Today was a slow Sunday. We stayed in, ordered take-out, and finally finished Overcooked. Sometimes, that's all you need in order to gear up for a work week.
I've been searching for a couch game on the PS4 for a while, when I bumped into Overcooked. It's an arcade-style game where up to 4 players race against the clock to cook recipes while running around in some kooky kitchens. It's a unique blend of simple mechanics and challenging level design, where optimization and communication between players pay off in a big way.
You start off easy: you learn to do soup. In order to cook a successful batch, you need to take out three ingredients, put them on the chopping board, chop them, then put them in a pot, place it on the stove and wait for it to boil. When the timer is up, you need to put it on a plate and serve it. You then wash any dirty plates and start on the next order.
The recipes get increasingly harder as the game progresses. Little by little, you learn how to put together a burger, burritos, fish'n chips, or pizza. These require the use of pans, ovens and friers, and everything has a different timer. You really need to keep an eye on what's cooking. If you overcook something, it will catch fire, and you need to put it out fast, or your whole kitchen will be destroyed.
Some levels are maddening. One kitchen is a bug-fest, another is haunted, so cup-boards fly around and cut your path. Soon, you'll end up cooking at the north pole and slipping on ice, and no sooner that you master that, you're sent off to space, where you need to navigate tight corridors.
Through it all, talking with your partner is mandatory. In order to progress, you need to deliver every order, as ordered, on clean plates, and on time. Most of the time, you cannot cook things alone, as the levels are split up in such a way that collaboration is required. Things can go south very quickly if one player is not paying attention. On the harder levels, you need talk non-stop about what you're doing and what you need. Otherwise, there's just no chance.
The final mission is a 12 minute cook-fest, where you need to use everything you've learned to cook all the recipes at once. The level changes 4 times and you need to learn each part if you're going to emerge victorious.
If I sound excited, it's because today we beat it! We beat the spaghetti monster!! Hurrah! This game is really fun: makes you laugh, makes you cry, made someone throw her controller at the screen (thankfully, she missed!) but it's worth it. Overcooked is one of the best co-op games I've ever seen.
Now, need to download that DLC...
OMG, there's an Overcooked 2?!?