Screenshot of gameplay from Overcooked 2, with four chefs in a kitchen surrounded by several small fires.

Sarah and I needed a break from Overwatch. Licorice Whip just finished playing for Owlet Season 2, which was rewarding but also quite stressful. We wanted to play something not Overwatch together. Unfortunately, not many video games were easy-to-pick-up, fun and multiplayer at the same time. Overcooked 2 seemed like the best option, especially with its cute design and a harmless topic — cooking! It turned out to be a perfect game for us, although not necessarily as relaxing as we expected. Nevertheless, we were able to destress at one of the most stressful challenges of this cooperative game.

For those who enjoy good stories, you might want to go back to your other preferred storytelling medium. The story mode of Overcooked 2 begins with a zombie attack at the Onion Kingdom. The kingdom is infiltrated with cute but evil zombie breads. The players are supposed to be master chefs and feed the zombies good food, so that they would be satisfied without eating the Onion King alive. Thus begins the journey to learn how to make sushi, dumplings, pancake and burgers, to name a few. I hardly think this can even qualify as a spoiler, even though I just told you everything that happens in the game.

The most noteworthy quality of the game is multiplayer cooperation. The design of the game makes cooperation inevitable. It is not like Overwatch, where, however undesirable, you can somehow get away with going on solo missions. Overcooked 2 has no room for that. One player might be cut off physically from certain ingredients or tools; for example, you might need a tomato for your burger but it would be on the other side of the platform with the other player. In order to make a burger then, the players have to communicate, whether they like it or not.*

The character designs are also commendable for its inclusivity. Players can choose among different chefs that represent various groups of people. Some characters do seem to be a too generic or naive representation of an ethnic group (which ones I am referring to, should be apparent to anyone that has played the game). But at least they tried.

I think cooperation is ultimately why the stressful game turned out to be so rewarding and even relaxing. The game applies quite a lot of pressure to the players. The kitchen is designed to make you frustrated to your bones. I cannot remember how many times I screamed “I hate this game!” Each mode has a time cap; late orders will result in penalty; and when there is 30 seconds left, a fast alert makes sure that you know there is not that much time left. But because of this pressure, working together well feels so rewarding. When I already have the pasta going even before Sarah asks, so that she can throw in steak and tomato on top of it in the last 10 seconds — it feels so good!

Of course, there is a PvP mode that does not require cooperation but only competition. One person can control two characters by switching between two different “bodies” of themselves. For instance, I can control the chef in front of the cutting board and then press shift to control the other chef that is by the fryer. The PvP mode is also interesting and it can be done in two groups of 2 as well.

Playing PvP made it clear that I suck at Overcooked 2 (just like I do in many other games). I suspected that already in the original mode but going against Sarah made it clear that she was hard carrying me. She suggests playing the game with a controller, which apparently makes a lot of moves easier, and using the dash button frequently, so that your chef can move around faster across the kitchen.

Only challenge Sarah and I still face is getting a four-star all the way. We cleared the story mode between the two of us, getting a three-star every stage. But for us to get four-star, we might need a full crew of four players. This is partially why I am writing this review. Come play with us, guys 🙂

*If I ever become an Overwatch coach (as of now, that is not happening in any near future), I would definitely use this game to help improve team comms. This is the game where if you need something, you have to say something. Perhaps saying “I need potatoes” will translate well into saying “I need healing.”

Story:2/10
Replayability:8/10
Difficulty:5/10
Difficulty of getting a friend to play with:7/10
Difficulty of getting friends to play with:10/10
Overall Experience:10/10
Hours to Complete:20

Categories: Blog

Cythera

LW flex, mostly because I play nothing well. I like cats but I am allergic to them. Literary studies is my job, philosophy is my hobby.

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