I vividly remember playing the original Overcooked! for the first time a few years back, and getting instantly hooked. A friend recommended it, and before I knew it I had lost hours trying to juggle incoming orders to keep hungry diners from walking out. It was an intense experience, but one I thoroughly enjoyed.
What we have here with Overcooked! All You Can Eat is the ultimate edition, if you like. You get Overcooked!, Overcooked! 2 and all additional content included too. Not only this, but there are new levels to enjoy as well. A nice spread, you might say.
Over the last four years, the Overcooked! games have been developed by Ghost Town Games and Team17. That’s right, if you recognise that second name it’s because that’s the same studio which created the hugely successful Worms games, so it’s safe to say there’s a fair degree of pedigree behind this cooking sim series.
In Overcooked! you play as rookie chefs who set off on an epic adventure to master the skills needed to defeat a giant evil meatball from destroying the Onion Kingdom. That should go some way to setting the tone for you.
The simple but deceptively difficult to master premise of each game is to prepare and cook a variety of different foods to order, against the clock and before your customers give up waiting and walk out. Not only this, but you’ll have to wash up plates, prevent fires and navigate downright dangerous kitchens whilst simultaneously directing two chefs in order to keep your service on track, if you’re playing solo that is. However, it’s more fun with a friend.
You can use the bumpers to switch between your chefs, and hit B to dash around the kitchen. Although this will help you get around more quickly, it does put you at risk of knocking your partner off task, wasting valuable time. For example, if you accidentally bump into your fellow chef chopping some vegetables, you’ll stop him in his tracks and he’ll have to get back on track. Enough of these little interruptions can add up to cause real problems for your progress. This leads me to my main criticism of Overcooked! All You Can Eat.
Unfortunately on console it’s still much more difficult to control your chefs’ movements accurately when you’re up against it, more so than it is on PC. Moving with the thumbstick feels extremely sensitive, and as a result it’s all too easy to misplace ingredients, which loses you precious seconds. It sounds like a small thing, but it can make or break your run when you have six orders backed up and three pots about to boil over and catch fire.
The only other little niggle I encountered was that every time I earned an achievement I was signed out of my profile. It’s an odd glitch that will hopefully be patched out, and doesn’t cause any problems apart from slight annoyance due to the fact you can sign straight back in.
Still, the story mode in Overcooked! All You Can Eat features plenty of levels to chop, fry and boil your way through, each of which you travel to on the world map. You can play the story in two ways too with the Classic mode providing plenty of challenge, especially if you want to earn three stars on each level. Talking of stars, thankfully you’ll only need to earn a minimum of one to progress, as the difficulty curve gets noticeably steep. Assist mode will help make things more manageable if the action is getting too hot to handle. You will get longer to cook up your dishes, a more generous timer and an option to skip levels.
At first, things will be simple. However before long you’ll have numerous ingredients to choose from, as well as some truly out of this world kitchens to work in – quite literally. I mean, chopping boards in a different room to the gas hob? Who designed these kitchens?
Each level can also be played in practice and survival modes, both of which are pretty self-explanatory. Practice mode gives you the opportunity to hone your skills and figure out how to achieve those elusive three stars. Survival mode sees you battling to prevent your timer running out, each successful dish made extending it ever so slightly.
Overcooked! 2 features more of the same cooking sim action as the first game, albeit with a few little tweaks. There’s a new threat that has “risen” to threaten the Onion Kingdom – the unbread. You’ll have new recipes to cook up, and you also gain the ability to throw raw ingredients from chef to chef. But why try and fix what isn’t broken, right?
Of course, you can play Overcooked! All You Can Eat cooperatively or competitively in arcade mode. This can be done locally or online, however couch co-op is still the most entertaining way to play this game and always will be. Nothing will match the intensity, and enjoyment, of screaming at your friends as you desperately try to keep up with the incoming orders. It’s just as stressful as working in a real kitchen, I imagine. Unfortunately, finding an online match is near impossible due to an apparent lack of players. Hopefully a core base will develop over the coming weeks as it’s a nice addition to this edition of Overcooked!
This version also brings enhanced 4K visuals to the table, which look very pretty indeed. Each kitchen is as vibrant as the world around it, but the best part of how Overcooked! All You Can Eat looks is where the chefs are concerned. There are loads to choose from, and each is absolutely adorable; a personal favourite being the little green dinosaur chef, who looks unbelievably cute in his little outfit. That’s the power of video games, folks.
Overcooked! All You Can Eat on Xbox is one offering that will satisfy your appetite, thanks to the wealth of content on offer. It’s a hugely entertaining bundle of games that, despite the occasional niggles, will see you coming back for seconds, and thirds, and fourths…