Too Long; Didn't Play: Overcooked 2

Time In The Oven: 3 hours, ish. Maybe 5. I don’t know. It’s kind of like the Rachael Ray of cooking timers; it’s done when it’s done.

Sponsored By: My wife

Blanched Review

Some games make promises they can’t keep. Some games almost keep them, but miss the mark by just a bit. Usually that’s a good thing, but considering that the promise of Overcooked was “It will destroy your relationship,” I was happy to see that it fell short. Granted, it did that by being terrible.

Overcooked 2, on the other hand, promises to destroy your relationships while being a better game. It succeeds at half of that. To find out which one, read on.

Hard Boiled Review

Overcooked 2 is better than its predecessor in practically every way. For example, it added the ability to throw things. This is a brilliant feature, because it’s satisfyingly cathartic and it almost prevents you from wanting to throw things in real life.

Almost. This is still a sequel to Overcooked, after all, and therefore holds the potential to destroy your relationship with your friends and family. Now, it’s my opinion that video games are a stupid thing to end a relationship over – that’s why we have Twitter, after all – so I decided to put together a little guide of helpful hints to keep you from saying or doing things that you might regret having to explain to a lawyer later on.

  • Paging Dr. Sous. Repeat after me: Not everyone can be in charge. A real kitchen is not a democracy. There is a head chef, a sous chef, and a few partie animals if you’ve got a big enough kitchen. Decide who’s who before the level starts. The loading screen gives you a good view of what the level looks like, and the load times ain’t short (at least on the Nintendo Switch version), so you’ve got time to figure things out. The most important thing is to have one person calling out orders and the other player(s) acting in a support role.

    Notice that I said before the level starts, not before the game starts. Each level is laid out differently, and will play to different people’s strengths. Maybe you’re good at cooking, and maybe your companion is good at chopping. Pick your head chef based on who’s going to be best at keeping track of everything in that particular level, but not for the whole game.

    Unless one of your players is just really bad at everything, in which case you put them in charge of plates.

    The most important thing, though, is to pick a job and stick to it. If you realize you made a mistake and have to shuffle your hierarchy, it might be best to restart the level than to install a new administration in mid chop.

  • Keep Talking and Nobody Emulsifies. The most important thing you can do in Overcooked 2 is communicate. Most people don’t seem to have a problem with this, as evidenced by the proliferation of people who literally make a living out of talking while playing video games, but I’m putting this in here in case you’re like me and have difficulties accessing your motor cortex and your speech centers at the same time. To succeed at Overcooked – the first one or the second one – you have to talk to people.

    And no, saying “Do the thing … and that other thing!” doesn’t count. You have to be clear, concise and kind. If you need plates, say “I need plates.” If you’re cooking rice for a mushroom burrito, say “Cooking rice for the mushroom burrito.” This helps you coordinate with your team of other chefs, prevents redundancy and makes sure that everyone knows what they should be doing.

    Also, try not to fall into the trap of just ordering people to do stuff, especially if you aren’t the designated head chef for that level.

  • Keep Calm and Chop On In the first game, you earned something like two points for every recipe and had to achieve a score of (and I’m just going from memory here) four billion points to progress to the next level. Naturally, this led to a lot of frantic dashing about and wild flailing as you occasionally knocked each other off of a level in a way that was totally not on purpose and they didn’t at all deserve it for doing it to you like twenty times in the last level.

    Overcooked 2 has slowed things down slightly, and increased the number of points you get per dish. The number of points you need to pass a level has also increased, but not proportionately, so it feels a little easier to hit three stars in any given level. Also, the scores are scaled to the relative difficulty of the level, so harder stages will require fewer points.

    All of this means you can focus on not panicking. If you panic, you lose. Maybe you’ll pass the level, but you’ll still lose because you’ll just be angry at everyone who isn’t doing their freaking job is trying their best, just like you. You have the time you need, and if you’re calm and coordinated you will have no problems.

    Except on the levels with tiny volcanoes that set random parts of the kitchen on fire. Those levels can eat a bag of doorknobs.

  • Use the Mechanics Overcooked 2 gives you some new tools to work with. The most game-changing is the fact that you can throw and catch raw ingredients. If you keep calm (see above) you’ll find that lining up your shots and throwing ingredients (like, say, rice) into the pots on the stove instead of walking all the way over can save you a lot of time, especially if there are obstacles in your way. This is especially helpful in levels where ingredients are literally inaccessible to one or more players. You can throw handfuls of meat to your colleagues for preparation, rather than waiting for the painfully slow conveyor belts or putting them on tables.

    You can also put plates under ingredients, which saves a huge amount of fumbling and shuffling things around in a game that, frankly, doesn’t have tight enough controls to expect you to do that sort of thing.

I hope that this guide helps save your friendships. If not, well, I’m sure there’s an online forum for people who broke up because of Overcooked that will reassure you that you made the right decision. That’s the beauty of the internet.

Keep Cooking?

My wife and I finished the game, so probably not. Then again, my wife is very much enjoying trying to three-star every level, so probably yes.

I’m going to go with yes.

Is it the Dark Souls of cooking simulators?

Overcooked 2 is considerably easier than Overcooked 1, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not the Dark Souls of its genre. Sometimes games are hard because they’re badly designed, and. Dark Souls's Difficulty is deliberate, which means you don’t get the title unless you meant to do it. The difficulty in Overcooked 2 feels much more deliberate than that of Overcooked 1, even though it’s easier, so it might still qualify.

However, the deliberate difficulty is much smoother, with fewer difficulty spikes and a much gentler ramp. It’s not a game that hits you in the face with a spatula and then blames your face for being in the way.

Let me put it this way: We finished the final level with three stars on the second try. In other words, no: It’s not the Dark Souls of its kind.

Comments

My wife and I remain resolutely married despite Overcooked 1’s best efforts. But man did that game need another balancing pass – we gave up long before we’d exhausted the actual content as it stopped being fun and just became needlessly frustrating. Ice levels with soggy loose controls and dodgy hit detection (no, you may not put that plate where it obviously looked like it was going to go) was the end of it for us.

I have a special place in my heart for this series. Overcooked 1 was the first game my fiancee took a real interest in. We managed to complete the whole thing (not 3*) and had a generally good time doing it.

When Overcooked 2 came out it was a no-brainer for us. We're not quite done, with the second course, but I imagine we'll be dipping into this and any expansions to come.

So if you've never played either one. The recommendation is to start with Overcooked #2? My wife and I just finished Snipperclips and we're looking for another co-op game.

I would definitely start with the second one. It's a bit cleaner of an experience and the learning curve is much smoother. The first does have more content overall though with DLC and such, so if you fall in love I'd still recommend both.

Might be hard to go from 2 to 1 though with the loss of throwing stuff.

Cool thanks. Hopefully 2 is popular enough that it'll get it's own DLC later too.