It’s the lunch rush at Teragon Supertower, and it’s up to you to feed the hungry masses as the orders pour in. The sequel to the original Cook, Serve, Delicious! places you in the role of a restaurant chef, racing to complete orders to appease customers.
Note: I’ll be referring to Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! as CSD2 to save this article an outrageous number of exclamation points.
In this game, cooking takes the form of quick-time events. A customer enters your restaurant and orders a salad, for example; select the order and you’ll have to follow it exactly, selecting from a list. Press A to add carrots, C to add cheese, T to add tomatoes, then swap to the dressings and press V to top it with vinaigrette. Orders vary in complexity, and some require you to plan ahead—something like beef brisket can’t be cooked to order. Other recipes are multistep, like dropping chicken wings into the deep fryer, waiting for them to cook, then tossing them in the requested sauce. All this is going with a possible eight orders coming in at once, plus chores such as refilling drink machines or taking out the trash, leading to some hectic situations. The gameplay is simple but very addicting, and it’s the sort of game where you can easily lose track of how long you’ve been playing in a single sitting.
CSD2 has some great improvements on its predecessor. For one thing, where the original had 30 dishes to serve, CSD2 features a whopping 180. Another much-appreciated addition is the the holding station. Previously, dishes like hamburgers or hot dogs would all have to be cooked individually to order; with the holding station, you can cook an entire batch at once and keep it warm, allowing you to quickly knock out orders (with the caveat that the batch in the holding station will degrade over time).
Another new addition is the restaurant designer. As you gain medals for successful services, you’ll unlock random items like tables, chairs, décor, and lighting to place in your restaurant, allowing you to design your dream space as you see fit. This has no bearing on the dishes you buy for your menu, so you can go crazy. Want a restaurant with folding chairs and red-and-white checkerboard tablecloths that serves upscale food? Go for it. How about a luxurious, candlelit restaurant that serves pancakes, sushi, and Tex-Mex fare? Weird, but okay.
The big new game mode in CSD2 is Chef for Hire. In this mode, you work for other restaurants in Teragon Supertower, each with its own theme and menu—a sushi restaurant, a sports bar, a fine-dining establishment, and so on. Each restaurant has 10 to 15 “days” with menus that vary in difficultly. It’s a fun element that adds some great variety to the game. The rate at which you unlock new restaurants is paced out well; nine hours in, I had unlocked half of the 30 restaurants.
Chef for Hire mode is supposedly tied into the story. After opening the Cook, Serve, Delicious restaurant in the original game and building it up to a five-star restaurant, you discover that the building executives were embezzling funds from the tenants, forcing the tower to close. You decide to start from scratch, starting a new restaurant in a new building and working for other restaurants in the tower to build cash and a reputation. There’s just one problem: none of this story is explained in the game. So where is it? On the description for the game on Steam. Players shouldn’t have to go to the product page to have to get the game’s story. The original game also featured an email system where you could see the daily chatter from tenants around building, but this is missing from the sequel, though the developer has stated the intention to add it in eventually. It’s clear CSD2 launched slightly too early, even after it was delayed. It suffered other issues at launch, chiefly the inability to use the mouse on menus, though the major issues were quickly patched out.
The game is largely a one-man operation, with programming and game design done by David Galindo (under the company name Vertigo Gaming Inc.) and music, sound, and art outsourced. Galindo is open with the game’s future, mapping out known technical issues and putting out patches on a regular basis. While currently handling the game’s technical side, he has also previewed the coming content for the game, which will all be free. The first content pack will add in two new game modes and upgradable equipment for your restaurant.
Overall, CSD2 is a very enjoyable and accessible game, whether you’re not much one for video games or just looking for something light to play. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is $12.99 on Steam.