Have you ever wanted to run around a kitchen to cook with 3 of your friends? No? Well, how about running around a kitchen with 3 of your friends, facing different challenges to your cooking process, in order to build up your cooking skills so you can feed salad to a gigantic spaghetti and meatball monster? This is the basic premise of Overcooked, a cute 1-4 player couch co-op.

Gameplay

For each round of Overcooked, you get a series of orders that show up in the top left area of the screen. When you first start to feed the spaghetti and meatball monster (heretofore known as S&M monster), you are to cut and serve lettuce, tomatoes, and salads. You then go on to cook vegetable soups, hamburgers, fish and chips, etc.

To cook these dishes, you need ingredients. In every level, there are crates of the ingredients you need. Just pick up the correct ingredients, chop them at the cutting station, and then cook or assemble the ingredients until the order is done. Once the dish is fully cooked or assembled, make sure it’s on a plate, and then place it on the serving station. Once your customer is done with their meal, their plate will show up as dirty or clean in the plate return area (depending on the level). If the plates are dirty, one of the players has to wash them—most levels give you a small number of plates that you have to manage and you need clean plates for serving.

Why is there a fire extinguisher on every level?

Well, if you let something cook too long, it will burst into flames. If you don’t extinguish the fire fast enough, the fire spreads and it can spread quickly!

Tl;dr: This is a time management game where you need to manage and accomplish everything in a set amount of time. The more you accomplish, the more points and stars you score.

Teammates

Couch co-ops are supposed to be more fun with more people, right? With only 2 players (Corran and I), the game went more slowly as we had to wait for our chef avatars to finish chopping or to finish cooking soups. It felt more like performing surgery; we each knew what we had to do (unless I was telling him to get another mushroom for my mushroom soup) and the order to do it in. With 4 players (2 adults and 2 kids), we had a lot more yelling, more “Omg what do I need to do next?”, and more “Get out of my way, it’s catching fireeee!!!”.

One of the more fun/devastating moments was when we had to cook in 2 separate trucks, and another truck was the ingredients truck (which helps transport you to one of the 2 cooking trucks, but traps you there until it moves to the other truck). Something was cooking on the Fish & Chips truck, but no one was on it. The whole thing caught on fire.

This game seems like one where you shouldn’t be able to play it by yourself because of the sheer number of things you need to cook in a short amount of time. However, for those who can multitask, it seems like it could be a fun challenge. To do this, you can split one keyboard or one game controller to be able to control 2 characters at once. This is definitely something I would like to try.

Speaking about keyboards and controllers…

When we first tried playing the game, we had one keyboard, 2 Xbox controllers and 1 PS3 controller. The PS3 controller didn’t work for me (moving the left or right stick had no effect), so we had to split the keyboard. There is a “Dash” move, but it’s not listed on the Controls screen (it’s the B button on the Xbox controller). For splitting the keyboard, Corran would try to dash and he’d end up hitting the “Windows” key, which minimized the game and didn’t pause it, so we lost precious seconds restoring the game.

These aren’t dealbreakers by any means, and they can of course be fixed.

Conclusion

I love this game and want to play more (I’m used to cooking 3 or 4 different things at a time). Corran doesn’t like it so much (he complains about the controls), so I may be forced to play this by myself or wait for other game-playing adults to step into our house.

cooking in space?! via Ghost Town Games
If you are a control freak you might not like this game, as things change unexpectedly during gameplay. An infinite amount of patience (and maybe some alcohol) is needed to play this game with young children.

Ghost Town Games did a fantastic job with inclusive characters. I don’t think there were any explicitly Asian-looking characters that we’ve unlocked yet (I’m Asian), but my kids enjoyed being able to choose animals for their chef counterparts, and my son in particular loved the raccoon because he had wheels. I highly recommend this game for multi-taskers and sfw adult parties.

Check out one of our playthroughs of the game below: