Trying Not To Burn Your Food In Overcooked

Being a chef is hard life. You need only look at the likes of Hell’s Kitchen to see just how tough it can be, yet no game has really explored the stress of cooking to order. Just announced for release on PC and consoles next month on 3rd August, Overcooked is a little game that could manage to do just that, through the remarkably simple premise of cooperative cooking. With controls simple enough to split a controller between two players, the demo I’ve played has surprising depth.

Artistically, Overcooked has a clay-like aesthetic that’s charming to look at and bursting with character. With its simple and appealing look comes a game with surprising depth in each level design. Initially the kitchen layouts are basic, though you very quickly have to contend with not just the placement of chopping boards and pans, but  more unconventional hazards as well.

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Things start going a little peculiar when the chefs are placed in stations on either side of a zebra crossing and people are constantly getting in their way as the chefs try to plate up their dish to order. It can get even more adventurous when cooking on a swaying ship, a restaurant in the middle of an Earthquake, or even on an iceberg.

It’s quite easy to see that this is a game that’s not meant to be played on its own, as things can become overwhelming very quickly. It soon becomes a lesson in ruthless efficiency, item and time management, and dodging the hazards. Food can also burn, even causing fires, so keeping an eye on things is imperative.

Things click into place when you connect multiple controllers or set it up so that one controller can be used by two players at the same time. With up to four players cooperatively, it’s a little less overwhelming, especially if there is constant communication between you and another player. Efficiency will reward you with more stars to unlock levels, which are earned as you complete dishes before running out of time.

Overcooked-IL

As it heads toward release, there’s one major problem on the horizon for Overcooked. Currently there is no online multiplayer option, which for a cooperative game such as this means it’s in a tricky spot. Online multiplayer is a difficult proposition for small indie developers, I completely understand that, but when a game such as this is bettered by playing together, having to have people in the same place can limit them and be a costly omission.

On top of the cooperative campaign there is also a competitive mode, but unfortunately I was unable to test this. That said the maps that were unlocked during the campaign also make an appearance, such as the aforementioned swaying ship and I can certainly see the potential for a party night of culinary mayhem.

Overcooked is certainly a dish that has a lot of love and care put into it. It’s certainly got a lot of chops, but if the internet was Gordon Ramsay in Hell’s Kitchen, they’d have a little bit to worry about when it comes to that crucial ingredient that turns it from a bland forgettable dish to a stunning masterpiece. If we were able to easily play with friends around the world, this could be a great effort, but we have to make do with local multiplayer for starters. It’s still immensely fun, but it could be so much more.

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1 Comment

  1. I am excited for this and will be preordering it as its right up my street. I prefer my multiplayer local when possible so I don’t mind there being no online modes.

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