While I'm not much of a chef in real life, Overcooked gave me an opportunity at the profession in wacky fashion. From developer Ghost Town Games and publisher Team17 Digital, Overcooked aims to bring back the frantic, mini-game filled romps of yesterday in this hilarious couch co-op title.
The game's crazy premise revolves around you, the player, being the supreme chef of the land meant to save it from the beast. The Onion Kingdom faces a dire threat in this monstrous spaghetti creature, and it is up to you to feed it until it's fat face is stuffed. However, you're no match when the apocalypse first occurs, so in order to prevent the destruction of the world, the Onion King sends you back in time to hone your skills as a chef. Starting in the early '90s, you must increase your repertoire of recipes in order to have a chance to save the Planet in the future.
Players pick their chef and go to work without much more thought in it than that. The game revolves around, well, being a chef. Played either in single-player or cooperatively, players step into the kitchen and attempt to fulfill orders in rapid succession to maintain customer happiness while receiving big ol' tips in the process. Don't let the sound fool you - this game gets hectic quick. Even in the first few levels will have you dashing madly around attempting to maintain some semblance of a kitchen. However, there might be any number obstacles, such as pedestrians, fires, dirty dishes, and more you'll end up contending with.
The wackiness of the game comes from its simple mechanics. There's really only a few buttons to utilize, but in the sheer insanity of trying to keep up with orders makes you hesitate. Did you hit the right button and start chopping? Or did you just throw your food on the ground while you were rushing around? Progressing through the game opens up new recipes with additional challenges and demands. The initial recipes involve cooking three different variations of soup using mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes. It doesn't take long before you are putting together burgers with optional toppings, fish and chips, pizza and more. When you have six or more orders waiting to be served, it becomes a scramble to manage everything while moving around in the kitchen.
Hands down, this game is designed for couch co-op, especially as the game does not include online multiplayer. Playing the campaign alone is still fun and frantic, but it doesn't deliver the same level of promise and fun. If anything, it's more challenging as you're controlling two separate chefs by switching back and forth. From a multiplayer perspective, keeping everything moving while working together with up to three other players simultaneously just adds more to the overall craziness of the game. Not to mention, you'll be cooking in some of the craziest locations. An ordinary looking kitchen will suddenly split in half due to an earthquake, or you may be serving Eskimos by dashing across floating ice. Let's not talk about the missions that include moving trucks, separately the cooking, prep and cleaning areas.
Overcooked's colorful visuals, catchy music, and the simple premise is incredibly fun. It's a great party game that will offer some great fun while still providing a nice challenge to get three stars on all the stages. Since the game uses a three-star ranking system, there's a decent amount of replay value as you attempt to get a higher score each time. There are also nine different competive multiaplyer levels to play with your friends.
Note: The Overcooked review is based on a digital PS4 copy of the game, provided by the publisher.