Back when I was a lad many a year a go, there was a board game called Build A Better Burger. It had you try to complete making your order within one minute. I have fond memories of that game, mainly for all its plastic food pieces and the fun I had with friends. Well Overcooked by Ghost Town Games and Team17 is quite a lot like that board game, except so much better on every level and very, very hectic. I got the chance to put my cooking skills to the test over the games first eleven levels in a preview build.
The story of Overcooked is just as mad cap as the various cooks you can take control of. It tells the story of the Onion Kingdom which is about to being taking over by a Spaghetti Bolognaise creature with an incurable hunger. In fact when you play the career mode your first chef job is to try and sustain its hunger. This doesn’t happen and thus the Onion King takes you back in time to hone your chef skills and learn new recipes. It is hear all the fun and games begin with plenty of kitchen fires a foot as well as rats steeling unattended ingredients.
Overcooked rustles up some very challenging kitchens to put you through your paces, yeah they start off easy but get much more challenging the further you get. As you play through each kitchen you are awarded a star rating depending on your performance. Getting through the eleven kitchens that are on offer was fine but mastering them is something different, especially if you decide to go in to this by yourself. Getting the full three stars on each level soon becomes very challenging when you are controlling two chiefs, but it isn’t impossible. The game becomes even more fun with couch co-op and its good that some games are still doing this, I would still love to see online multiplayer though. There are challenge levels to unlock for teams of two to go head to head. If you are playing co-op there can be up to four chiefs and you can even split control pads, a feature that is as rare as a unicorn nowadays. This goes to show the expertise that Team17 have when it comes to couch co-op titles.
The premise of the game is simple, fulfil customers orders before they get the hump and storm off resulting in no tips as well as penalising the tips you have already accumulated. This is done by being able to work as a team. The controls are simple with your A button to pick up and place ingredients, and the X button is your action button so you will be making fish and chips in no time. When it comes to kitchen layouts you will see where it gets challenging with you having to run about picking up the ingredients, taking it to the chopping board then the stove. The orders will appear at the top left hand corner of the screen and have a timer counting down. Want tomato soup? No problem chop up three tomatoes, put it on the gas and viola. Hows about fish and chips? Chop up the fish and the potatoes, dump then in their own deep fat fryer and bobs your uncle. Some levels will give you an unlimited supply of clean plates, where other will require you to wash the dirty plates. Chopping and cooking takes time but too long on the hob and food will catch fire and that fire will spread very, very fast.
Making a burger isn’t complicated but factor in the various kitchen layouts and other obstacles and you have yourself one hell of a challenge. The chopping boards, ingredient boxes and stoves are all strategically placed to make your chiefs job as frantic as possible. One level has placed a kitchen on a pirate ship where the tables slide about making it very challenging to get from chopping boards to the cookers. As I found out, just don’t let the food catch fire as it spreads really fast in this setting and there is only one fire extinguisher. In another level the kitchen is situated on an iceberg and things get very slippery indeed. One of my favourite though is the kitchen that consists of two moving trucks on a highway, with only a short window of time when they join together. It truly is level design like this that makes Overcooked full of so much fun and challenge.
This preview build of Overcooked gives a great indication of how things are cooking up in Ghost Town Games’ kitchen. The recipe for fun and mayhem looks to be almost perfect and if you are a big fan of couch co-op then Overcooked is on track to fill that hunger. The controls are simple and thanks to some clever kitchen planing, your cooking skills and team work will be put to the test. There are going to be fourteen different chiefs to play, eight of which I got to play in this preview build. The chiefs included various humans and a couple of animals, one of which was a raccoon in a wheel chair. I didn’t notice any difference in how they control so it seems that they are only here for cosmetic changes. Overcooked will be available for Xbox One, PC and PS4 and is a title worth keeping on your radar.