This year has been less than kind to all of us, but surprisingly, games have had a way of uniting us all. The Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and the Playstation 5 have dropped just in time for the holiday season, while plenty of us have been toiling away with Animal Crossing: New Horizons since March. However, even as we head into this new year with some new consoles, why am I focused on a remaster of a little cooking game?
From the moment Team17 released Overcooked! in 2016, I was hooked on this fun and frustrating co-op game that involved cutting, cooking, and serving food in some of the craziest kitchens imaginable. The team followed that up with Overcooked! 2, and I was overjoyed with the additional mechanics so I could yeet vegetables at my husband as the clock ticked down.
I own both games and all the DLC, so why would I want to spend money on the compilation: Overcooked! All You Can Eat? Because it's Remastered and I get to play as the Swedish Chef. It was announced at the 2020 Game Awards that you can download and play as the Muppets' Swedish Chef for free! And he's just one of many colorful avatars. Plus, I'm stuck at home, and it's a great way to pass the time. If you're looking for something to do with your family or housemates over the break, why not check this out?
With two kids under three, I find it incredibly difficult to sneak in some gaming time alone or with my partner. If he and I get a chance to fire up a game, we try to make our co-op adventure as "kid-friendly" as possible. (Gears of War and Master Chief have to wait, sadly.) So, with a baby on my lap and the toddler building a block tower, me and my other half can get a little downtime. Also, should one of the littles needs attention, we need a game we can easily pause at a moment's notice. So, we were looking for a great game that would check all those boxes for the holidays. This one did!
So, what does Overcooked! All You Can Eat offer that the previous titles did not? Well, for one, it's a reason to go back and play the original. The second in the series upped the ante with new crazy kitchens and the ability to throw items. I wasn't really sure I'd enjoy the original without the new features, but boy, was I wrong. It was just as fun, if not more so than completing the game the first time, with sharper visuals and smooth gameplay — yes, it's in beautiful 4K and runs at 60 FPS. My partner and I laughed harder than we have in a long time when a level went downhill fast. Plus, there were a few extra levels we didn't remember.
Overall, these games are also pretty simple to play; they only involve a few buttons, so even the most novice player can jump in. Thanks to some new accessibility options, it's even more widely available for different players. There's a new Assist mode if you don't want the chaos of the kitchen to overwhelm you. You can fix the timer, make scoring easier, and give yourself more time to cook. You can also toggle the "timed out" option for orders. These are perfect options if you want to calm more competitive teammates.
The game has other menu features like Dyslexia-friendly text, scalable UI, and colorblind accessible instructions. Plus, they did a menu overhaul and made it way easier to navigate, pick your chef, and select your kitchen, whether you are jumping into the main story or DLC.
The greatest feature was the pause screen. Anytime we had to stop to grab a binkie, or because we were laughing too hard, the screen actually captured the characters in real-time. All we needed to do was look at the screenshot and then jump back in. That's way better than a pause menu, or a big PAUSED in the center of the screen.
The only issue we had jumping in was a weird glitch that would sign in the wrong player profile with the wrong controller. My partner would log in first at the main screen, but my player profile would show up, and only my controller would work. The opposite would happen if I tried to use my controller first. After trying a few different controllers, we did a cold reset, and that fixed the issue.
If you happen to have the Next Gen consoles, or you are looking for one of the best multiplayer co-op games, Overcooked! All You Can Eat is a great option. It's family-friendly, easy to pick up, and you can have a kitchen of up to four players. Plus, you get a ton of content: Overcooked!, Overcooked! 2, and all of the DLC, plus a few extra levels. There are over 200 levels to play, and every level is challenging.
Family-friendly and fun games are hard to come by, especially something that works on every level. Overcooked! All You Can Eat is a lot of fun whether you've played before or not. And hey, if you screw up in this kitchen, you don't have to worry if everything burns to the ground. Just restart and try, try again.
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