I normally don’t find myself playing cooking-based games but Overcooked: Special Edition was just something that felt like it deserved a chance. I was always fascinated by the gameplay videos that I have seen of Overcooked but honestly it is not easy to gauge the style of the game just from the videos alone. Overcooked can be a fairly simple game if we simply talk about its gameplay mechanics, but it is much more than that if we dig deeper into it.
Overcooked takes inspiration from the simple design of cooking games. You have to prepare ingredients, mix them together in the correct order and then deliver the dish to the customer. Sounds simple, right? Well the game is pretty basic in the start but things soon get hectic as more and more elements are being added into the mix. Despite the simplified control scheme, you will soon find yourself getting rather busy with trying to fulfill the demands of the customer as you navigate through each level. The developers have made sure to differentiate each level from the other so that it will take you a while to familiarize with the layout.
Overcooked is designed to be played in either single player or cooperatively with upto 4 players. The Nintendo Switch version has the advantage of the Joy Cons acting as two separate controllers and since the controls are relatively simple, with most of the work being performed with just a single button press, they quickly become the ideal way to play Overcooked on the go.
I first tried the game in single player and found it a little too chaotic, because in some of the later levels, things gradually start to heat up as your make further progress. The orders by customers can keep piling up while time keeps running out forcing you to work you way quickly through the recipes as demanded by the customer, but you will also need to do some other chores like cutting the foot, cooking it in pot, cleaning the dishes and even dousing any unwanted fire that might start after your mistakes. These things can slowly began to pile up and it is somewhat less stressful to do these chores with a friend in co-op. Since you can only control a single cook at a time, and can switch between them with the press of a button, this setup requires you to master the art of managing work and balance. However with the co-op mode, it becomes a little bearable since there are more human players helping manage things.
The game carries a lot of replay value with its skill based reward system. You earn stars in each level depending on how you perform your work, however if you aim to reach the high score, you will need to do each task within the time limit. The more work you perform, the higher your score will be by the end of the level. Getting 3 stars is easy in the beginning because cooking usually revolves around 1-2 ingredients for each of the recipe, but they gradually become more complex with multiple ingredients, each of which then require you to individually pay attention and prepare the ingredients which can then be mixed together to form the recipe.
Overcooked feels like the perfect game to play on the Nintendo Switch. It offers an excellent co-op and with the ability to use multiple Joy Cons and the relatively simple to use control scheme, I feel like it is the best game for a newcomer or perfect fit for a party. The controls are fairly easy to grasp and the feeling of managing a kitchen with a friend is timeless. The replay value carried by the game is insane and the developers deserve all the praise for it.
As fun as Overcooked can end up, there are some technical issues that can make an impact the overall experience. The frame rate in particular is noteworthy because when things get chaotic, the frame rate can easily tank resulting in a lot of judder during gameplay. This is even more evident during co-op but even if we take the co-op out of the way, the rest of the game doesn’t really offer smooth experience.
While the severity of the frame rate can’t be denied, the developers have atleast acknowledged the issue and are working on a fix for it so hopefully they are able to patch it in a future update. That said, I really had a great time with the game and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fun co-op game for their Nintendo Switch. This version also contains all of the DLC released so far so it is the definitive edition without a doubt, just with some technical flaws that should hopefully be fixed soon.
Overcooked: Special Edition Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Overcooked is a cooking simulation game developed by Ghost Town Games and published by Team17. In a local cooperative experience, players control a number of chefs in kitchens filled with various obstacles and hazards to rapidly prepare meals to specific orders under a time limit.
Overcooked: Special Edition is a challenging but extremely fun game that gets better as you add more people to the mix. It holds a certain charm that is hard to find in other co-op games with focus on team-based gameplay.