Alright, this gets confusing, so let’s make sure we get this right. ‘Ooops! 2’ is a film tie-in for the movie ‘Two by Two: Overboard!’, released directly to streaming services in October 2020, after lockdown got in the way of a cinematic release. ‘Two by Two: Overboard’ is actually called ‘Ooops! The Adventure Continues’ in other territories, which explains the ‘Ooops!’ in the title. We can’t tell you why the Xbox release is called ‘Ooops! 2’, rather than ‘Ooops! The Adventure Continues’, though. Got that?
Continuing the themes of confusion, Ooops! 2 is only loosely connected to the plot of the movie. Sure, it intersperses its levels with generous 4K tracts of the movie. But Ooops! 2 is more interested in being the Team17 classic, Overcooked!. Yeah, we weren’t expecting that either.
So, rather than tell the tale of a grymp (a wolf) and a nestrian (effectively Gonzo from The Muppets) who fall off an ark, and get castaway on an island utopia full of nestrians, only for a volcano to erupt and require a peace-deal between the nestrians and the ark, it opts for a… cooking sim. And not a multiplayer cooking sim, which has been proven to work with Overcooked!, but the more dubious premise of a solo one. There are no multiplayer options here at all.
You only have to look at screenshots to see how similar it is to Overcooked!. It’s the same slightly-offset top-down perspective, the same grid to move around on, and the same objective of taking ingredients, processing them and creating wondrous platters to be chucked through a service hatch. It’s all done against a time limit, and various obstructions make the simple cooking tasks difficult, like moving platforms and walls. And those tasks are often difficult even without the obstructions, as they require the correct variations of ingredients and cooking methods to make, including stoves, pizza ovens, pots and blenders.
I’m finding it hard to detach Ooops! 2 from Overcooked! in this review, and for good reason. Sure, the background environments fit the plot of the movie at any given time, as the characters traipse from the ark to the nestrian city, to lava-threatened tiki-tiki bars. But Overcooked! has been to these places too, in the form of the Surf ‘n Turf DLC. The food is on the tropical side, as you make mocktails, kebabs and pizzas, but – yep, you guessed it – Overcooked! have done those too. And the levels, obstacles and meals are more varied in the Team17 game too. Lest we forget, Overcooked! also has multiplayer.
Unless you have love for the movie, there is absolutely zero reason to buy Ooops! 2. Overcooked! does everything here with far more panache, and for a similar price, too. Ooops! 2 is £12.99 and Overcooked! is £12.79, with the All You Can Eat edition being nowt but a few pounds more.
But there will, undoubtedly, be parents and children who love the movie, who have no interest or awareness of Overcooked!, and just want to know how this plays. Is Ooops! 2 any good on its own terms?
There are thirty levels in Ooops! 2, and they all have the same broad setup. You are given a time limit, and every twenty seconds or so a new customer turns up who wants a specific meal. They might want a banana taco, for example, because they are absolute monsters. So, you need to get some dough from a nearby crate (exactly how we like to store our dough), take it to a chopping board, chop it, and then add it to a taco pan. Then you need to get the banana, do the same, and bring it to the same taco pan. Then you’re lifting the taco pan into the oven, where cooking will take ten seconds or so, so you might want to start prepping for the next one while you wait.
Once it’s cooked, you’re plating it and carrying it to the serving hatch to get points. Those points will give you a star rating at the end of the level, once the time has counted down. You can maximize points by bringing meals to customers early, and by avoiding penalties for failing to serve a customer. All of this is made more difficult by nestrians charging across the screen and blocking you, tables moving back and forth, and platforms plunging into lava. There’s no death or stunning here, so it’s not exactly frustrating, but it can slow you down.
This all works reasonably well. For a younger player, it might be on the hectic side: the number of things you have to get right, in sequence, against a pretty harsh time limit, is likely too much for anyone under the age of seven or eight. My six-year-old got in a tizzy with it, particularly as some recipes are very similar but require completely different cooking methods. I lost count of the number of times that she accidentally put a banana in a pot rather than an oven, and it’s unnecessarily difficult to extract that banana once it’s in there (isn’t it always?).
Getting three stars isn’t easy, either. We like to think we’re competent gamers, but there’s a strange difficulty curve where the middle third of the game is harder than the other two thirds. It’s when multiple cooking methods land in one arena – a contrast to the latter levels where they are very clearly separated into the harder-to-confuse mocktails and kebabs. The controls aren’t quite perfect, either, and you have to be precise about what you’re picking up. You will be standing next to chopping boards but not chopping, as the game thinks you’re focused on a square to the right or left of it. It doesn’t help that there’s latency to the chopping and blending actions, so you have to wait a second to see if you’ve placed your character correctly or not.
It’s fiddly, a little ungainly, and possibly more complicated than you’d expect for its target audience. But Ooops! 2 isn’t bad, per se. Once you’ve absorbed all of its quirks and mastered its dash button (RB people! It doesn’t tell you in the tutorials, but it’s a game-changer), it can make you feel like a long-nosed Gordon Ramsay. You’ll be nailing three stars and strolling through the levels.
Whether it’s a meal that’s suitable for you and your loved ones, though, is quite the question. If you’ve got no love for the movie, we’d suggest you back away now. There’s nothing – absolutely zilch – that Overcooked! doesn’t do infinitely better. And cheaper, we might add.
But we know that pester power is a thing, and fans of the movie might be harassing you. In that case, your sprogs should know that this is a cooking sim, and not the nestrian adventure they might be expecting. It’s also fiddly, complicated and – on occasion – difficult to make the right meals on tight deadlines, so we would suggest that it rules out the under-sevens. Should your little chef still be interested after all those caveats, though, then there’s the slightest hint of fun to be had in Ooops! 2. Just make sure they graduate to Overcooked! afterwards.
You can buy Ooops! 2 for £12.99 from the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S