Overcooked! 2: Return to the kitchen

Overcooked 2 Featured Shared Screen

Released in 2016, Overcooked! is a video game from independent developers Ghost Town Games that had created the surprise by offering a frantic cooperative multiplayer gameplay… in a kitchen.

Tested version: Steam (provided by the editor)

Game available on Steam, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch.

Digital price: $29 on Steam, $25 on PS4 or Xbox One, $28 on Switch.

Boxed price: $40 on PS4 or Xbox One, $50 on Switch.

(I don’t understand the price disparity)

Overcooked! achieved sufficient critical and financial success to warrant asequel. Still published by Team 17, and 2 years later, let’s go back to the kitchen to see if the recipe still works.

Overcooked 2 Screenshot 1 Shared Screen

The concept is strictly the same as in Overcooked 1: From 1 to 4 players lead chefs who have to concoct dishes in wacky kitchens and environments.

The main novelty of this episode is mainly the online mode.

The game consists of 3 game modes:

  • Story: You learn the inner workings of the game, unlock characters and discover each level
  • Arcade: You cooperate with your friends in randomly selected levels.
  • Versus: You take on your friends in randomly selected levels.

Nevertheless only Arcade and Versus are playable online, partly public and private.

Overcooked 2 Screenshot 2 Shared Screen

Let’s be clear from the beginning, Overcooked! 2 just like its predecessor is a multiplayer game, and I would even say it is thought for 4-player games. My 1, 2 or 3 player attempts are frustrating.

To a player as in episode 1, one alternates between two characters with a button.

And nothing changes in the levels depending on the number of players, unless I am mistaken, the time allowed to run the recipes, recipes and ingredients are the same. Fortunately, the scores to be reached adapt to the number of players.

The graphics haven’t changed either, the cartoonish simplistic style is back, and if you don’t know the games, I can show you screenshots of one of the 2 episodes without you being able to tell the difference.

I played very little at 1, and this second episode does not seem to take this into account.

Instead of guiding potential new players like me to each of the mechanics, he accumulates errors by imagining that everything is understood by the players:

  • There is only one level of tutorial;
  • All levels are very limited in time, the time you understand what object is doing what, when, how you cook a particular ingredient, you fail the table;
  • The difficulty curve rises very fast. In the first world of story mode, we are introduced to several new objects, ingredients, mechanics in each of the new paintings. You don’t have time to become good at doing this or that task. “Did you get to cut fish and put it on a plate? Here are some treadmills, and 3 ingredients to combine to make sushi!”
  • Levels that introduce a new mechanic usually have a screen at the beginning of the level showing how to run it…. But it closes itself after a while before we had time to understand it.
Overcooked 2 Screenshot 3 Shared Screen

So you’re going to have to redo the tables several times, always with the same time limit in order to succeed eventually and find a method to cook efficiently. This gives a puzzle aspect to the title that will require organization between members of your team. A training mode without a timer would have been more than welcome.

Another novelty of this title is the ability to throw your ingredients forward when they are believed only. If at first you’re going to wonder what’s the point of doing it, you’ll soon realize that some levels have been designed around this mechanic.

Sometimes you will have to throw your fish and pieces of meat to your friend on the other raft, or the other hot air balloon, so that he can cut them, cook them and send them to you for you to collect and serve.

This adds a new way of thinking in the paintings but as with the rest, it is introduced too abruptly in an environment that is constantly moving.

Overcooked 2 Screenshot 4 Shared Screen

Other defects in visibility and manoeuvrability spoil the title with enormous potential:

  • If you throw your object with the new mechanics on a table that already contains another object, it will not be easy to retrieve it. Even by removing the already present object, the discarded object seems to be unable to be picked up.
  • Each object has a caption to indicate with an icon or life bar, the type of object or the cooking time of it respectively. However, these icons and other items are superimposed on other objects placed on the tables above and below. Sometimes you have to guess what you want to pick up because you only see it in part.
  • The recipes to be executed are displayed at the top left of the screen but the order in which to make them is confused. It changes all the time: suddenly you have to make recipe number 2, then 6, then 1 and it depends on the energy bar at the top of each recipe. When the energy bar is green, you have a lot of time to make the recipe, and then it gradually decreases, by niche, it goes from yellow to red to indicate an urgent recipe to deliver. I maintain that sorting the most urgent recipes from left to right or vice versa, would have helped for legibility. Maybe it’s a desire of the developers to keep the chaos, that and the music accelerating.

In terms of online mode, I tried the game during the first days of the release on Steam, and I had a hard time finding people to play with in part public. I don’t know if it’s because of a difficult matchmaking algorithm or just that there were few people online for a game yet popular.

Once online, the games on the random levels go pretty well, however when it starts to have latency, our character suddenly finds himself teleported into the void (we then wait 5 seconds before reappearing), or we lose sight of the ingredients we wanted to catch. This does not seem very optimized for what I was able to test.

Overcooked 2 Screenshot 6 Shared Screen

I was delighted when I tested the game with friends and at E3, the game was also strongly highlighted by Nintendo, but when I was able to dig a little and approach the game with more time, I unfortunately lost my enthusiasm a little.

Overcooked 2! is a valuable multiplayer game especially in the 4-player local. It lacks a big touch of polish on this title to become a must. It lacks settings, game modes, tables planned for less than 4 players.

If you want to get started, you will need a veteran player and/or a lot of perseverance to get through the forty tables. The Switch version contains additional content such as characters.

As with episode 1, DLCs will be added as time went by.

Overcooked 2 Screenshot 5 Shared Screen

About Marc Shakour

Former video game programmer, columnist, teacher, competitor ... Marc has always been very familiar with the world and industry of video games. He decided to help neophytes about it, to discover new universes, worlds and fantastic creatures.

View all posts by Marc Shakour

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