There are a lot of things I like to do with my friends: seeing movies, going on trips, shopping, and playing games, just to name a few. But after a few hours of playing Overcooked! 2, I can safely say I don’t want to work in a kitchen with them anytime soon. Even though it destroyed my dreams of opening a food truck, Overcooked! 2 provided plenty of chaotic moments that made me laugh and sigh exasperatedly in equal measure.
Overcooked! 2 is the sequel to the original Overcooked, which was released back in 2016. Much like its predecessor, Overcooked! 2 is a cooperative cooking simulation game that sees you and up to three of your friends attempt to create a wide variety of dishes under increasingly chaotic circumstances. One minute you might be making sushi in a kitchen with a rotating floor and the next you might be making pasta in the wicker basket of a hot-air balloon.
This time around, the paper-thin story centers around an army of zombie bread—the Unbread as they are referred to in-game—that have recently risen thanks to the Necronomnomicon. You and your chef pals are tasked with traveling the land cooking foods to feed the Unbread to satiate their hunger before they destroy the kingdom. While these cut scenes are adorable and freshly packed with food puns, they merely serve as the connecting tissue as your food truck travels from level to level.
Speaking of levels, Overcooked! 2 serves up 36 base levels and around 7 secret levels to keep you and your friends entertained for hours. Each level comes with its own score requirements that need to be met in order to achieve either a one, two, or three star result. As you earn stars, you use them to unlock future levels as you progress throughout the game. It’s pretty standard stuff seen pretty frequently in other games, especially mobile titles—think Candy Crush—where future progression is based off accumulated score in previous levels.
The goal of each level is to achieve the highest score possible, which you do by delivering correctly prepared food—preferably in the correct order—and making sure no orders are forgotten. Naturally, this is much easier said than done as the recipe of each level is broken down into several steps. Hamburgers, for example, are broken down into at least six steps depending on what the recipe calls for, all of which require different sets of time. Meat needs to be ground and fried, all the ingredients need to be hand chopped, and finally, everything needs to be plated and brought to the delivery window.
The chaos, and ultimately most of the enjoyment, of Overcooked! 2 comes when you and your friends try to coordinate and distribute these jobs among yourselves. Typically each level begins with good intentions; someone cooks meat while someone plates ingredients, as someone else washes dishes and another person runs food and preps. But as we all know, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Suddenly there are no clean dishes to plate the complete food, there are three empty frying pans because no one is cooking any meat, someone accidentally threw a much-needed pot off the stage, and Mitch has fallen out of the hot-air balloon again. Before you know it your living room sounds like the kitchen of a busy restaurant caught understaffed at dinner rush. But as quickly as the chaos started, it ends as the times reaches zero and you realize you somehow managed enough points to achieve a three-star rating and it’s on to the next level and, most likely, a more difficult recipe.
I’ve played Overcooked! 2 in two different settings—a two-player game with just my wife and me and a four-player game with a few of our friends—and honestly the result was the same in both cases: it was some of the most fun and entertaining couch co-op I’ve had in a very long time.
Honestly one of the biggest, and only, knocks I have against Overcooked! 2 is how the whole game feels more like an expansion or DLC to the first Overcooked rather than a full new release. Sure, it comes with new levels, chefs, and game modes, but at $40 anyone who has played the original will have little trouble advancing quickly. In a world where new Madden and FIFA games are pumped out every year with little different except new players and ratings, you have to take what you can get.
At the end of the day I highly recommend Overcooked! 2 be brought to your next game night. It is simple enough mechanically for gamers of any experience level to pick up and play, and it is almost guaranteed to produce at least one memorable moment you’ll remember for a while. Especially when you are set to start a new level and someone suggests you simply “wing it” and see how it goes.
Overcooked! 2 was released on August 8, 2018, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam, and Nintendo Switch.
If you need an example of the madness that is Overcooked, episode 68 part 1 of North Saint Podcast was recently uploaded. You’ll see what I mean.