Underneath the cute visuals and simple premise, Overcooked will deliver some of the most enjoyably stressful gaming moments you’ve had in a very long time.
Developed by: GhostTown Games
Published by: Team 17
Available on: PC, XBOX ONE and PS4
Reviewed on: PC
Overcooked sets out to do one thing, bring back the couch co-op experience, and boy does it deliver. Working in the kitchens of the Onion Kingdom with up to 3 friends will often result in shouting, heavy planning, and maybe someone sleeping on the sofa…. But when it all slots together, the cutesy aesthetic, basic two button control scheme, and simple premise make it one of my favourite games of the year so far.
One of overcooked later levels, set on an arctic ridge, with a moving river running through.
Your objective is clear: orders come in the top of the screen, and you have to work together to gather and prepare the ingredients necessary to cook said dishes, and take them to the pass where it goes out to the happy diners. The only problem is the kitchens. In the Onion Kingdom, the stages vary from swaying ships where the counter-tops move with the waves, the back of moving lorries, where one wrong move could throw you onto the road, and even out into the depths of space, where you have to contend with airlocks and revolving stations. It’s these elements that add to the tension of Overcooked, where one wrong move could mean the difference between passing the level with flying colours, or barely scraping one star out of the map.
Utilising a brilliantly simple two button control setup, you’ll quickly find yourself zipping across the Onion Kingdom in your van, and if you only have the one controller they have you covered. Activating split pad mode allows two people to share a controller, with one person using the left triggers and stick and vice versa. It’s this level of simplicity that really shines through in this game, with each recipe needing two to four ingredients, and little to none actual kitchen knowledge to pull off: Soup requires three of ether mushroom, onion or tomato, chopped and cooked, and that’s it. Burgers need cooked meat and salad in a bun, and Fish and chips is self explanatory, and in this simplicity that Overcooked really flourishes.
Things are starting to heat up!
Co-operation is at the heart of the Overcooked design, and it’s at its best when played with friends, but unfortunately that comes at the cost of the single player experience. Using only two chefs, one at a time, can lead to some frustrating moments, especially when there is no marker on your active character. There are some mechanics in place to make the experience smoother, such as setting one chef to to a job, then when you swap over, they will carry on until the job is finished. But some of the later levels seem almost like a 3 star completion is out of reach, whereas with a co-op partner it never feels like the game has wronged you, and there was always something you could have done better.
Overcooked succeeds in what it sets out to do, and that’s be an amazing co-op experience, but it does so at a cost of the single player, so If you’ve got a group of friends, a couch and are looking for a game your next marathon session, then Overcooked is definitely the game for you. But if you’re more of a solo person, then maybe look elsewhere.
I give Overcooked a 8 out of 10