Overcooked! 2 Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Team17, Ghost Town Games

Publisher: Team17

Release Date: Out now

Price as of Article: $24.99 USD, £19.99 GBP

Game code provided by Team17 for review

Story

Rise of the Unbread

Overcooked! 2 has a story sort of, but it also doesn’t, what I mean by that is that you get this comically dark and ominous opening cinematic, of an Onion King who has gotten hold of a mysterious book, that he believes will bestow upon him eternal fertility or something… when in reality, he accidentally awakens a horde of evil undead bread zombies in a nearby graveyard.

The intro level then sees you and your partner serving the hungry zombies food, in order to keep them at bay, after which the king, seeing that you ”still have much to learn”, sends you on a quest to better your cooking and co-operation skills, so that you can prevent the undead from spreading.

That’s about it though. As soon as you get to the first real stage, the whole undead nightmare thing takes a backseat, in favor of the more bright and lighthearted tone we recognize from the original game, with all sense of any kind of narrative dropped.

Then again, I don’t expect a story from an arcade style game like this. It is fine that it has one, to give you a ”reason” for why you are on a roadtrip again, but you also don’t want the story to get in the way of the core fun of the game.

Overcooked! 2 is by no means a story heavy game, and neither should it be. It doesn’t sell itself as one, it sells itself on its fun gameplay, with only a wiff of a reason to kick you out the door and get you started.

Overcooked! 2 Screenshot 2
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Gameplay

This Smell is Familiar

If you came here just looking for more chaotic fun alike the first game, then you are in luck, because Overcooked! 2 is exactly that. More of the same. Now don’t get me wrong, that is not a bad thing! What I mean by that, is that the core gameplay, of getting increasingly difficult orders done, while frantically stressing around the kitchen trying to multitask, with various stage hazards and gimmicks making life hard for you, is the same. What is new though, are the stages. I mean Overcooked! 2 would be a pretty lame sequel if you just played through the same stages of the original, right? But that is not the case, Overcooked! 2 does what any good and self respecting sequel should do; keep the core gameplay that people loved about the first one while adding new stages and stage hazards for people to overcome.

In case you are a new chef in the business though, and didn’t play the original, the idea of Overcooked! is that you and a buddy or buddies, go from stage to stage arcade style, where you get 3 minutes to get as many orders as possible done, while having to maintain everything from getting the ingredients ready and chopped, cook if needed, combine the ingredients, ship the order, wash dirty plates, lather rinse repeat as fast as you can, to rack up the score. Yes, speed is important, as you will lose points if an order is ”dropped” which it will if you take too long to complete it. If later orders in the line are simpler and therefore faster to complete, you may be tempted to take those first, but beware that what you make on those, might not make up for what you lose if the first orders in line a dropped. So it is very much also a strategic game of priority. The game also has a rather steep difficulty curve, in my opinion, holding your hand for the first couple of levels, then quickly turning on the heat and dropping you in the deep end without wings… or maybe I am just bad, there is that possibility too.

Note, that if certain conditions are met, you also unlock hidden bonus levels around the map, that is extra challenging.

Overcooked! 2 Screenshot 1
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Under each raw ingredient, an icon will be shown, telling you how you are supposed to cook it.

It’s Dangerous to go Alone

Now, notice that I said, ”you and a buddy”, yes, you CAN play this game alone, but I definitely would not recommend it. Overcooked! 2 (much like its prequel) is clearly a game meant for multiple players, in that all of the above mentioned tasks you have to do, are near impossible to do alone. You absolutely need a partner, who can chop vegetables while you wash the dishes, cook while you combine the ingredients etc. Especially since some stages, will be divided in two. Some stages will be partially divided, meaning that you do have access to the entire stage, but it would be a tremendous time waster for you, while other stages a completely divided, where you only have access to one side. In these stages especially, you will need teamwork to get the job done quickly and efficiently!

Now, this all may sound stressful, and it is, BUT that is part of what makes Overcooked! 2 so bloody fun! Racking up the points by working together to finish as many dishes as possible as fast as possible (note that there is no end to the orders, they will keep coming indefinitely), and doing so under ridiculous circumstances, one kitchen is more absurd than the other. Not ONE stage is the same, and I don’t mean they just switch a couple tables around, no, each stage is entirely unique and adds new hazards and obstructions, just as you think – okay, NOW what?!

And some stages even change during gameplay, making sure the game is always on full throttle, never getting boring, keeping you on your toes. Either by having a gust of wind pushing the tables around at your inconvenience or by having you cook onboard a hot air balloon where lighting will eventually strike you down, causing you to crashland in another restaurant, where you will now have to, mid gameplay, get used to a completely new stage layout. This dramatical on the fly change of scenery is also new to this game.

The More the Merrier

Overcooked! 2 is a game all about choice; how YOU want to play? All kinds and combinations of controllers can be used; Pro Controller, pair Joy-Cons, single Joy-Cons, it’s all up to you! And living in 2018, you, of course, have the option to both play local co-op, either with one Switch or you can all play with your own, as well as online co-op, either where you are hosting, or where you join someone else’s session.
The game also comes with different modes, Story Mode being the first one to catch your eye, but there is also an Arcade Mode and a Versus Mode, all three of which allow for either online- or couch multiplayer. You can even combine local and online, if say you have 2 friends over, and 2 others who got house arrest, how cool is that? All I’m saying is that Overcooked! 2 is a prime example, of giving the player options on how to play, and not many games I know to take it to the utmost extreme like Overcooked! Does.

Note, however, that all controllers you intend to use for local play, must be confirmed upon start-up in order to be registered. You can’t add more local players from the main menu.

 

Overcooked! 2 Screenshot 3
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Beware of the red warning sign, DON’T let your food overcook!!

Do I look Fat in these Pants?

Throughout the game, you also unlock new wacky cooks that you can use as your avatar. Everything from normal human people, to animals like mice and crocodiles. These skins are purely cosmetics though, and are there to make it easier for you to distinguish yourself in the crowd when things get hectic… or if you just want to cook as a crocodile, hey I won’t judge, that thing is adorable.

Seeing Stars?

Much like app store games like Cut the Rope, each stage in Overcooked! 2 has a total of 3 stars to its name, the stars filling out equal to how well you did in the stage, and as you progress, you will find that the later stages require more stars to access. Meaning that while you may initially settle for 1 or 2 stars at a particularly hard stage, think ”oh well, I managed”, you may later find yourself needing to backtrack and perfect those levels, in order to progress with the game. This I find, is a sort of fail safe, to ensure, that you are actually up for the challenge ahead.

Variety is the Spice of Life


I mentioned before that the game comes with three gameplay modes, being Story, Arcade, and Versus. We already went through the Story, or lack thereof, with Arcade Mode offering to pick a single stage for you and your buddy to play through…which you can already do in Story Mode so this mode seems kind of unnecessary to me, maybe there is something I am not seeing? Versus Mode, however, pits two or more players against each other in the same kitchen, where they race each other to see who can get the most points.
Like I touched on previously, all of these modes can be played in both local and online co-op (up to 4 players), with online being new to Overcooked! 2. Crossplay, however, is unfortunately not an option, as of this review.

 

 

Audio

The Calm before the Storm

The game opens up with a calm harmonica tune, like you were out on the country, though I will admit the high pitch does get a bit eargrading and made me turn down the volume a bit, and the overworld as well is accompanied by a similarly relaxing tune, but as soon as you enter a stage, the music picks up and always fits perfectly with the mood and what is going on. Let me use the previously mentioned air balloon stage as an example again, as this one really made an impression on me. The weather starts out nice and calm, with the music reflecting this, but gradually a storm approaches and the music picks up, getting wilder and wilder, until your balloon is striken down, and you find yourself back on ground level continuing your cooking, while the music has settled down a bit but still reflects that you are by now pressured for time.

Visuals & Performance

The game is colourful and vibrant, perfectly reflecting its cartoonish nature, and setting the mood for the over-the-top food fight you are about to embark on. The stages are represented by miniature buildings representing the type of stage you are going to play on, like whether it is a haunted house, a suburban town, or a space station…yes. Even going as far in detail as transforming your van into a boat or a plane, if you are on the sea or in the sky.

The stages are all connected on a world map consisting of hexagons, that unfold like ripples in water, as you make your way in your free roaming vehicle, and uncover more of the land, making the seemingly grey and sad overworld more and more colourful as you traverse.

Value

Overall Overcooked! 2 is a fun and frantic sequel, that delivers on everything that made the first game great. During my playthrough I didn’t run into any bugs or glitches at all, so suffice to say that developer Team 17 has done yet another solid job at play testing and making sure the presentation as well as coding, is up to standard. Overcooked! 2 is in my opinion a phenomenal party game for friends and family of all ages, if you are up for its stressful nature of gameplay. It’s a game where you constantly hear yourself say ”just ONE more!” or ”come on guys, we can do better THIS time!”, and so I would most certainly say it earns its asking price, even for the ”story” mode alone!

Pros

P

More of the fast-paced gameplay from the original with enough new ideas to justify a sequel

P

Music always fits what is going on

P

Great replay value makes you want to come back and improve your score

P

A fun party game for friends and family alike

Cons

P

Near impossible alone, you NEED a partner

P

No crossplay

P

Camera perspective sometimes obstructs your vertical line of view