The Overcooked games are responsible for some of the most fun co-operative moments in recent years for me… whilst at the same time have also led to a few raw moments between friends and family, teamwork inevitably breaking down into chaos and shifting blame to someone else. Overcooked! All You Can Eat acts as a mixing bowl for everything that’s come before it resulting in a gluttonous number of things to do, perfect for newcomers but arguably less attractive for fans who’ve been with the series since day one.
Overcooked sees up to four players taking on the role of chefs dashing about the kitchen and desperately trying to keep up with the never-ending list of orders it receives. Dotted about each kitchen is everything you’ll need from ingredients to hobs and chopping boards to dishes and sinks leaving it up to you to prepare the food, cook it and serve it. Recipes vary in their ingredients and preparation methods whether that’s chopping vegetables, frying in a pan or deep frying but all are accomplished via a simple hold of a button or leaving to do its thing for a period of time. The real challenge comes from juggling all these tasks. Leave a burger cooking too long and it’ll set the place on fire. Fail to wash the dishes and you’ll have nothing to serve on. Alone this is certainly tough and you’d think with friends, things might get easier however if anything it only serves to add further chaos to the mix.
Overcooked perfectly captures the hectic and panic-inducing environment of the kitchen especially so when trying to co-ordinate with a group. Communication unsurprisingly is key to victory and you’ll need plenty of it as things begin to heat up later in the game.
What initially starts out with a limited number of recipes in pretty straightforward kitchens soon escalates into outlandish and increasingly challenging layouts and more demanding food concoctions. You might have the process down for piecing together a burger or fish and chips but how about doing this all whilst dashing between two moving trucks? The game continues to throw more and more obstacles your way including conveyor belts that continue to switch direction, slippery ice and more. The locations too are equally wacky seeing you venture to space, tropical resorts and spooky graveyards… you know typical kitchen locations.
Put simply, Overcooked is a blast, however it’s also an experience best broken up. As strong as the game’s highs are – especially playing with a full group of four – things tend to lean into repetition, each level relying on the same single button actions and familiar recipes. Sure, the environments and obstacles around you are changing, but the simple party-style gameplay, means you’ll be eyeing a break exhausted at repeating and juggling the same activities. That’s not to say that Overcooked! All You Can Eat is ever boring, but just like Super Mario Party or Moving Out, it’s a game you wouldn’t want to spend hours and hours at a time on, rather in shorter bursts when you’re in the right mood.
Overcooked! All You Can Eat is an absolute feast of content combining all the levels from the first two games, all their downloadable add-ons and a small handful of exclusive new kitchens for good measure. In all you’re looking at over 200 levels not to mention a selection of chefs that would put a good number of fighting game character selection screens to shame. For newcomers to the series this is the ultimate package and without doubt the way to go if you’re looking to don the chef’s hat for the first time. Fans coming to Overcooked! All You Can Eat expecting something sizeable they haven’t already sampled before, will find little to surprise with the aforementioned handful of new kitchens the ‘biggest’ new extra. This makes it a tougher recommendation for this group of players.
The game also includes a number of quality-of-life improvements. The first game in particular has seen a visual boost, levels injected with added detail that I appreciate. The first game can even be played online with others (a feature that wasn’t added until the sequel). Again, they’re nice extras that further cement this package as the way to go if you’re coming into it fresh.
Overcooked! All You Can Eat may not offer much in the way of fresh content, but its pairing of two of the best co-operative games on Nintendo Switch results in a bundle that’s a heck of a lot of fun and stuffed to point of explosion. As an entry point to the series Overcooked! All You Can Eat is a no brainer but fans who’ve followed the series since its beginnings may want to hold off.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Team17