In Overcooked 2 you have to return to the chaotic kitchen once again as you scramble to fulfill all of the orders coming in while trying to survive the chaos. The general premise of Overcooked 2 is the same as the first. You can choose to go it alone or play with up to three friends. Each one has its own share of pros and cons. I went through the levels by myself, which means I had to control two characters in the same kitchen and that definitely raises the challenge level the deeper you progress into the campaign. The good thing here though is that you are in complete control of everything that happens, whether you successfully cook a dish and serve it or completely screw things up and risk burning the kitchen down. Then, of course, you can play with up to three friends. Playing with friends can simultaneously be a lot of fun and very frustrating. It can be a lot of fun trying to decide who is going to do what in the kitchen and trying to get a system into place to where you can get out as many dishes as you possibly can within the time limit you are given. The frustration can come in though when maybe someone doesn’t understand what they are supposed to be doing or perhaps the kitchen in any given level is so small that everyone is bumping into each other. Some of the dishes in Overcooked 2 can be quite complex so you have to mentally all be on the same page to put out the best dishes. Of course, the funniest moments in the game take place during those times of dysfunction when perhaps someone might have forgotten an ingredient before serving the plate or if someone actually throws a piece of meat off a cliff, meaning you have to start that whole process all over again.
The story in Overcooked 2 is fairly light. You return to the Onion Kingdom and are visiting the throne room speaking with the King and Kevin (his dog). The King is thankful for what you did in the first game and begins reading some phrases from what appears to be an old cookbook. Unfortunately, the King reads some of these passages out loud, which causes trouble outside of the castle walls as the unbread rises and they are hungry. It is up to you to save the Onion Kingdom once again by successfully working your way through the land, in many different kitchens. You need to try and satiate the unbread before they wreak more havoc on the Onion Kingdom.
As I alluded to above, the Overcooked games can be pretty challenging, whether you are going solo or playing with friends. As you progress through the different “worlds” the challenges keep getting more difficult. There will be a variety of obstacles that you will face in your journey from having to teleport from one area of the kitchen to another, the ground falling out from beneath your feet, fire spraying everywhere to block your path, and much more. As the levels became more difficult there were often instances when I would have to replay a level a few different times to understand what the mechanics were in that specific level. There were times when one chef had to control a moving platform that the other chef was on, while at the same time trying to make sure the rice wouldn’t burn or you wouldn’t set the kitchen on fire by keeping a pizza in the oven too long. Once I understood what a level required of me than it generally didn’t take too long for me to pass it with three stars. With that said I did feel that the overall challenge in Overcooked 2 wasn’t as high as the original. I don’t mention that as a complaint at all, but I did notice that I didn’t have quite the trouble I did with the original game. Of course, the new mechanics like being able to throw uncooked food certainly helped cut down on time. You can throw an uncooked piece of meat across the kitchen to the other chef to try and cut down on the time it takes to chop it up or even throw some rice directly into the pot, saving those precious few seconds it would have otherwise taken you to sprint over to the pot and put the rice in. There are even some achievements tied into this new mechanic so if you are someone who wants to try and get the full 1,000 gamerscore you will get very familiar with these new ideas.
In addition to the normal campaign levels that you need to go through, there are also some hidden levels that you will want to unlock. These levels can be unlocked a number of different ways. One might be unlocked by getting a certain combo in the kitchen or by reaching a specific score. You might only need to get 300 points in a level to acquire all three stars, however, you might need to get 400 points if you want to unlock the hidden level in that area. It is something else that keeps you on your toes and honestly I felt these hidden levels were some of the hardest in the game. I remember one level specifically where the stove and some of the cutting boards were on the sidewalk next to the curb. This forced you to stand in the street to get anything done but the problem was that cars were driving by and it is very easy to get run over. If you do get run over then you have to wait approximately five seconds to respawn, which could be the difference between you being successful or ultimately failing the level and not accruing enough points. You always need to have your head on a swivel, so to speak, because if you are only focusing on one thing at a time, chances are you aren’t going to succeed. Of course, playing with friends can give you an advantage but at the same time, you know that saying about having too many cooks in the kitchen.
The main campaign in Overcooked 2 is just one of the modes available to keep you busy. There is also the arcade mode and the versus mode. You can play the arcade mode either locally with friends on the couch or online. Once you enter the arcade lobby you have the choice to pick what theme you want to use for the game. It is important to note that you can select the theme but not the individual level itself. For example, you might pick the “Sushi City” theme and in the first game you play, you might be placed in a kitchen where all you have to worry about is making sushi and there aren’t many obstacles in your way. The next time you select that though you might be in a very different kitchen where one of the chefs is confined to a small space and the other chef(s) have to run around and gain items to give to give to the confined chef so he can make the meal. Having this kind of randomness thrown at you helps make sure you don’t get too bored by doing the same level over and over again. Although there are only so many levels in the game so you will no doubt play the same level repeatedly. The versus mode should be pretty self-explanatory. Once again you can either locally with friends on the couch or online via either a public or private session. If you want to you can play the Arcade mode solo but versus requires at least two players. In versus, you are once again put in a lobby and get to choose a theme. Once you do that you are told which team you are on and you have to compete with the other player to see who can get the highest score.
Overcooked 2 is a really fun game to play. You will have your moments of heartbreak and triumph as you try to save the Onion Kingdom. There is nothing quite as satisfying as serving that last dish with one second left that gets you over that scoring hump and into three-star territory. It can be a lot of fun playing together with friends, as long as they aren’t too competitive. If you can’t seem to get along or work well as a team you can also go through the game solo. You will also want to carefully pay attention to the audio cues in this game, such as a burger that is about to burn, a pot of rice that has been cooking for too long, or when a customer is getting impatient because you are taking too long getting his food to him. If you enjoyed the first Overcooked game than you should definitely enjoy this sequel. If the first one wasn’t for you then I doubt you will like this one either, although the new stuff added such as the throwing mechanic might change your mind. Overcooked 2 is a lot of fun in a chaotic kitchen, just be sure to keep your wits about you or you might burn the whole thing to the ground.
Originally posted on Gaming Target