Overcooked has to be one of the best cooperative games I’ve played in a very long time. For a while now, I have been looking for a game to play with my friends. It seems that with most games nowadays, players are forced to play online with their friends, on different consoles. I miss the days when I could go over to my friend's house, and pick up almost any game to play with my buddies. CO-OP gameplay has largely been ignored in today's gaming marketplace.
A friend of mine told me about this game called Overcooked, telling me that he played it with his kids. He encouraged me to play it with a friend right away. At first, I was curious why he was raving about a game I had never heard about. So I went over to my friend's house, and I bought it on my friend's PS4. I went in with very little expectations or knowledge about the game.
After playing the game for a bit, I was glad my buddy told me about it. It lead to a few hours of chaotic, silly, and entertaining co-op gameplay. Each level of Overcooked sets up sessions of preparing, cooking , and serving as many dishes as you can within the time allotted. The faster you do this, the better the score and stars you receive. Achieving a high enough score before time runs out unlocks new levels and characters.
Overcooked's gameplay is fairly simple and easy to pick up within a few minutes of playtime. As levels progress, the gameplay introduces new elements to make the tasks harder to complete. In one level, players are put on a pirate ship, and every so often tables slide back forth, forcing your team to switch tasks since the floor arrangements change. This sudden shift of tasks forced my friend and I to quickly plan on the fly to get a high enough score to move on.
Every stage is a new opportunity for your cooking and task management abilities against a different environmental challenge. This kept the gameplay very fresh, since we were forced to be on our toes during each level. I don't want to explain too much about the different environments, since they were a big part of my gameplay experience.
The best part of this game is planning what you must do to complete each stage. You can assign different roles to everyone (you will cut all food, I'll cover the stove and serving window), and you try to do your best to come up with different methods for how to finish each stage, but something will always go wrong (trust me it will). Your best plan of attack is to be ready to change roles within seconds. For example, if you forget a pot on the stove, and then suddenly the whole kitchen is on fire, someone has to scramble to put the fire out.
Everyone contributes equally in the Overcooked kitchen. Anyone can grab food, chop it up, toss it into a pot/fryer, and then plate it up and serve it when it's done. This means there's never one person who can possibly contribute more than another. There's a lot to do at any given moment, and all of it is always important no matter what task you take on. Team play is a key factor in success, and if you try to do everything yourself you will fail. This is what makes the game so chaotic and fun.
One big knock I have against overcooked is the single player experience. This game isn't fun to play alone. I highly recommend avoiding playing this alone because you will lose out on the experience. Overcooked was obviously built to play with a friend or multiple friends, so playing single player simply doesn't feel right. The game also features the ability to control more than one character when playing alone or doing versus mode. This control system is very clunky and difficult to master. The weird controls lead to many frustrating moments when I was playing by myself.
Overall this game is a must buy if you miss CO-OP. It costs $16.99 is available on PS4,Xbox One, and PC.