Despite my many years of cooking, I would never say that I am a good cook. I can make your basic dishes, but nothing fancy. I’m not very creative, so one thing I need is a recipe. If you lay all the information out for me, then I can make even the most challenging dishes. As I think about the original Overcooked game, I can’t help but think about what kind of standard, or recipe, it established when it launched a few years back. It reminded me of those classic recipes that are passed around in your family – a solid recipe that you know is reliable and will satisfy whoever tries it.
No matter how much you enjoy a recipe, you will no doubt attempt to tweak or change some things to make it better. And that was my biggest concern when Overcooked 2 was announced. I love the original game! Are the developers going to drastically change the core gameplay? Will they not change enough? Will additions to the game work? There is always a little fear when you change something that you really enjoy. I am so happy that Overcooked 2 kept the majority of the gameplay, and added some tweaks to make it better than ever.
If you have not had the chance to play the original Overcooked, then you missed out on what can be described as beautiful kitchen chaos. Your task is to fulfill orders within the allotted time. But like a real cooking game, you need to prep, cook, and plate the food before sending it to your customers. You have to worry about plating the right ingredients, not overcooking the food, and keeping dishes clean. Like any restaurant, you need to be quick and accurate or your customers will leave dissatisfied.
Overcooked 2 offers the same core gameplay, but with some nice adjustments and tweaks. The biggest change, in my opinion, is the ability to throw food at your partner. Now, this may not seem like a big deal to some, but in Overcooked, it is absolutely essential. You see, the kitchens in Overcooked 2 are more wild and complex than the original. You deal with everything from vanishing and obstructed walkways to natural obstacles like wind, water, and acid. You even have portals that you need to go through to reach specific parts of the kitchen. The throwing mechanic is useful but still makes things challenging. For example, you can’t throw a complete meal for your partner. You can only throw whole ingredients, so you still need a decent strategy in the kitchen.
I already mentioned some of the barriers in the kitchens in Overcooked 2, but I wanted to emphasize how wonderfully chaotic they are. Part of the fun in Overcooked is the crazy rush of making orders in an ever-changing kitchen environment. I don’t want to spoil some of the insane kitchens in the game, but I do want to touch on one of my favorite kitchens toward the beginning of the game. You start in a hot air balloon. Things start to go south (literally) when the flame from the balloon catches things on fire, and eventually you crash land. Then, you have a whole other kitchen set up to deal with as you continue to get orders fulfilled. It as crazy fun scenario that brought me a lot of laughs. And there are plenty of kitchens that go through these types of changes.
There are plenty of things to do in Overcooked 2. The map is very large and filled with hidden Kevin levels (who is the Onion King’s dog…the story is hysterical, by the way). Those levels up the insanity and the difficulty of the recipe, but are still fun to play. The team also added some nice touches when traveling the map. Your bus changes depending on where you travel. For example, going over water causes the bus to grow a raft where the wheels are. You can also run over things, like the undead bread (yes, that’s right – the Onion King used the Necro-Nom-Nom-icon to raise undead bread). The art design and humor in Overcooked 2 are top notch.
My only disappointment in Overcooked 2 stems from issues that I had in the first game. Despite my best efforts, I just don’t have fun with single player. When playing single player, you need to run the kitchen with two cooks. You switch between them and deal with all the prep and cooking and changing aspects of the kitchen. At times, it can become too much to handle and can be very frustrating. I wish I could see a significant change in difficulty when you play single player versus multiplayer. Perhaps have the orders come in a tad slower when in single player. So as of right now, I would only recommend playing with friends.
But that problem leads to one of the best inclusions of all – online multiplayer! Overcooked 2 finally has online multiplayer, which is a critical feature. You can still play couch co-op with friends or family, but online play opens doors to a whole new cooking world. Now, keep in mind that you will each need a console. For example, two local players could play with two online players as long as everyone has separate consoles. According to the Overcooked FAQ page, an update is in the works to address this.
Overcooked 2 takes the strong foundation of the original game and improves in the right areas. It’s still fun, chaotic, and a blast to play with friends. The gameplay mechanics are simple and smooth. There are plenty of recipes, chefs, and kitchens in Overcooked 2 to keep you entertained for months on end. I would definitely recommend playing with friends. This is one game you do not want to send back to the kitchen.
Overcooked 2 will release August 7th on Nintendo Switch, PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.
Note: GameOctane editor Ryan Welch received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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Fun and crisp gameplay
Wonderful additions to the gameplay
New and chaotic evolving kitchens
Adorable chefs and art design
Finally, online multiplayer!
It is way more fun to play with friends. Single player can be a chore.