Overcooked! Review

Richard Walker

Food, glorious food! There's loads of it in Overcooked, and with the Onion Kingdom in peril, it's up to you to whip up culinary masterpieces to order, and save the world. As far as the story is concerned, that's pretty much all you need to know. From the moment the brief gibberish exposition is over and you've unsuccessfully managed to feed an insatiable monster, you're sent back in time to learn how to cook faster, better and more efficiently. And so begins your gourmet odyssey.

Overcooked is a fairly bare bones package, its campaign taking you across a pleasant and picturesque world map, rustling up various dishes in an array of weird and wonderful kitchens designed to put your organisational nous, multi-tasking and food preparation skills to the test. Overcooked starts off easy enough, but it's not long before you're having to traverse between kitchens on the back of moving vehicles or cooking stations in icy, slippery arctic conditions.


Here's a nice pirate ship kitchen before the worktops start sliding around.

Starting with humble soups, you'll later graduate to preparing and cooking burgers with lettuce and tomatoes, moving onto fish and chips, and then complicated services consisting of multiple dishes for your increasingly demanding customers. Chuck in harder and more complex kitchens split into two sections and connected by conveyor belts and Overcooked's co-operative culinary gameplay quickly develops into a major challenge that's practically impossible to complete alone.

Overcooked has clearly been built with couch co-op almost purely in mind. Playing it alone is possible, swapping between two chefs in each kitchen using the shoulder buttons, but co-ordinating your culinary activities can be a head-spinning challenge. It can also become rather frustrating when you're dashing around, trying to grab the right ingredients only to pick up the wrong thing as the clock inexorably ticks down and the pressure mounts. This is especially true in the later levels, when failing to keep an eye on your dishes cooking can mean setting fire to your kitchen and having to fight the blaze with an extinguisher.

Attaining three stars on every one of Overcooked's levels is a tall order while playing solo then, but with up to three fellow chefs in co-op, it becomes the kind of thing that could potentially ruin friendships. It's almost impossible not to get swept up in the mania as it ramps up; you'll end up shouting at your friends like Gordon Ramsay in the middle of a particularly stressful episode of Kitchen Nightmares. If that all sounds like no fun at all, you'd be wrong. Playing Overcooked with friends is a laugh.

Should you have too few controllers for a four player co-op session, Overcooked also has a neat controller share feature (just like Micro Machines back in the day) and it works surprisingly well, meaning you can have a two-player game with one controller or four player match with two. There's also a Versus mode if you want to pit your cooking skills against one another, the victor being the chef who can throw out the most orders and rack up the highest score.


Just because this kitchen is in icy tundra, doesn't mean you can't still set it ablaze.

And that's really all there is to Overcooked. There's no online component, no leaderboards and very few extra options to mess around with. There aren't all that many achievements to unlock either, as simply completing one level in each of the world's different environments, completing the game and achieving three stars on each stage is effectively all you really need to do. As achievement lists go, it's not the most varied or inventive, but it does the job.

Whisking you away on an epic cooking journey from simple soups to burgers, pizzas, burritos and beyond, prepping glorious food aboard space stations, in haunted houses and more, Overcooked is a fun and sometimes infuriating party game. The only downside is that as a game so resolutely focused on delivering a co-op experience, it makes the solo experience feel somewhat lacking and often insurmountable.

Be warned: if you are planning on playing Overcooked with friends, don't be surprised if your relationships become somewhat strained. It's a tough and frustrating game, but effortlessly charming, entertaining and enjoyable with it. Tasty.

Overcooked!

A fun but frustrating cooking experience, Overcooked is a fantastic couch co-op party game that will put your friendships to the test. Expect to be shouting and swearing at one another a lot; it gets pretty damn hot in Overcooked's kitchen. If you can't stand the heat, get out! Otherwise, bon appetit.

Form widget
70%
Audio
80%

Overcooked's music is wonderfully jaunty and memorable. I found myself humming along to its tunes like a loon for days.

Visuals
70%

Pleasingly chunky and charming, Overcooked's bold and colourful art style can't help but make you smile. It's nice.

Playability
75%

Simple and straightforward, but fiddly at times, a little more precision in Overcooked's controls wouldn't have gone amiss. When you're trying to prep and pick up ingredients against the clock, getting it wrong can be infuriating. And yet, it's still deliciously addictive.

Delivery
65%

A campaign with dozens of levels across several different locations means you'll be playing for a good few hours, while the competitive Versus adds extra longevity. Not a bad little package.

Achievements
70%

A paltry 11 achievements to unlock and none that are particularly demanding. An easy one to complete; you'll have that full allocation of 1000 Gamerscore in less time than it takes to boil an egg.

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