workable.
Variety’s the spice
As well as the main story mode to play through, this sequel introduces two new modes—arcade and versus—to add more variety. Arcade is great for parties, and sees you playing a random level from the game for a high score in quick rounds. Versus really changes things up, though, as the levels are designed for competitive rather than co-operative play. If four of you are playing you’re split into two pairs facing off against each other, and if it’s just two of you to start then you’re each given an extra chef so you have two to jump between.
The versus stages are far more tricksy than anything from the story mode—in a water-based level you compete on two separate floating kitchens that rotate around each other, making it difficult to keep track of where you and your incoming orders are on the screen. The hardest we encountered was in a mine where the area into which you put your completed orders switched sides—if you let your attention drop and accidentally play your perfect tacos on the red team’s belt where your blue team one was originally they’ll get the credit for your order and your points. Something we learned the hard way unfortunately. It’s wonderfully mean, and a great opportunity to get some seriously sneaky victories in over your friends.
On top of all of that, you’ve also got loads of new chef skins to unlock, and secret levels to find on a really cute overworld map while touring in your little bus. Yes, some of the new recipes are almost certainly overly complicated, but this is still a solid second serving of one of the best co-op games currently available, and an utter must if you like playing games with friends.
Left You can play solo by switching between two chefs and giving them tasks.Far Left Versus mode gets super tough to keep track of if it’s just one of you on each team.
right The Onion King is making a real hash of things again, so it’s up to you to sort it out.