It’s been a while since we’ve had a game like Overcooked. It is a frenetic, chaotic and entertaining experience. Filled with moments of intense joy and frustration. Though not frustrating in any way that is a detriment to the game. Overcooked is one of the best games of the year and has earned a warm place in my heart.
On paper, Overcooked sounds really simple. You, and up to three of you friends, take on the various kitchens, or levels, and have to cook recipes in a certain amount of time. Once the time has run out all the orders you have completed are tallied up and you are given anywhere between a 0-3 stars rating. The more points you earn from finishing orders the more stars you get. One star is required to complete a level but each level requires an increasing amount of stars to unlock it. Levels start easy enough with only one recipe and an easy kitchen to maneuver through. Rather quickly, however, you learn new recipes and eventually you have to be able to cook several different recipes at once. If that wasn’t challenging enough for you, then just wait until the levels go from being hard to “how the hell do I even cook in this place?” Later stages get extremely creative, and outlandish, especially in the latter half of the game. One moment your cooking soups on a sailboat with shifting countertops and the next your cooking burritos in a spaceship with rotating rooms. As challenging and crazy as that sounds it never feels like the game is too hard to best, a testament to developer Ghost Town Games design and balance. By the time you get to the later stages you’ve learned how to deal with the chaos. Provided you have good friends with whom to communicate with.
Overcooked’s gameplay is fun and chaotic but what really makes it a wonderful experience is that it is a testament to the old days of “couch co-op.” There is no online play in Overcooked, so you can’t buddy up with your pal who is at his house and play together. If you want to play with others you’ll have to bring over some friends and controllers. That might sound like a detriment but it is far from it. I love the fact that you have to play the game with people next to you as it is what makes the game so enjoyable. You and your friends will be yelling at each other to hurry up, finish up recipes, or to get out of the way. Frustration quickly sets in among you and your friends but when you finally beat that hard level or obtain that final star you feel nothing but pure satisfaction and joy. The moments when my friends and I created strategies to beat a level and it led to us being successful were moments that made me fall in love with Overcooked. After you get a taste of how great it is to play with your friends next to you then you’ll want to share Overcooked with everyone.
Sort of like Mario, there are different Worlds with numerous stages to conquer. As you progress you open up new parts of the map. One of my favorite things is moving through the map as you get to drive a little bus and go from one level to another. The animations and art are nothing spectacular but it is very charming and colorful which sets the tone for the game and gives it a “happy” feeling. Apart from the main stages, there are also versus stages for you and you friends to go head-to-head. These are equally as fun as you and your friends will quickly claim bragging rights over each other.
I loved every minute of Overcooked. It was one of the most enjoyable and fun experiences I had with a game this year. Overcooked successfully reinvigorates “couch co-op.” Ghost Town’s game is one of my favorite games of the year and I think everyone should give it a shot, even non-gamers. At its core, Overcooked is a social game meant to be enjoyed with some of your best friends and that is what I love about it. Keep releasing more DLC and I am for sure going to come back and with some friends too. Don’t miss out on this one, please. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. And hopefully, we get more games like this and, if all goes well, Overcooked 2.