Making Cooking Fun
I hate cooking. Not only am I extremely bad at it, but trying to work with a myriad of ingredients and throwing them together to create something even better just confuses me. I can make a grilled cheese when the occasion calls for it, but that’s about it. Due to my lack of love for cooking, imagine my surprise when I played Overcooked on Nintendo Switch and actually had a great time with it.
Now, Team 17 has delivered yet again with Overcooked! 2. This time, it’s releasing on all platforms on the same day, and the Nintendo Switch is included. Can this sequel recapture the cooperative cooking mashup magic of the first game?
Once you go into the campaign of Overcooked! 2, you and up to three friends are trying to prevent a disaster from befalling the Onion Kingdom. Instead of a giant monster, you’re trying to satiate the appetites of the un-bread (dead bread slices that came back to life). Unable to satisfy their hunger, the Onion King sends you all on a journey to learn how to cook and collaborate better to save the Kingdom.
If this sounds familiar, it’s almost a copy and paste of the story of the first game,l the only difference being that you’re not thrown back in time. Luckily, there’s some humorous writing with the Onion King and his dog, Kevin, that was more than enough to prevent me from getting bored.
On the Clock
Moving into the meat of Overcooked! 2, the gameplay is just as tight and demanding as before. You and your friends are thrown into various kitchens where you’ll be completing orders as quickly as possible before the time runs out. Do well enough, and you’ll get three stars. If you fail to get even one star, you have to play through the level again.
There are no major changes to how Overcooked! 2 plays from the first game. There are just some new recipes, new ways to prepare food, and some new challenges to manage while trying to cook. While that may sound like a knock against it, that’s not the case. Overcooked! 2 plays around with its levels and environments to keep introducing new obstacles and scenarios that are more fun than the last.
What amazes me about the game is that, despite how frantic it is at times, it feels much more manageable than the first game. There were moments in Overcooked where I never quite understand what to do, and it would be a struggle to start each new level. In Overcooked! 2, the instructions are much clearer, meaning that my friends and I were able to learn the new recipes and deal with the new obstacles much quicker. As such, I had a lot more fun, as I felt like I had more time to breathe and understand the game.
The story mode isn’t the only thing players can mess around with in Overcooked! 2. There is an arcade mode, where players can play through different scenarios casually and versus mode, where players are pitted head to head to see who is the better chef.
These modes offer a nice change of pace from the main story mode, and they bring a lot more replay value to the table. If all of your friends know how to play the game, then you can just hop in and cook without having to worry about following a story or getting a set amount of stars. It’s nice to be able to just have fun or flex your competitive side.
Before I get to the final new addition to the game, I want to point out a few more things: first, there are more chefs to unlock in Overcooked! 2. They’re all cute and fun in their own ways, and there are some that are a little off-the-wall as you might expect by this point. Secondly, the game isn’t a serious visual overhaul, but it does look a little cleaner, with better menus and a more diverse soundtrack.
Now I’ll discuss arguably the biggest addition to Overcooked! 2: the online mode. With arcade and versus, you have the option to search for more players online. While this seems like a great idea on paper, there are a few flaws that prevent it from taking off. The first is that the connection is hit or miss. Sometimes, I could get a match with minimal latency and, other times, the lag was so atrocious that it would take a few seconds after I pressed a command for it to actually execute. Furthermore, there’s no effective way to communicate with people online. Without proper voice chat support and the emotes being a poor substitute, it’s a lot easier just playing with your friends locally.
I should also mention that you can play Overcooked! 2 by yourself, but like most co-op games, it’s not all that fun. It’s more tedious than anything else.
That said, the online and the single-player are just additions to help round out the package as a whole. At its core, Overcooked! 2 is still a great experience that is perfect as a party game.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Overcooked! 2 was provided by Team 17.