Overcooked 2 (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

Last year I reviewed Overcooked, an action game where you and a bunch of chefs try to prepare food and fill orders in kitchen mazes as fast as possible.  It was pretty popular, and definitely one of the better recent indie titles.  And now you can have a second helping of culinary fun with Overcooked 2.  It features different kitchen mazes and new ways to team up.  It’s available on most current game consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

Just as in the first game, you run around 2-D top-down viewed kitchens.  Play control is easy.  Just use the stick to move and one button for carrying food and another for chopping it.  There are two new moves in the sequel.  Dash with a burst of speed with the circle button and toss food to another chef with the square button.  On certain cabinet tiles are stations where you can do things like pick up ingredients, chop food, cook it in a pot or pan, a place for sending out completed orders, and a sink.  Chopping food requires a bit of time, so while one chef does that, another could be doing something else.  Cooking food in a pot or pan also takes time, but you have to watch it so that it doesn’t burn.  You must also make sure you have plenty of plates to place cooked food on, otherwise you’ll need to take dirty dishes to the sink and wash them.  Completed orders will boost your score, and if you can make them fast enough, you’ll earn more points with tips.  To pass a stage, you’ll need to earn a certain score to get a star.  There are three stars to get in each stage, and you’ll want to collect as many as you can because you must have a certain number of stars to unlock new stages.  Each kitchen has a different layout with new obstacles for you to watch out for.  In the sequel, you might have to cook on a hot air balloon during a storm, or on a rocking ship, which can change the playfield.  And there are many more different obstacles as well!  Completed stages will also unlock new playable chefs and other goodies.

You can play the game single player, and you’ll control two chefs one at a time.  So you can take one chef and have him chop food for a while, and then switch to the other chef to do something else.  But it’s really hard to earn multiple stars that way.  The best way to play is with more people.  Up to four can play the main Story Mode, but I was only able to play with one other person because it’s hard for me to get four people at once to come over and play games anymore, and also because I only have one pair of PS4 controllers.  With two players, you can divvy out the duties, throw and catch ingredients better, and it’s a bit easier to earn stars on certain stages.  But it’s not too easy!  There is also an arcade mode, which acts as a quick play where you choose a stage to play one round.  There is also a versus mode where up to four players compete to cook the most food.

Overcooked 2 is extremely fun, but it does have one glaring problem.  The game is nearly impossible to play with just one person.   Especially since in the sequel, you can throw and catch food to each chef.  Plus the game is just more of the same (which isn’t always a bad thing).  So I can really only recommend this game if you have a lot of family and friends to play it with you.

Kid Factor:

Nothing too violent or objectionable here.  The story mode has zombie sliced bread (called Unbread) but it’s more silly than anything. You can fall off ledges and in water in certain kitchen stages, but you just have to wait a few seconds for your chef to respawn.  You can also set the kitchen on fire and must use an extinguisher to put out the flames, but it just keeps you from preparing food.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, and younger gamers may find it a bit too challenging.  But the game does encourage teamwork and multitasking skills. Overcooked 2 is rated E for Everyone.

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