The Bin: Order Up!

Some games aren’t worth the $60 release price. Or half as much, for that matter. How many times have you bought a game and told yourself that if it’s terrible, it was only five bucks?  This brings us to the “Bargain Bin” realm of gaming, a second glance at games far enough down that they don’t see light. Guilty pleasures are a blast — so long as no one’s watching.

Restaurant/time management games have been a staple of the casual gamer’s entertainment diet for some time now, and can be traced far beyond the smashing success of the Dash franchise. It’s no surprise then, to see a fantastic 2008 fast food service sim re-released on a console with peripherals most similar to its native control scheme on the Wii. Some four years later Order Up! made its debut on the PlayStation 3 (and in portable form on the 3DS), complete with trophy and Move support, and the potential to catch the eye of a much wider audience, though it’s still languishing in bargain bin hell.

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Order Up! asks you take up the mantle of your very own fledgling chef and begin work at the prestigious (or not) Burger Face. It’s at Burger Face you’re introduced to some of the wacky humor that’s injected throughout certain points of the game. You’re introduced to an acne-prone teenager who’s been trained in the fine art of showing new Burger Face employees the ropes.

For your first lesson you’ll learn how to utilize the Move wand for tasks such as grilling burgers, putting a batch of fries in the deep fryer, cutting lettuce, and slicing tomatoes for a hamburger and fries combo meal. Each task is performed with a different motion of the Move controller.  Normally, that would sound like a horrible thing to find in a game, right? But with Order Up!, that’s simply not the case. This time management gem takes normal, mundane tasks like your first job at McDonald’s and turns them into quite the rewarding experience. You can and will be expected to multitask. You can put a batch of fries in to cook while you watch the cooking meter reach the sweet spot on the burgers, or you can tackle the vegetables while waiting on the burgers. Speed is important. But most importantly, it’s accurate, and pretty darn fun.

Not only will you want to keep playing for the sheer entertainment factor, but the art style is top-notch. Each character is lovingly crafted with a style not unlike cel-shading. Each new acquaintance you make wouldn’t be out of place in a cartoon you might find on say, Nickelodeon, about cooking. Bright colors abound, and everything has a definite kiddy feel to it. Even though the food follows suit, it always ends up looking so appetizing you’ll want to drop the controller every few minutes to ponder going out to a real diner. The graphics are crisp and clear, quite clean, and one of the finer aesthetics that put Order Up! above the rest.

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Order Up! offers a very rewarding and challenging career mode that frankly puts Cooking Mama to shame. Rather than blindly creating dishes for a cute little anime chef to smile at you and praise you, you’re cooking for a purpose. It’s honestly a great way to experience the hectic world of restaurant ownership without all the muss and fuss. It’s great fun, looks like a well-animated cartoon, and offers a completely unique experience that works well with the Move wand and even Trophy support to keep you motivated. It’s also super cheap now — you can pick it up for under ten bucks. Now, tell me that isn’t a better-sounding deal than racking up F2P Facebook cooking games.

Dig deeper into The Bin. Head here for more guilty pleasures in gaming.