Overcooked review, the perfect recipe?

OvercookedTomatoes need chopping, the fire from the overcooked mushroom soup is spreading and there’s no clean plates. To top it all off the ship is rolling in the waves and the counters are sliding across the deck of the galleon. This believe it or not is the norm in Overcooked . A splendid game that deserves to be in every game collection.

Overcooked is the new couch Co-op game from Ghost Town Games published by Team 17 and when I say co-op I’ve never meant it as much as I do now. When you and your friends or family co-operate and find an efficient method of completing orders it can look like a perfectly choreographed dance. If however there is a breakdown in communication then things can quickly turn into a hilarious flaming inferno. The idea behind the game is to work either on your own or with friends to prepare recipes and deliver them complete and within a time limit. You have to juggle multiple tasks in order to gain the full 3 stars and of course there’s one or two twists along the way.

Everything from the charming menu music to the gloriously simple yet effective art style instantly puts you in a good mood. The music plays a big part in this game in setting the atmosphere. One minute it’s putting a smile on your face then as the tempo increases it panics you into making foolish mistakes as the clock counts down. The dramatic music playing during the opening cut scene is beautiful to listen to. I found myself sitting there just listening for a while before continuing through the dialogue.

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The controls are very easy to pick up with only two buttons required, but there’s also a few tricks that you can use to speed tasks up, that the tutorial doesn’t teach you. Discovering these time-saving tricks is very satisfying and as such I won’t spoil it by telling you anymore about them but what I will say is that the thought that has gone into the controls and the gameplay in general makes this game an absolute blast to play and extremely rewarding.

The level design is exceptional and I really can’t give the team enough credit here. A lot of time and thought has obviously gone into the design and it pays off big time. Kitchens start off nice and simple before becoming more complex and in many cases, dynamic. Couple that with the variety of recipes and tasks you must complete and your progress through the game will feel varied with each level feeling unique. At the start of each level, my fellow chefs and I would plan out our strategy yet no matter how good we think we’ve planned it, the level finds a way to descend us into disorganised chaos.

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The level select screen would have been easy to just do a typical map screen like many games of this type do but not Overcooked. Once again thought has gone into the design and you get to drive a little van around the map allowing you to easily navigate your way around and find those levels you need to perfect to get the caveated three stars.

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The game supports solo, versus modes and local co-op play but there’s no online play. This may feel like a bit of a silly omission but I feel leaving online multiplayer out was a good decision. Any age group and people of all abilities can try to master this game and it requires good teamwork and communication for it to be enjoyable as a group and I feel playing with random people would take away the fun. I fear people would have been too concerned with trying not to incur the wrath of Mr or Mrs angry randomer to be able to enjoy themselves.

Playing Overcooked solo is a different beast to co-op. It’s not quite as fun as playing with friends but is just as hectic and very challenging as you switch between two chefs available for you to utilise. It’s frustrating knowing that any mistake made is yours alone and that you can’t try to blame someone else. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy solo play because even when playing alone this game is more fun than almost any other out there.

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If i had to pick something to criticise and it truly is hard to find something, it would have to be that you can’t (at least I can’t see the option) have multiple save games. I’m progressing through the game with my wife but it would be nice to be able to have a separate save for solo play and keep it separate from my co-op save.  Like I said though it’s a minor criticism and one that I can live with.

In conclusion, Overcooked is the most fun I’ve had playing a game since the old days of Worms, Bomberman, Micro Machines, Goldeneye and the original Mario Kart game. It really is that good. A simple sounding concept has been thoughtfully and lovingly crafted into a masterpiece and is one of, if not the best couch co-op game ever made (NOTE: I thought long and hard before declaring that but I’m comfortable that this game justifies the statement) . At a mere £10-£13 this is an absolute bargain of a game for the enjoyment you will get out of it.

Simply put, Overcooked deserves to be at the top of your “to play” list. If we scored games with numbers, this would without any hesitation get top marks.

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