Communication, patience and teamwork are all things that I try and instill in my children, and also things I often fail to exhibit as a husband. Life as a Mega Dad can be trying, frustrating and frantic, so when I decided to review Overcooked: All You Can Eat for the PlayStation 5 it did not escape my attention that I was going to be covering a game that puts all of these skills into a pressure cooker and waits until they boil over. Just like real life! Overcooked is all about trying to manage chaos which is something that as a 40 year old father of two I know a lot about. So why would I want to inject the stress of my every day life into the very pastime which brings me what little moment of zen I can squeeze out of my day? Because Overcooked is an absolute blast of a party experience.
For anyone unfamiliar with the recipe of how this game series works, Overcooked is a cooperative party game where you and your teammates must cook and serve a variety of meals to hungry and waiting restaurant patrons. Your kitchen is stocked with the necessary ingredients and cookware to assemble the meals which pop into a timed queue at the top of the screen and it is up to your team of chefs to put all of it together in time to satisfy your guests. The meals start out simple enough with one or two ingredients that you need to chop, cook and plate. These simple recipes help you get acclimated to the controls and rhythm of the game. But before too long you will be getting orders which excel in complexity and levels which are built to challenge your cooperative skills and make you crack under pressure.
Some recipes require pasta to be steamed, beef to be chopped and cooked, and tomatoes to be made into sauce while other pastas may require diced mushrooms or shrimp. As the menu begins to diversify you have to pay close attention to what your next ticket requires all while trying to be as fast and efficient as possible. When the levels begin to work against you it adds another element of complexity to the mix as well. Some levels will split the cookware and ingredients into separate sections that only one player can access, this demands that you assign certain players specific tasks in order to achieve success. For example if player one has all the chopping boards on his or her side but none of the ingredients, it is up to player two to the the ingredients to that side of the map so player one can slice and dice them for cooking. Other levels will shift and move parts of the kitchen around causing the player to change their plan halfway through and there are even levels with conveyor belts, kitchens floating on rafts and so much more.
The All You Can Eat edition is a compilation of all the best that Overcooked has provided over the last 4 years and it is absolutely PACKED with content. Team 17 has served up over 200 levels and 80 playable characters in this latest game, all served up with gorgeous 4k visuals and a side of 60 frames per second gameplay to ensure you couldn’t possibly be hungry for more. When I loaded up the game initially and was prompted to the character select screen I was stunned by the variety of colorful characters to choose from, something my son truly appreciated. Your chef can be everything from a red nosed reindeer to a baker made of cardboard boxes. The creativity on display here is excellent on all fronts and it all comes together to be a very satisfying package.
Overcooked takes a simple concept and manages to produce a brand new twist in every single level you play, which is really quite something. The formula stays as fresh as your produce and the added element of cooperative craziness ensures that if you’re playing with the right group you will be rolling over laughing at every mishap and silly situation. While the moment to moment can be crazy and make you want to pull your hair out, just like with life you’ll find that it’s all worth it in the end. Overcooked All You Can Eat is a veritable feast of family fun.