The original Overcooked made for some great couch co-op. Screaming at your friends then laughing like a maniac when everything seems to be going wrong, made for some compelling gameplay. Overcooked 2 follows the same routine but is it as fun as the original or do too many cooks spoil the broth?
The premise is just as simple as before – you and up to three friends are dumped into various environments that are wholly unsuitable to work as kitchens, and you’re expected to work together to prepare and serve various dishes. The Unbread have descended upon kingdom and it’s up to you to serve up burgers, salads and pizza, but there are a few new recipes to master as well. Now you’ll be expected to make sashimi, sushi, tacos, pancakes, chicken and chips as well as cakes.
With the new recipes comes new preparation requirements. Some things need steaming, some need mixing and everything’s still just as likely to burst into flames at any second.
It’s not only the new recipes that provide an additional layer to the challenge, levels now move a lot more. Maybe there’s a wind that blows you about, or whole parts of the level might move and be unreachable. There are teleporters and parts of the level fall away never to return. One particularly memorable level sees your nice comfortable (but slightly on fire) hot air balloon crashing into a restaurant and then upping the ante by throwing in new recipes to cook.
It’s frantic, it’s challenging at times and it’s fun, but I never felt like I struggled to hit three stars on any level even on my own. Maybe my experience with the original meant I was more prepared this time or maybe it was the new throwing mechanic removing some of the steps that made things feel simpler.
Despite that, it’s pretty satisfying throwing a freshly prepared burger patty into the frying pan from halfway across the kitchen!
Players responsibilities will be in constant flux as the kitchen warps and changes into some other layout, but ultimately it’s pretty easy to pick up and once you get into a rhythm you can rack up some impressive scores. Figuring out how best to set up dishes or how to prepare things is still extremely satisfying.
As well as the standard campaign that can be played online or in local co-op we also have challenge levels as well as a suite of party games and an online component. Everything pushes you towards playing with others, it’s just a shame the rudimentary emote system doesn’t really allow you to convey messages properly to randoms. When played with friends you’ll likely be in party chat, but I know some people are averse to playing online with public chat enabled. It’s still as fun but it’s definitely more frantic and it can feel like one person is doing all the work as you can’t delegate tasks or effectively communicate what you’re doing.
Graphically we have the same cartoon style with an expanded cast who can be unlocked as you progress through the story. The music and sound effects set the tone nicely and overall the presentation is smooth.
It can still be a bit fiddly picking up the right thing or putting it down in the right place. Sometimes if you’re not quite centred then the expected action doesn’t start when you press the button. This adds to the tension and is rarely frustrating but I had hoped this is something that would have been ironed out in the sequel. It demands a bit of accuracy as well as taking chances but it doesn’t always work as well as you would hope.
It definitely felt like a sequel that was needed as the original was quite unique and personally I feel we need more couch co-op again. It tries new things and expands upon existing mechanics effectively but I still felt like there was something missing.
If you haven’t played the original, don’t worry you can jump right into Overcooked 2. Overall, it’s a superior title to the original and delivers a much more solid package. However, as a returning player you’ll know what to expect so if more of the same isn’t your thing then I’d avoid it.
• Fun gameplay
• Simple to pick up
• Now supports online multiplayer
• Not a lot of new features for returning players
• Sometimes fiddly controls