Overcooked 2 is the brand new crazy kitchen themed cooperative video game from Team17 and Ghost Town Games. In the original chefs trained up to defeat the Ever Peckish, alas a new enemy, the Unbread, have literally risen. To help out the Onion king, and his trusty pet Kevin, players must train up as new chefs; across new environments with a few new recipes. However, is Overcooked 2 a gourmet game offering? Let’s find out!
Overcooked 2 is set in a world where zombie like bread is terrorising a country ruled by a king, whom is an actual onion. This about sets the scene for what is a very comical environment for our budding chefs; which will see them venture into weird and wonderful kitchens. When in these kitchens the gameplay revolves around the preparation and cooking of food for orders. Orders continually roll in and the objective is simply to fulfill as many of them as possible before the time runs out.
While the game gives players a few easier levels to gain an understanding of the mechanics it isn’t long before the challenge starts to kick in. All of a sudden the methodical approach is firmly thrown out of the kitchen window, or off the side of a hot air balloon; replaced by fast, hectic running around. Before long players better not be caught hanging around waiting for individual pots to boil, buns to steam or items to fry as those could be the valuable seconds needed to squeeze in the fulfilment of another order or to chop of the next lot of fries!
Despite each dish being made of only a few simple steps individually, as soon as things get hectic even the easiest orders can go wrong. It is the constant threat of time running out that drives the franticness and drives the tension of the game. With food from sushi and tacos to cake and pizza each item has a unique cooking process, made up of steps. Working together, players will have to be calling out what they are doing and what they are needing, as one pair of hands is never seemingly enough.
This does beg the question how is Overcooked 2 for 1 – 4 players? It is entirely possible to play solo, with two chefs still in the kitchen. Instead of an AI controlling the second chef the player is able to switch back and forth between the chefs, this allows players to be getting two lots of jobs done at once. On top of this, it makes some levels possible that wouldn’t be with only a single chef, due to sectioned off kitchen areas. The original only featured local coop. Despite this being my ideal way to play, it is brilliant that Team17 has included online multiplayer this time around. This opens the doors for more players to play together no matter the distance, something that will probably benefit PC gamers the most.
New to this installment is the overworld map that players drive an RC like van around to get from level to level during the story. While it is on the surface a nice addition, looking nice and giving players a breather between kitchens, it isn’t implemented perfectly. To add some substance to this section the developers have added switches players must drive over to trigger ramps needed to progress onward. These switches are not puzzles or anything other than a mere distraction wasting time in the overworld.
Another time wasting event is when retrying levels. Similar to Mario Tennis Aces, which has recently been patched to include it, Overcooked 2 is crying out for a retry button. Whether you fail a level or just want to try one more time to score all three stars on a level being kicked back the overworld to go back into a level wastes precious gaming time!
The fun cartoony artstyle that the original was known for is back, with the levels themselves giving the visual changes. With locations ranging from a simple sushi restaurant to hot air balloons and beyond to non-Earth-like locations, variety is certainly something not lacking from Overcooked 2. Each style offers a unique trait that makes it difficult in a new way, and spices up the food recipes players are following.
Instead of changing the recipe of success that the developers found with the original, Overcooked 2 is more of an extension of awesomeness. To some extent, the game feels like a grand expansion to the original but it packs together enough maps to justify being standalone, especially with the other new features. For me the fun of Overcooked 2 is getting players shouting at one another as they frantically try to deliver orders, something not possible when playing solo; though it is nice to see the option is there. Having both online and local couch coop though should help players get a taste of the coop action even easier than before. Therefore, whether you played the original or not, Overcooked 2 is a coop experience not to miss out on!
[Editor’s Note: Overcooked 2 was provided to us for the review, with the game being played on the Nintendo Switch in both docked and handheld mode.]