Overcooked is much more than a game. With three other human beings (please let them be your friends) - it is a recipe for an amazing night in, with appropriate social distance. Voice communication (and voice communication in the same enclosed space) - is an essential element, as microphone based communication would simply become a cacophonous roar of laughter, frustrated shrieks, and demands yelled by others, spawned by the game's wonderful design.
Take one part poorly designed kitchen, the phrase "too many chefs", and slick controls, and you have Overcooked. The gameplay premise is simple. Obtain ingredients in the kitchen. Process them. This may involve multiple steps - cutting, cooking, frying, mixing. Then, plate the dish and deliver it. Once its delivered, wash the plate upon its return.
Sounds simple, right? Think again. The game is so cleverly designed that things are just far enough away from one another, and organised in such a ... disordered manner, that you must make the best of an akward set up, in order to gain the largest efficiency out of it. In the above screenshot, disaster is striking the kitchen.
There's five orders up in the eatery, and a quarter of the kitchen is on fire.
Four chefs are going at it, and diners are oblivious.
The game demands perfection from each and every player, and there's so much satisfaction in playing it. Laughing with friends, shrieking and friends, and hurling abuse at each other in each and every direction.
Overcooked is a game that you need to play. Gather three friends, a console (because large TVs are easier to gather around) - four controllers, and have at it. Prepare to strengthen your friendships, yell at each other, and have a lot of fun, just as did the following combination of people:
- Me (A process improvement specialist at a company)
- My friend Carly (Someone who process complex insurance claims)
- My friend Bryce (A wireless network engineer)
- His partner, Trinh (A nurse at an ophthalmologist's office)
Several of us have worked in kitchens before (not me) - but this is a completely unrealistic (yet shares many commonalities) with the experience of working in a commercial kitchen. It teaches you about efficiency, good design, and how to cooperate with other human beings.
It also teaches you that you need to use your entire diaphragm to breathe, between barking out orders and laughing at the adorable animations that encapsulate the chaos within the game.
Go and get this game and go and play it. There's a sequel, that I've heard is even better!
My review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy of the game and a three hour play session with the friends above - brilliant stuff!