There are some games that you see and think will be nothing more than filler in a week’s releases. Sadly, that was my initial thought seeing Overcooked when it first came out. I wholeheartedly attribute its popularity to Greg Miller talking it up constantly and spawning an excitement for the game among others; I’m still amazed that it went on to win a BAFTA. Ghost Town Games was put on the map from the game’s success, so it’s no wonder that they would go on to create a sequel. You may be wondering what exactly that would entail, and the answer is everything the first had, but amplified by ten.
I will say it right now – if you liked the first entry, you should buy Overcooked 2. No need to read the rest of this. However, if you never had the opportunity to play the first, let me tell you what you can expect from this. It’s one of the most stressful co-op games you’ll ever play, should you choose to play with others. And while the entire story mode is definitely able to be completed in single player, you lose a lot of the majesty that makes the game so fun. You’ll find yourself yelling things out like “I’m grinding the meat, give some flour,” and in a household that barely makes something more substantial than ramen, it’s comical. If you thought Mario Party was the game to play to ruin your marriage or friendships, clearly you haven’t played this.
The game comes with a huge assortment of characters to play as, with a number of them being unlockable. None of these have any sort of advantage over the others that I’m aware of, and every time you boot the game it’ll randomly select a new one for you, although you can certainly choose whoever you want. The characters you may already be familiar with are back, but this time you are facing hordes of zombie bread thanks to a pretty famous book with a slant for food – you won’t find a boomstick here though. Instead, you’ll be appealing the masses with your cooking skills, and those skills will be put to the test in the most dynamic kitchens of rather precarious natures.
The majority of this game will be spent cooking food and keeping up with customer orders, whether you tackle it alone or with up to three others. If you’re playing alone, you will control more than one character, as this is essential for levels that split up the characters. Earlier on this will help with productivity when one is cutting up food as the other washes dishes, for example. There’s always something to be done in this, and wasted time is wasted money, which is essential for progression. The introductions of how the mechanics work are much more polished this time around, as is everything else. It’s almost as if this was the game the original wanted to be, and now that the team had the money they could actually create what they set out to make originally.
If you thought the levels were a bit out there in the first one, you haven’t seen anything yet. The first stage to really get me was 1-6, which has you cooking in a hot air balloon. Soon the winds pick up, moving the setup of the kitchen, which is pretty ordinary for the game. Then the thunder and lightning sets in, and soon you’re going down and in a completely different kitchen with an entirely different course being served. It’s really something to experience; it’s like an Uncharted moment within a silly game about cooking. I expected the craziness to be amplified, but my imagination completely undershot what the team came up with.
Outside of the levels proper, the game brings back the world map that you’ll drive around. This time there’s a bit more to it, with switches to find in order to progress through the minor labyrinths the game offers, especially with the secret levels. That’s right, there are secret levels to be unlocked if you meet certain conditions, and these are the hardest challenges you’ll face in the game. While I got three stars on 1-1 through 1-6 without issue, I scraped by with one on the hidden level. Granted, all these levels I only played once, but still, that trend continued as the game got progressively more difficult – and that spike happens real quick. If you found the music from the first game to be charming, prepare your ears for more of that, as it’s an absolute joy to listen to while cooking and exploring the beautiful world map.
If I had to pick one downfall for Overcooked 2, it’s that it doesn’t cater to people with poor coordination. This is a game that demands you have an intimate knowledge of the controls and can either swap between two characters yourself with the utmost precision or have decent communication skills. Of course, that negative can be turned positive by this game improving them. In addition to the local multiplayer (you can split one controller if need be), the game offers online functionality, which I barely got to test with the limited player base at the moment. However, the match I played was a bit laggy, but that was likely from a poor internet connection. Adequate communication online seemed to be lacking though, which is a big hit to the success of this mode.
If you’re looking for a multiplayer game that’s family friendly and sure to raise the heart rate of anyone that plays it, I can’t think of a better title. Overcooked 2 improves on every aspect of the first, and is truly a wonderful experience. Although I can say that after a very stressful day of work, it’s not exactly ideal for winding down.
9 out of 10
- Enchanting Soundtrack
- Crazy Multiplayer Madness
- Addictive and Quick to Play
- Online Communication
Overcooked 2 was developed by Ghost Town Games and published by Team17 Digital Ltd. It was released on NS, PC, PS4, and X1 on August 7th, 2018 for $24.99. The game was provided for us to review on PS4. For more on Overcooked 2, visit its official site.
Here at GBG we use a rating method that you are more than likely familiar with – a scale of 1 to 10. For clarification, we intend on using the entire scale: 1-4 is something you should probably avoid paying for; 5-7 is something that is worth playing, but probably not at full price; 8-10 is a great title that you can feel confident about buying. If you have any questions or comments about how we rate a game, please let us know.