Cool-Ops: Overcooked

Written by: GameGulp Staff

Games | Jan 9, 2017

co-op cool-ops Ghost Town Games Overcooked

Cool-Ops is a segment of GameGulp where we take a co-op/multiplayer game, play it, and give our opinions the way these games were meant to be reviewed: together.

Happy New Year!

We are now in the midst of the worst part of the holiday season: knowing that it is officially over. Decorations get put away, folks whose hearts grew three sizes over the season revert back to being grouchy old farts, and the decisions you made at the end of the previous year now come back to haunt you like the Ghost of Christmas Past.

And what could you regret more than eating enough to feed an entire country over the course of a few weeks? Admit it - you got chubbier during the holidays.

That's alright, though. Almost everyone you know gained a couple of pounds eating some dead animal and a couple slices of fruitcake (though neither of us would personally touch the stuff).

While Christmas is a time to eat, it is also the perfect time to meet friends, family members, and to bond with them over your favorite holiday pastime: playing video games. So what could be better than celebrating the year-end festivities with a title that lets you cook up a storm?

, a cooking couch co-op game (meaning there isn't online play) created by Ghost Town Games and published by Team 17 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, is one of the games we played as 2016 lay itself into its grave.

Featuring up to four players on a single screen, this heartburn-inducing game not only lets you experience what it is like to cook in a shady restaurant with poor working conditions, but it also makes you wish your friends were slowly boiled alive.

Stef Atega: It's Hell's Kitchen: The Game.

Carlos Zotomayor: ... Were you trying to be funny, Stef? After playing through the campaign with both two and three players, I can say that I prefer less people when playing Overcooked. There's less confusion and more space to work around, after all.

Stef: Yeah, but I can't imagine only one person playing this game! It'll be too hard. It's a game made specifically for co-op. One player has to bring in the ingredients, another has to chop them, and the next two have to either fry or cook them. This all sounds easy enough, but when you factor in a time limit to complete orders, things can get pretty crazy.

Zoto: It's a delicate balance, actually! Before each stage starts, you'll all want to get a lay of the level and plan on who will do what. The game demands that you coordinate with your fellow chefs, otherwise everything crumbles as easily as undercooked pizza dough (you left a couple of pizzas uncooked, by the way).

The environments don't help, either. There are kitchens on ice, lava and even space. I understand the appeal of dining in space and on ice, but lava?! Seriously?!

Zoto: HEY! Those levels were really well-made! The developers made sure that there needed to be at least one person manning a specific area at a time. And the best part is that they were balanced for two to four players!

But yeah, I don't think I would eat in a restaurant that wants to save on air conditioning by being in an arctic wasteland. They made us think as a team, at least!

Stef: Forced us, you mean! It's difficult because if one player screws up, the whole operation gets compromised. Maintaining control under pressure is key, and it's not easy to do. I'm pretty sure I screamed at you more than once for messing up an order.

Zoto: You could give Gordon Ramsay a run for his money. I, on the other hand, laughed way too much when you crumbled under pressure. Relax, these people aren't going to starve! Though we were pretty hungry to get those high scores that gave us stars which unlock the later levels and characters.

Stef: Yeah, 'cause we're completionists! There are a number of characters you can choose from but none of them affect the gameplay in any way. I wish it did, though; it would be cool to have characters with special abilities that spice things up.

I loved the raccoon on a wheelchair! There were a couple of other characters and game modes which let you compete against your friends, but for the most part, Overcooked focuses on the experience of serving up orders in the most dangerous places on Earth.

Sadly though, playing the game with a gamepad does have its issues. Using only two buttons to chop, interact with the world, and pick up ingredients could have been done a bit more smoothly by mapping an extra button to one of the actions. That, coupled with the problem of using analog sticks to place food on square-shaped platforms, makes for an experience that made me blame the game more than my lack of culinary skills.

Stef: Well, despite that little nitpick, I think it's a fun party game. I get hungry after every playthrough, too. Say, didn't you mention you wanted fish and chips?

Zoto: I STILL DO! But I have to finish this review first! Oh wait, I think I just did. Overcooked is a good co-op game that will make you want to eat fish and chips with your friends as soon as you fail making them in a video game.

Shall we eat?

Stef: Yes, sir. Let's.

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