Overcooked is one of the most original titles made in the last five years or so. After its initial announcement, I followed it diligently. Its cute visual style was instantly gripping, and its concept seemed incredibly smart. Shortly after, Team17 picked up the publishing rights, further hinting that something great was in the works. The two man team at Ghost Town Games now had the backing and support of a well-known publisher, making things shape up quite nicely. After its release, I had the awesome pleasure of reviewing its freshman outing, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. I actually wanted more, much more, and the small DLC offerings that came out were not enough to satisfy my appetite. Those second helpings finally hit this summer, and I have had a blast getting back in the kitchen. Overcooked 2 is here, and it is every bit as good as the first.
For those unfamiliar, the Overcooked series see’s up to four players taking their talents into the kitchen in an effort to produce as many completed dishes as they can in a set amount of time. This gameplay is eased into in earlier levels, allowing you to test your culinary abilities before you get to the big leagues. The execution is simple: know your recipe, prep and cook, plate and deliver. Doing this smoothly and consistently means happy customers, which in turn means higher scores. Everything is not as simple as cut, cook, and clean though. Levels are wittily and uniquely designed. They come with a catch, as they often have deterrents that players must work around in order to succeed. Lava, portals, and splitting earth are just a few of the oddities in the kitchen that can make it more of a nightmare than having Gordon Ramsay find out that you have no lamb sauce. Working together is the only sure fire way to make sure you take home the most tips, and co-op gameplay is what the game was made for.
Each level has a set amount of time, and the more you can produce within that time the more score you end with. During the campaign mode, you need to earn up to three stars on each level to progress. More points means more stars. All levels can be done with any combination of one to four players. The more players, the more points needed to earn stars. Each new dish starts with a quick overview, explaining what ingredients you need and how to cook them. After that, you are on your own. Grab ingredients and start chopping (in most cases) and the insanity will ensue. Boil noodles, bake your pizza, and slice those veggies, because there is a whole slew of recipes to make. Sushi, Burritos, Cakes, and more have all made their way to the recipe book. In addition to new recipes, some new mechanics have come to the kitchen too. You can now THROW ingredients, that’s right, throw them. It’s a move that probably happens at fast food restaurants all the time, but now you can do it in the DIGITAL WORLD! It’s actually great, specifically for co-op, as it will save you from running back and forth. This is particularly helpful for levels that have gaps in the floor or moving. It is also helpful in single player, as you can throw ingredients into the respective cookware, which if on the burner, gets things cooking from a distance. Note: You cannot throw cooked ingredients, only raw! That crosses the unsanitary line.
Also new this time around are some gameplay modes, including head to head battles, online play, and arcade mode, the latter of which is my personal favorite of the three. This randomizes levels, allowing you to play without the worry of picking. Though it switches things up, I did not find it rewarding long-term, which is probably the series biggest hurdle to overcome. Aside from star gathering, there needs to be something that makes it worth playing after you beat it. The other hurdle almost certainly is single player, as it is still significantly less fun than co-op. As a whole package, yes, Overcooked 2 is definitely recommendable, but if you are the solo type, either bring some friends along or pass on playing. It’s just not the most fun to manage two characters in a time controlled situation when zero AI help is involved.
Overcooked 2 is a great follow up to such a well done first entry. It has all the charm of the original and then some, and does not worry about introducing a burdening plot line outside of the goofy basics. It keeps things simple and clean, while introducing new mechanics and modes that please the palette. Ghost Town Games has my eternal, endearing love for this series, and I cannot wait to (hopefully) play a new entry every other year. All I ask is now for a level editor, you know, the one I suggested in my first review that uh, must have been overlooked. But now, another suggestion as we part ways. GIVE ME A MANAGEMENT STYLED SPIN OFF. I would love to start my own restaurant within the Overcooked world that lets you run the show from a different perspective. But that is just my two-cents. Overcooked 2 is great, and if you loved the first one, there is no excuse not to make partake in seconds.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final sCore: 9/10
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