“There’s gonna be a hot time in the old town tonight…”
Developer: Ghost Town Games Ltd.
Publisher: Team17 Digital Ltd.
Release Date: Aug 3, 2016
# of Players: 1-4
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Score: A- (90%)
Just what the
doctor chef ordered in this era of “social” videogaming being primarily online, Ghost Town Games’ brilliant, peppy Overcooked is also a great family-friendly breath of fresh air as well as a perfect party game for up to four players. The game is a fun hybrid of elements from the classic PS1 import Ore No Ryouri (or it’s Americanized “remake” Cook, Serve, Delicious!), with a dash of Diner Dash for good measure.
Everything clicks right off the bat with that humorous tutorial that teaches you the basics, to the charming, colorful and cute visual style, bouncy tunes and yes, that fast-paced gameplay. There’s a story about feeding an ultimate demon meals that will keep it from chomping the kingdom you’re in, but it’s just gravy on the tasty as heck cake here. The assorted kitchens you cook in under all sorts of hilariously hellish conditions and the rotating cast of chefs you’ll meet make this one a game that will make you laugh a lot even when things are collapsing on the cooking front.
Yep, things get pretty heated pretty quickly in this instant classic, folks…
As you travel across the fairly large Onion Kingdom map, the restaurants you work in range from normal-looking diner type joints to some wacky places out of a Food Network nightmare fantasy scenario. All I’ll say is by the time you’re trying to serve up meals as your kitchen is split in half by an earthquake or you need to run between multiple food trucks speeding down a highway, you’ll be falling off something laughing. You’ll also see outer space kitchens, lava and ice map kitchens and even a dark dungeon-like cooking area, each presenting their own set of crazy challenges.
Preparing meals in the game is initially simple, with few easy step to learn. Yet as you play, multiple ingredient combos, finicky customers who want it their way, and yes, relying on tight teamwork from your fellow former couch potatoes is key to success. Ingredients need to be prepared in a certain order, cooking stuff too long results in your meal burning or causing a fire, and by or before the mid-game, you’ll be sweating as if you’re actually cooking for all those cranky, impatient cartoon people. But you’ll be loving every minute of it.
On PC, having four controllers around, or a keyboard and a few controllers is a must. The game actually supports two players using a single gamepad, a good thing in showing unruly kids (and unrulier adults) how to play nicely with each other. I had a few friends over when my code arrived, so we played and had a blast until my laptop had a little lockup issue. One friend who had his laptop with him bought his own copy of the game and we ended up restarting on his system, bettering our scores in the stages previously played.
The game runs flawlessly as far as I’ve seen and yes, makes for some truly fantastic party play, poky elbows and all. Solo, it’s tougher from the outset, but can be tackled if you’re willing to restart missions after some trial and error to nail the timing down. My money says you’ll end up roping in a friend to pop over for some popovers, though. One strike against the game to some will be the lack of online play. But here’s a case to defend a game that MAKES you get people to come to YOU to play it together just like a great board or card game does. That’s quite commendable these days, I say.
So, yeah. Overcooked is a strong BUY as well as a great game that will never get cold for a few hot reasons. Team 17 and Ghost Town have a winner here as well as a Game of the Year contender if there’s a party game category out there. Hmmm. if there isn’t… I’m guessing one will need to be created, right?
Review code provided by the publisher