Overcooked: Where stress is fun

Do you like shouting at your friends? Do you like to get heated over the tiniest of little thinks? Do you sometimes like doing that to yourself?

Well, welcome to the mad kitchen of Overcooked.

If your uninitiated with the title from Ghost Town Games, here’s a quick summary. You are a chef, you have ingredients in your kitchen and you need to make food post-haste, with varying tricky road blocks coming in your way in a variety of different ways.

Like, a kitchen in space I can get but in lava? That’s just not at all practical.

The first thing you notice while playing is the persistent feeling of panic that pulls over you while you play. Every stage bar the final boss is four minutes long, rushing you to finish as much as you can within the time limit to ensure you can get to the next stage.

That means if you want to get three gold stars, you need to time everything perfect. And just like you see when Gordon Ramsey is shouting at people poorer than him, it can become a little heated in the room if you choose to play this as a co-op adventure.

As a co-op experience, it’s pretty fantastic. So long as you’re totally cool with a rest period or someone potentially being furious at you over not chopping up enough stuff or letting something burn, then it really encourages teamwork of the craziest order.

That’s not to dismiss it as a single-player game though. In that, you control two chefs that you can switch between and while that can mean juggling a lot of plates that causes mistakes, it also means you are more likely to keep your friends.

It’s such a simple game loop and everything always seems so achievable that it keeps drawing you in. You think “sure, I can spare another four minutes to nail this stage” and all of a sudden you are silently scream at yourself when you’re 10 points off full marks at 3am in the morning.

The game also tries it’s best not to overstay it’s welcome. There are six different “worlds” made up of around 4-6 stages each that mix things up nicely between worlds and tying up little obstacles that border from creative to worrying about the depraved minds that come up with these goddamn nuisances.

The final boss is an excellent amalgamation of what’s come before rolled up into a 15-minute stress-a-thon. It’s a little on the forgiving side in terms of time in all honesty which is a shame but it does a great job in finishing the game off with a big bang.

The two DLC’s, The Lost Morsel and The Festive Seasoning, are nice little additions with their own little gaming quirks. They aren’t essentials and they do little in terms of challenge compared to the end portion of the main quest but for barely any extra dosh in the bundle, it’s worth the extra two-or-so hours of manic food preparation.

Since the holidays have already passed, it’s a little difficult to recommend these for the family get togethers but regardless, it’s a lot of fun for a great price that can help you if you need some extra stress in your life.

Also, play as the racoon in a wheelchair, he’s the absolute greatest.


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