The Onion King needs your help! and when the king needs you, who are you to turn down his important decrees!? The end is near for and the only way you can save us is with your culinary mastery. Alas, you are not ready, you are going to need to go back in time and train through the most challenging period of restaurateur-ing known to all history, the 1990s.
Managing a kitchen in Overcooked is impossible, the more hands on deck the more chaotic and frenetic things get. With two to four players, the game is an energetic party romp, relying on good communication and team juggling to get high scores. It’s almost not the point. Overcooked is an evolution of the party and board game. It simply a means of bringing people together with a variation of options for people to get involved. even with one controller, you can set up a split controller option with one person on each stick and each pair of adjacent triggers and bumper buttons.
It’s when it comes down to solo play that the game becomes an unmanageable slog. It is designed to be unmanageable no matter what the number of players you have, but the less people involved the less capable you are. Its story CAN be played solo, allowing you to dive into one of its many fun and chaotic stages and progress the goofy story in order to unlock more stages for use.
You still need to manage multiple characters solo, tapping the left bumper to swap between two cooks on the fly, the problem is that there’s far less smoothness to the gameplay. The hurdles in front of you are often too tall, the games progression requests repeated plays of past stages to unlock further locations.
These play spaces are constantly inventive and entertaining in multiplayer. Involving transforming layouts and constantly inventive problems. the first and most notable stage taking place on a pirate ship’s deck, tables sliding and moving while you attempt to manage your kitchen. Other stages throw earthquakes, food stealing rats and moving sides at you. Each stage is entertaining and fun with two or more people, but quite a chore solo.
Overcooked is perfectly fine and entertaining with more people, despite its inventive and fun stages, doesn’t do much to hold your attention beyond a few moments. This is fine, it’s built to be a quick party game anyway, but don’t dive in expecting any real depth.
Robin Smith is a freelance gaming journalist and contributor to PN2. He’s on Twitter @seiibutsu