Take Kitchen Nightmares, a Pixar art style and put them both in a blender. What comes out is as visually appealing as Toy Story but just as stressful as working in a kitchen run by Gordon Ramsay – Overcooked 2!
The follow up to Team 17s 2016 sleeper hit gives the player more dishes to prepare, more excellent (-ly annoying) level design, more input commands and more of the same excellent co-op gameplay.
Overcooked 2 is a simple game where putting straightforward tasks in sequence yields success. The ability to perform any task has been mapped to a single button. The only exception to that is the newly added throwing element. More on that later.
The same button used to pick up and put down ingredients is the same one that chops the food and serves it through the window. Anybody can easily sit down and grasp the gameplay mechanics pretty quickly. Chop some meat, fry it, chop up some cheese, grab a bun, stick it all on a plate and send the burger out to the customer. Simple, right?
In theory, yes. Orders start to pile up. Just when you get into a rhythm of preparing the same dish over and over a customer will want shrimp rather than chicken as an ingredient and it can throw everything off. Overcooked 2 keeps you on your toes. You’re never truly in control, especially when you forget about something in a pan. Sure, you need to wash plates to keep things moving but don’t let the kitchen go up in flames.
As a side note, if a fire starts and everything has gone wrong it’s pretty funny seeing the place burn to the ground after so much work to the contrary.
The goal is to get a three star rating on each level. A two star rating unlocks the next kitchen so progression never really slows down. Each star represents a monetary value received from customers in the restaurant. Getting dishes out in the correct order nets the cash. If you serve items quickly you’ll get a tip which is a nice boost for the three star rating. Missing an order or serving it incorrectly hurts the days takings. Getting three stars on each level is addictive as all hell, beware.
Overcooked as a series is designed for couch co-op. It’s where the game is best. It’s where players can succeed together or end up swearing bloody murder at each other and never speaking again.
If you can’t find a friend to join in the fun, or you and your mates are no longer speaking after the last time you played, there’s a brand new online mode. Unfortunately there’s no voice chat so you and the strangers online are limited to visual emotes for communication. Honestly, I find the time is better spent actually doing the work rather than telling them what you are doing. It should be fairly self evident that I am chopping tomatoes.
If a teammate is wandering around wondering what to do there’s a better way than using emotes. You need meat chopped up? Throw it at his head. That seems to send the message and brings me to my next point.
The previous title saw your chefs running around with ingredients until they reached the work station. Overcooked 2 adds the ability to throw items. This is a big change. Now you have the ability to essentially stock up on items and reduce wait times.
It also adds a new level of strategy. The game has several kitchens with gaps in the middle or large obstacles cutting you and your teammate off from each other. Ingredients may be one side and prep stations on the other. Players can toss items back and forth which speeds up the game hugely. If you get really good at it you can throw items right into pots and pans to begin that process. Kobe!
Overcooked 2 is one of the best couch co-op games out there but the single player is great too. Switching control of two chefs works very well and really keeps things moving. The three star rating system is a cruel mistress. If you can leave a kitchen on two stars you’re a stronger man than I.
Overcooked 2 won’t appear in the game of the year conversation but like many Team 17 games in previous years it merits a mention. This is a game dripping in style, confidence, immersion and polish. It’s systems are tight, fair and approachable.
Rather than spend your time collecting mounds of Unicorn poop in Assassin’s Creed 37 as you stare blankly into the distance, give this a shot. It’s fantastic and I guarantee you’ll actually enjoy whatever amount of time you give to Overcooked 2.
At a budget €24.99 you really can’t go wrong here. Give it a shot! 4 Meltzer’s!