Mama’s back. Be afraid!
Cooking Mama 3: Shop and Chop is published by 505 Games and is available on the Nintendo DS. In this game, Mama returns to the kitchen, after a short stint in the garden, and promises to cook up a selection of new recipes, and maybe even go shopping for ingredients. What more could Mama want?
Cooking Mama 3 introduces a number of new concepts, the most interesting of which is the new shopping mini game. In this players will have to collect ingredients in a careful and conscientious manner, without upsetting or disturbing any of the other shoppers. Should the inevitable happen, and customers become distracted by your shopping shenanigans, then it will be down to you to calm the situation in a way that would please Mama. This will involve various mini games of a similar style to the different cooking methods.
Also new to the series are a number of different mini games involving a more personal feel than the usual stirring and chopping. These mini games include such delights as avoiding third degree burns and rescuing dinner from your feline friend. The game now contains more than 200 different mini games, 6 different gameplay modes and a 4 player wifi mode for multiplayer fun.
Cooking Mama 3: Shop and Chop has not changed much from the previous incarnations. The gameplay is still the same and can be picked up and enjoyed by anyone of almost any age. The player still has to perform the actions with the stylus in order to create a dish that will live up to Mama’s high standards. This is by no means a bad thing, as the gameplay of the previous titles are what made the games so successful. However, innovation is needed to move forward, and I am afraid that this series may be starting to get a bit stale. The thrill is still there, pushing the player forward to try and create every dish to a gold medal standard, but anyone who has played the previous games may well be craving something more by now.
That innovation has been provided by the shopping game, although perhaps not with great success. Roaming the market and gathering the items is not too bad, but the simple act of playing a little trolley wrestling with another customer results in all hell breaking loose. Even if the collision is not your fault, it will still come down to you to resolve the situation and make everything well in shopping land. You only have a set number of hearts to lose before the shopping trip is classed as a failure. Sometimes, the player will be able to try and resolve a situation by completing a mini game and saving a heart. Other times the heart is taken without any chance for redemption. The shopping could have been a fun distration, were it not for the frustrating gameplay. As the rewards include items to dress Mama in, or decorate the kitchen, I think that I can avoid this part of the game without losing too much.
The inclusion of a few new cooking related tasks and the collection of new recipes certainly keeps the game fun.Some of the controls are still a bit unresponsive, but that’s nothing new to the franchise. This time around the game seems slightly easier, giving players more opportunity to achieve the gold first time around.
Graphically, players of the earlier games will know what to expect. Cute graphics and bright colours. The sounds are also the same, with plenty of cooking related noises and the sound of Mama’s voice declaring “better than Mama” will still fill the player with a warm fuzzy feeling.
Overall, Cooking Mama 3: Shop and Chop is still great fun to play, as long as you avoid the shopping. But the game is getting tired now and needs something new. It will still be hugely popular and provide many people with a whole host of cooking fun.