Feast your thumbs on this mouthwatering sequel
Cooking games have something of an unfair reputation. In a post-Diner Dash world, ‘cooking game’ has grown synonymous with ‘casual’ for many. As someone with real-life experience working in a kitchen who has now played both Overcooked games, I’m here to tell you that there’s very little truly ‘casual’ about the experience. This follow-up proves it’s still the king of all of your kitchen nightmares and fever dreams. Playing alone is a test of your personal organisational skills, but it’s your friendships that will be thoroughly tested when you’re playing locally or, for the first time, online. As before, you can chop and change between two chefs while playing solo. Understandably this slows down the pace of proceedings but it can still feel frantic and, at times, frustrating as, much like in a reallife kitchen, you simply can’t be in two places at once (no matter how much your chef may want you to be). No different to its predecessor in this regard, the sequel is at its best when you bring a full roster of chefs controlled by your best buds to the table.
Playing solo simply doesn’t present the same challenge – not least of all because the star requirements are significantly lowered. Multiplayer, in all its forms, is the real test of skill. Early levels simmer you gently, reacquainting you with familiar modular meal prep steps alongside plenty of new ones. There is a delectable selection of new recipes and chaotic kitchens here, with subsequent levels cycling between cuisine themes so you don’t stuff yourself to the gills on any one thing from this smorgasbord. Between burritos and burgers there’s sushi and even cake! The only negative is that there’s no 3D printer add-on available that allows you to eat your creations.
Not that you’ll be distracted by hunger for long; before you know it, that simmer has turned into a full-on flambé and you’re attempting to tango with multi-stage levels. One moment you’ll be trying to contain a small-ish fire in a kitchen on a hot air balloon, the next you’ll have crashlanded and suddenly your discerning clientele will be ordering from a completely different menu. And while the inertia of these levels means you’ll need to think on your feet, they do have a habit of getting easier as they go on. As one of the pals we roped in to do some cooking noted, it was an odd feeling to be struggling more with the remnants of the kitchen from a crashed alien spaceship than the surreal, swirling vortex hallucination that immediately followed it. But even when Overcooked 2
“LITTLE IS AS SATISFYING AS YOUR TEAM WORKING LIKE A WELL-OILED MACHINE.”
dishes out the challenge, there’s little else quite as satisfying as seeing your team pull together to become a well-oiled deepfrying machine in the face of magical portals, moving platforms, and tricky switches.
TOO MANY COOKS
The familiar, gleefully slapstick sense of humour returns in full force. Dashing with e, occasionally battering your fellow kitchen staff in the process with a comical ‘thwack’, has yet to get old. Shenanigans are helped along by a soundtrack as joyful as it is eclectic, featuring happy ukulele riffs and theremins for a good old-fashioned spooky time, all sandwiched between that now customary, wistful harmonica refrain heard on the main menu. Speaking of your bread and butter, you can now only switch chef avatars by backing out to the main menu and not between levels like last time. While that’s only a mild annoyance, there are a fair few of these odd UI adjustments that only serve to bother rather than improve the experience.
The sequel also attempts to give you slightly more to do as you travel around the overworld, introducing rampactivating switches. It’s not especially deep interaction and more often than not feels like needless busywork when you’d rather get into the next kitchen. That said, there’s nothing wrong with trying new things and this bit of extra garnish doesn’t take away from that delicious core menu. Definitely a great game for friends and family… though don’t play it with your new flam-bae.
More of that same set menu you know and love, spiced up with plenty of frantic action, this sequel will see you salivating over its little flourishes. We could take or leave the garnish though. Jess Kinghorn
It’s you and your sous against hordes of the eternally hungry Unbread.
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB TEAM 17 DEV TEAM 17, GHOST TOWN GAMES
Right Surely a sushi restaurant staffed solely by cephalopods is unethical?Below In Versus mode you go head-to-head, serving up a feast for points. Above left There are familiar faces to unlock, plus plenty of new chefs too.