Pack the mosquito repellent, Mama is heading into the wilderness.
Cooking Mama World: Outdoor adventures, also known as Camping Mama in the States, is the latest Mama title on the Nintendo DS by 505 games. We’ve seen Mama multitask before, by cooking, gardening, crafting and babysitting, but this could be here biggest adventure yet. Mama leaves her culinary skills in the kitchen and sets out on a camping adventure with Papa and the children.
The game is split up into four sections; Explore, Challenges, Books and options and there are 36 levels. Explore is where you’ll spend the majority of your time as this area allows you to explore different areas of an island. You start off at the Base Camp and are introduced to the various characters before embarking on your adventure. Each of the levels you are dropped into contain a different wilderness environment, which is home to a variety of bears, snakes, boars and other wild animals, and a different character will task you with an objective to carry out, such as gathering logs or recovering a missing family member.
Rewards are handed out in the form of bronze, silver or gold medals for completing a given number of mini games. Camping duties will include catching fish and then cooking them over a lit campfire (it seems Mama can’t escape the kitchen after all), to constructing a butterfly net in order to catch some wild butterflies which you can later view in the books section. You start off with eight hearts which signify your health. While wandering around each level, which is played with a top down perspective, the main objective is to try and reach Mama and Papa on the other side of the map and complete a series of mini game challenges.
you’ll have to slowly work your way around the level, which is a maze-like in its structure, brushing past trees to find hidden goodies such as explorer badges and opening up treasure chests to find a red heart that can replenish your health. You begin your journey feeling quite confident, only for that confidence to be destroyed quite quickly with the existence of monkeys and snakes that wish to cause you harm. Just when you think you’ve made a quick dash to a safe place, you’ll be met with another bunch of monkey’s who want to steal the apples or bananas you’ve collected.
It’s fairly difficult to avoid all of the wild animals, and this inevitably means that your once healthy adventurer,filled health hearts, is rapidly reduced to a shadow of their former self and are certainly not a happy camper. Getting to treasure chests feels rewarding as you discover various cooking items and a nice variety of camping items to decorate your base camp with, although trying to avoid being stung by Bumble Bees and the attacks of the other wildlife all becomes frustrating and annoying after a while. There is nothing worse than swiping bushes out the way to make a clear path to your destination, only to be struck by a bear.
There are over 100 mini games and these include such tasks as peeling apples or catching them in your hands. Other mini games included touching the screen with the stylus to pull away leaves to reveal beans, which can then be cut with the stylus. You can replay any of the mini games from within the challenge mode, which offers a good replay factor to the game and I loved the idea of collecting rare and wild butterflies, which can then be viewed in the book. The only thing missing from this game, other than some kind of wildlife-proof armour, is a storyline. Of course, the other Mama games don’t really have a storyline, but the adventure nature of this title would have lent itself well to some character development. I would have liked to know more about the other characters in this particular title.
The vast majority of the mini games are fairly simple and mainly involve cutting, pulling, swiping and tapping your way through various activities, and the controls are easy to use. If you’re familiar with the Cooking Mama series, you ‘ll know what the various activities will involve, with many of the games just re-hashes of those found in other Mama titles. I like the fact that they tried to make it into more of an exploring game, with a Zelda-type feel to it, but I wish they hadn’t made it so annoyingly difficult. The mini games are plentiful if your main focus is trying all 100 of them out. But after dying repeatedly whenever I explored the Island, it was time to pack up my tent, wave a tentative farewell to the wilderness and head back to the kitchen.