I bring you something very special today! A friend of mine that I podcast with named Matt Walsh played through overcooked with me in 2016 and I asked if he’d like to write a guest review. I hope you guys enjoy it and without further ado, here is a review of an incredible game that we both loved, Overcooked.
Like a great taco or a pair of underwear that fits just right, good couch co-op games are such gems. Couch co-op games are special in the way that you get to share every moment of your gaming experience with your friends/family/whoever you play with, whether it’s shouts of encouragement, gasps of awe, or pure, hysterical laughter. Overcooked, a game by Ghost Town Games, is probably one of the best co-op experiences I’ve ever had in gaming.
Overcooked is a cooking simulation game in which you (and whoever you choose to play with) race against the clock trying to prepare, cook, and serve as many dishes as you possibly can. While the controls and gameplay are extremely simplistic, the required amount of teamwork and challenge you’ll face are great. The story of Overcooked lands you in Onion Kingdom, attempting to satiate the hunger of a giant meatball monster. After failing, the Onion King sends you back in time to become better chefs which in turn will better prepare you for the day that you once again will need to feed the meatball.
Gameplay is broken down into a worlds-and-levels system (think Mario). Every world is themed (i.e. Pirate Ships, Outer Space, The Antarctic) and typically adds a new ingredient or meal to your menu as well as an environmental challenge. In each level, meals are prepared in 6 steps:
Step 1: Gather Ingredients – this is done by approaching the box with the correct ingredient symbol on top
Step 2: Prepare Ingredient – this typically includes chopping said ingredient
Step 3: Cook Ingredients – this is done by placing the ingredients in a boiling pot, oven, pan, or fryer.
Step 4: Plate Meal – this is done by satisfying the order listed at the top of the screen (i.e. fish and chips would require cooked potatoes for fries and fried fish on the same plate)
Step 5: Serve Meal – this is done by taking the plated dish to the serving bay
Step 6: Wash Dishes – this is done by taking your dirty dishes to the sink
…and that’s really it. It seems so simple, right? “Yeah I’ve played diner dash a few times, this shouldn’t be a problem.” WRONG! This game requires such a large amount of teamwork and strategy that it creates such a stressful, yet still fun, environment.
In each level, you can earn 1 to 3 stars. Stars are earned by earning points. Points are earned by serving correct dishes and earning tips (by serving them in a timely manner). Now, sure, getting 1 star on every level is simple and getting 2 stars on every level might be semi-challenging, but Christian and I settled for nothing less than 3 stars on every level. There were countless times that we’d restart a level 5 seconds in because one of us fell off the ice, or dropped an ingredient. I’d find us strategizing on the pause screen, trying to concoct the perfect plan to get all of those yummy meals out to all of those hungry customers (that you never even see). We beat the game in about 4 sittings (all 1 hour to 2 hours) and that’s including the two short, themed expansions to the game. Almost every day I’d text Christian “Overcooked today?” because I just couldn’t wait to jump back in and discover new meals to prepare or new worlds to serve food in.
Ghost Town Games is a company comprised of just two people and that’s one of the most impressive parts about Overcooked. They’ve created such a solid game and gave the gamers just enough to always be craving more. They’ve even littered the game with adorable, unlockable chefs (even you, grumpy chef). They’ve also included an additional co-op mode in which you all share one single controller. Christian and I have yet to dive into that (what seems like a magnificent nightmare) mode. Another mode that can be unlocked as you progress through the campaign is a competitive mode. This adds a new challenge to the game because you’ll be controlling at least two chefs by yourself, with no help (so being a multi-tasker is a must!). If I HAD to complain about something, it would be the lack of content (and that’s only because I loved it so much that I want to keep playing levels endlessly). Based off the rate in which they’ve already released two expansions, it seems like Ghost Town Games is going to keep up with timely additional releases, which is great!
Overcooked is the perfect game to sit down with some friends or family members and have a great time. I guarantee you’ll be shouting and laughing within seconds into the first level. It’s great to see that there’s a studio out there that still cares about releasing a great couch co-op game. Now, go put on that perfectly fitting underwear, grab a friend, and get cooking!
I give Overcooked 4.5/5 hungry meatballs.