The gaming industry is starting to focus more and more on developing multiplayer games, but in the rush for online features, local multiplayer almost completely disappeared. Fortunately, every now and then some appear a title made especially for the classic “couch coop”, and Overcooked 2 is probably the most interesting game of its kind released recently. Of course, the 2 in the queue suggests that the current title is a continuation of a previous title. The first Overcooked was a breath of fresh air in the industry, adapting the operation of a restaurant kitchen to one cooperative puzzle game, in which chaos and fun are the most important elements, culinary accuracy and hygiene being second. The second title does not depart much from the original formula, which can be considered both a plus and a minus.
Since it’s only been two years since the release of the original, the independent studio Ghost Town Games he preferred not to start work from scratch. Thus, Overcooked 2 does not look very different on the surface from the original game, nor is it very different from the point of view of game mechanics. In fact, at the base level, the game received only one new feature: the possibility of throwing away the ingredientsotherwise everything behaves identically.
Next we have the opportunity to tackle the entire “story” mode either soloeither co-op up to four people, and the goal of the game is the same. The chefs must cooperate with each other to make the ordered dishes. Each dish is prepared using the available ingredients, and each has its own preparation method, with steps that must be followed. Obviously, being a not very serious game, all this can be done without too much worry. Ingredients can be dropped or thrown on the floor to be picked up and used later, the dishes don’t break, and the kitchens where the action takes place in the game aren’t exactly… conventional.
Each level (or kitchen) is a new puzzle which players must learn before they can become effective. It’s not just the arrangement that’s the problem, although even this can be dynamic during levels, with certain elements being moved along the way, but each level can have different elements that prevent the smooth running of the activity. Some kitchens are in the middle of the street, needing to avoid cars or pedestrians, while other kitchens take place in more exotic locations such as alien planets, in a high-altitude balloon or on rafts in a river.
As crazy as the designs of these kitchens turn out to be, however, they are as well thought out, the real challenge not being the completion of each individual level, but optimizing the way of working to be able to “cook” around all obstacles. Here the cooperation between the two, three or four players plays a very important role, because in the coop mode there is not enough time to make all the recipes by yourself, and the moment one of the players makes a mistake, it can make the difference between a one-star or a three-star rating. Since each level is “scored” with points, and these are awarded based on the speed with which orders are delivered, cooperation in this game is everything. When we consider that progress in the “story” is closely related to the number of stars collected, tempers will certainly heat up between players, especially when something goes wrong.
But all this was also valid in Overcooked 1, what makes the second game special is the fact that kitchen designs are much crazier now and also harder for beginners. It is recommended that you play the original title before Overcooked 2, as the difficulty increases very quickly in the new game. A small part of the difficulty can be decreased by using the new throwing mechanic, but this can create even more problems if not executed correctly, as it can lead to the loss of ingredients and implicitly time.
Ghost Town Games felt that Overcooked 2 should go in even crazier directions than the original game, now introducing mobile platforms that can be controlled by players, kitchens that can change completely during the game, requiring quick adaptation to a new format and new, much more complex recipes. There are some recipes, especially for cakes, where up to four ingredients have to be processed individually, then combined in a mixer and only then put in the oven, a painstaking process where the slightest mistake can completely ruin an order . From this point of view, Overcooked probably “simulates” the activity of a kitchen in some way, but I doubt that kitchens this crazy exist in reality.
Unfortunately, the originality of the levels and the new recipes are the most important elements that differentiate Overcooked 2 from the title released two years ago. The game suffers from the same minor control issues that the original had, with certain interactables being difficult to select in a crowded area. Somewhere the game has a storywhich we avoid describing, as it can be summed up in a single paragraph, so we’d rather let you discover it on your own.
The campaign is still quite short and can be completed in a longer game session or two, a maximum of three medium sessions (2-3 hours each), depending on the skills of the players and the level of cooperation between them. Our recommendation would be to play alongside someone with similar abilities, who has also played titles where reaction speed and attention to detail are important. The game can be fun with someone less skilled, provided you leave your pride, nerves and the need to always be first at the entrance and prepare for a few hours of fun.
After finishing the campaign, the game offers two more multiplayer modes: arches and versuswhich are also available online. In the arcade, the game offers levels from the campaign, with players trying to streamline the cooking process for the highest possible score, while in the versus mode we have completely new levels, where each player controls two chefs in turn (this is how you play and the entire campaign in “single player”) for making recipes. The funny part is that players can sabotage each other and steal their ingredients, dishes or even complete dishes. A good versus player will need to be both a good cook, a skilled saboteur, and a skilled thief to emerge victorious.
We tested the PlayStation 4 version of the game for review, but the game is available on both PC and Xbox One, as well as Nintendo Switch. Since we are dealing with a cartoony game with simple but cute graphicsit makes no sense to think about performance issues, despite the fact that the game runs in Unity Engine, a graphics engine that has had issues with certain consoles in the past. The 60 frames per second ensures a low response time of commands, something very important in such a “frantic” title. Although I haven’t tested the Switch version, the port of the original game ran at 30 frames per second, so it’s likely that the second title will perform similarly. However, the Switch version is the only one that can also be played “on the wearer”, so the performance compromise might be worth it for those who play more “on the go”.
His release Overcooked 2 it couldn’t come at a better time, being a perfect game for summer days when it’s too hot to leave the house. Whether you’re playing it alone or with friends, it’ll provide a few good hours of fun. However, our recommendation is to play the title with at least one other person, as this seems to be the authentic gaming experience for the Overcooked series.