Even if you’ve never worked in a restaurant before, you’ve likely been exposed to just how chaotic things can get behind the scenes thanks to reality TV shows. In Overcooked, you get to experience the challenge first hand by working in a cramped kitchen with up to three other players. Although everyone works to get the orders taken care of, you’ll find that a lot can and does go wrong when people are put under all this stress. Luckily, the stress here leads to hilarity rather than truly angry outbursts as in the actual situation.
Overcooked is a game with a truly simple concept. Players must pay attention to orders coming in, cook meat, chop vegetables, and saute as necessary. As menu items are ready to go, they must be placed all together (such as with a burger that requires multiple ingredients) and plated. Once plated, they’re free to go out to customers. After all this work a dirty plate comes in and must be cleaned before it can be used again. Sounds simple, right? It would be, if not for the fact that orders come in at a surprisingly quick pace and that you can’t keep track of what everyone is doing from moment to moment.
Not only that, but the small kitchen quarters often lead to bumping into others or duplicating what someone else is already doing. There’s also a limited amount of chopping stations, ovens, and sinks, meaning duties need to be swapped between players as needed. It might make sense to designate one player as “dish washer” but even these rules don’t work perfectly. After all, dish washing in particular doesn’t happen all that frequently which requires everyone to chip in on various roles throughout a stage.
The other issue is that levels quickly become more challenging – and hilarious. One early stage played during the demo featured two trucks driving alongside each other. When together, they created one full kitchen. However, at times the two trucks would drift apart, splitting some players on one side of the kitchen and others on the opposite. This led to frenzied changing in roles as players suddenly tried their best to stock up on ingredients on one side while the others simply tried to prepare completed orders as best as possible. The frantic strategizing players do when put into these situations is great fun and it appears future stages are just as weird (if not more so) as this truck one.
Although the focus for Overcooked is definitely multiplayer, there is a single player mode which takes players through The Onion Kingdom. With that said, my opinion is that this game is almost certainly best enjoyed with four players panicking as they attempt to serve simple meals. Players can switch things up further with head-to-head battles, or a mode where co-op is handled by both folks using the same controller. Heck, if you want, you could simply opt to play alone in this mode by taking charge of two chefs simultaneously.
Anyone looking for a ridiculously fun local multiplayer game absolutely need to look into Overcooked. Yes, the genre is incredibly saturated these days, but this is something wholly different from all the competitive-based releases out there. It is simplistic enough for anyone to begin playing, highly replayable and outrageously fun. I, for one, can’t wait to give it a shot again once Overcooked releases on PS4, Xbox One and PC.