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Overcooked! Special Edition

Posted by GG Goblin On August - 11 - 2017

Frustratingly fun meal preparation.

 
Dinner parties always start the same at my house. I will have one friend collecting the veg that we need, while another chops them and puts them on to cook. A third friend will get the cooked vegetable soup and put it into bowls, while I will be responsible for getting the dish out, washing up returned dishes and keeping everything under control. It doesn’t take long before onions are rolling around the floor, there are no clean dishes, someone has stacked up far too many chopped tomatoes, and the kitchen is on fire. To top it all off, we are all screaming at each other and an earthquake has split the kitchen in two. Publishers Team17 and developers Ghost Town Games seem to think this is fun, and I have to agree.

 
Overcooked_Characters_600x337

 
Overcooked! launched last year on various consoles and proved to be the best thing to happen for couch co-op in years. The game can be played by one to four players, although with no online multiplayer, the frantic fun is focused on having friends sitting right next to you, which really does make it easier to shout at them. The game needs to be played with at least two cooks, and so playing solo will involve swapping constantly between two controllable chefs. It is doable, but not an ideal situation. Overcooked! is a game that really shines when played with at least one other person.

 
Of course, the shining does depend on how well that other player can follow instructions and keep their head in a crisis. The concept of the game is quite simple, and reminiscent of some older mobile games. You are working in a kitchen and orders for food will come along the top. The players will then have to gather the ingredients, prepare them, cook them, combine them into the requested dish, and then serve them up before that customer gets fed up and leaves.

 
To make things more complicated, there is an overall time limit to each round, dishes have to be washed when they are returned, and leaving the food to cook too long will result in a kitchen fire and the player will then have to grab the extinguisher and put it out. When players work well together, the kitchen will run like a dream and dishes will fly through the hatch. But players have to think quickly, and keep out of each others way, and then they get confused and the whole thing cascades into chaos.

 
Overcooked_FoodTruck_600x337

 
Then you have the levels themselves to add to the chaos. Some levels will simply have the kitchen in an awkward layout and players will have to assign tasks that keep them to their own side of the kitchen, while other layouts could force the players to move in single file, almost like a conveyor belt, with careful planning required. Then there are the more dynamic levels that will see the kitchen sliding from one side to the other on the deck of a ship, or split between two lorries that are driving along the road, and not always together. And the earthquake that splits the kitchen in two, making one side unreachable for a small amount of time if the player isn’t on that side when it kicks off, really can cause problems.

 
Now, Nintendo Switch owners can enjoy the delights of serving up fish and chips to unseen customers under the most difficult of circumstances. Not happy with just dropping the standard game on unsuspecting Switch gamers, owners of the new Nintendo console get the Special Edition that includes both of the previously released pieces of DLC – The Lost Morsel and The Festive Seasoning, offering a whole bundle of new levels to make quick enemies of best friends. There is s substantial amount of content here, and given that progression relies on successfully serving enough dishes on each level, it really will last a long time.

 
Playing on the Switch is great. While having more than one player huddled around the small screen may be a little awkward, it does mean that the couch co-op action can become anywhere action. It is much easier playing on the big screen though, with a little more distance between the players. The Joy-Cons work really well in the game, as the games minimal control scheme negates any problems that comes from the diminutive controllers size.

 
Overcooked_Boat_600x337

 
Overcooked! Special Edition is the sort of game that comes out at the end of the evening, and almost guarantees that at least some of your friends will leave in a strop. It is chaotic, but brilliantly fun, and one of the best couch co-op games that has been made in recent years, which is not restricted to the couch on the Nintendo Switch. Playing solo is simply frustrating, but for co-op fun, Switch owners really should try out Overcooked! Special Edition.

 

 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 



 

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